Since I've been living in NYC I have seen some fucked up shit.
Usually I would try to describe this "shit" more eloquently using words I had to look up in a dictionary because I'm not smart enough to think them up myself. I'd paint the idea intellectually and effectively using all the little tricks I've learned about writing. I'd use metaphors and similes, alliteration, rhyming and maybe even onomatopoeia (though I doubt it). Unfortunately this couldn't possibly provide an adequate description. I racked my mostly empty skull and "fucked up shit" is about the only phrase that's accurate. I mean, this is the type of shit you see and you say, "Man, that is fucked up."
For example I watched 6 trannies exit the backseat of a small compact car screaming and hollering about tranny things (penises/vaginas/peniginas/how fierce they were). This same evening I watched a manwoman dressed as Barbara Bush perform public fellatio on a man who had just been walking around the venue completely naked. This would be status quo if you were at a place where people were supposed to be naked. This place however was a place where everyone had their clothes on. I was walking to a bar in Brooklyn when we came across a young woman doing the splits on a park bench with her skirt pulled up around her neck and urinating all over the ground below her. This was slightly normal only because it's not too uncommon to find yourself stepping over a homeless man who's pee stream has soaked though his pants and flowed down the sidewalk into the street. I even just heard a story of a flasher who, at the very last minute before the subway doors closed, revealed himself to everyone inside the subway car. They closed but opened up again because someone (or something...) got stuck in the doors somewhere else on the car. While they remained open, our flasher friend, motionless and obviously stunned by his luck, was struck multiple times by an old lady with an umbrella. This type of thing apparently happens every day here.
It's odd to be sure, and to be perfectly clear I could have gone all my life without seeing some of this. In Oklahoma, where I'm from. This does not happen. Well. I'm sure it does but you have to actively search for it and you have to search hard. Here you merely have to walk down the street and it'll be there just waiting quietly to catch you off your guard and permanently burn into your mind the memory of something you never thought even existed.
This would get me down and did actually for the first few months I was here. You can only take so much of this madness before it breaks your mind into more than the single piece in which it was given to you. I recall a phone conversation I had with Andrew Bisharat while walking through the city to find a subway (because as it were I was constantly lost). I remember telling him this city had me on guard at every step for fear of getting mugged or killed by surly individuals. I said I was ready at a moments notice to punch any man woman or child straight in the face and then crush their esophagus with the force of my climbers fingers. I have played this out in my head at least a thousand times. Soon after in an email he sent me offering advice on some job opportunities he casually wrote "You could just move to Golden. If you're at the point where you want to hit people, do you really want to continue living somewhere that makes you feel like that?"
I thought about this a lot. I didn't take his advice (though experience is proving him correct in a majority of his assumptions and conjectures). I stayed. Worked things out. Eventually things got better. They got better when I realized I wasn't doing anything but walking around feeling sorry for myself. I started going to the climbing gym five times a week. I met everyone there I could and forced them to be my friend (which if you know me I tend to do--you'll have no choice). I finally had people to relate to. I could talk about the origins of the V scale and people knew what I was saying. No one was giving blow jobs in public at the climbing gym. I felt like this was exponentially improving my NYC experience.
It dawned on me then that climbers have this life shit figured out. That's not to say we understand what we are doing here (in the ethereal, origin of the universe sense) or what we will do here (in the intangible, future minded, career oriented sense), or even how we are supposed to do things here (in the morally responsible sense). We climbers know simply what we want to do with our free time. Not only that, but we know that we want as much possible free time to do it. No non-climber will understand this. I say non-climber and mean the people who aren't completely devoted to the whole ethos surrounding Climbing (capital C). They can't figure out why we would take lackluster jobs, neglect significant others, starve or sleep in cars or the dirt all so we can rip our fingers and feet into little pulpy nubs just to get to the top of rocks only to stand up and walk down the backside of the cliff and do it again.
I suspect that we (as a whole) do not know that answer either. It's undefinable, and that's okay by us so long as we don't have to stop climbing. Explaining this is like describing string theories to preschoolers. No one is interested in why a degenerate bunch of bohemians run around trenchantly pawing up the sides of rocks. This doesn't bother me. I'm usually not interested in anything that can't be quantified with a 5 or a V in front of it, and it brings me comfort that I'm not the only person in New York that unrelentingly clings to this notion. To me, it's the subtle difference between being fucked up shit and being the shit, and it's a difference I appreciate more every day.