Brock About Town: Brock in the Big Apple

Illustration by Lev Cantoral

Hello readers! This week’s Brock About Town comes to you from New York City. That’s right, kids, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, I have left the Shire. I’ll be back at the end of the summer, but until then, please know that I’m absolutely bereft without you.

New York has a lot of transplants, so when you meet someone for the first time, the typical conversational icebreaker is, “Where are you from?” (It’s a bit like college, but then, instead of talking about your major, you talk about how many rats brushed past your ankles on the way to the bar.)

When I tell people I’m from Iowa, they give me the sort of look you give your friend when she says, “Wow, what a cute dress! My boyfriend would never let me wear something like that.” It’s the look reserved for someone who has got a deeply unfortunate lot in life and is too stupid to realize it. It’s as if, having divulged that information, I magically transform into a slack-jawed yokel with missing teeth and a tank top that has “Daddy’s Lil Girl” bedazzled on the front.

I think that’s a bit much. Yes, New York is America’s cultural capital, the origin point of most everything that makes this country the extraordinary place that it is, but you know what else it is? Filthy. Every time I leave my apartment, I pick up a fine layer of grime that must be physically scrubbed off my body before I go to bed, or I’ll ruin my sheets. When you ask someone for directions, they will frequently tell you things like, “Take a left at the pile of trash bags.” And did I mention the rats? That was not bullshit! There are dogs smaller than these rats! The trains are always running late, there are drug dealers hanging out on all the playgrounds, a can of Bud Light costs $5, and who am I kidding? It’s great. I’m having a great time. Wish you were here.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 308.