Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A playground for the rich

Once again, as the mayoral election draws near, the hand-wringing begins.  Rents in NYC are just too damn high.  Our current mayor has done very little to alleviate this issue.  The "housing lottery" system is a joke, and most units in the lottery are too costly for anyone making less than $60,000 per year.  The solution, for many people, is simple.  "If you can't afford NYC, just leave!"
Challenge accepted.
Let's set the bar for minimum income at $70,000 for a single earner.  On this salary, a basic apartment, transportation, food, clothing, and a few luxuries are attainable.  Anyone who can't meet that threshold has to find a cheaper city to live in.
Great plan.  New York is now a city without waiters.  There are no busing staff to clear your table, nor are there many cooks below the rank of head chef.  There are no housekeepers or custodians.  Certainly no store clerks.  That's going to put a damper on all the hotels, restaurants and stores so crucial to NYC's bustling tourism industry.  Continuing on to the performing arts scene, that would let out most theater staff and box office staff, as well as every performer and member of the crew of every show not on Broadway or at Lincoln Center.  So I guess nobody will want to see a show.
OK, so you don't really need restaurants, theaters or hotels.  And with online shopping, do we really need stores anymore?  Well, let's look at the things people actually need to survive in a city.  There are no new teachers, social workers, firefighters or police officers, and no EMTs period.  No traffic cops or 911 dispatchers.  No nurses below the rank of RN.  And that custodial shortage extends to the places we actually use, including hospitals and schools.  Speaking of schools, we've just gotten rid of all the para-educators who work with disabled students, as well as specialty instructors.  At the collegiate level, getting classes will be even harder because there are no adjunct professors anymore (as in the people who teach the bulk of college classes while scraping by on poverty-level wages).  There are no cabdrivers or maintenance workers.  And I hope that you weren't planning a remodel, because your contractor doesn't have a construction crew anymore.  Your nanny has also quit on you, as has your gardener and cleaning lady.  And if you hired a home health aide for your aging parent, that person has just left the city as well.
Going into the office, all of the financial industry will grind to a halt because the administrative staff has gone.  No receptionists.  No assistants scheduling meetings and drafting contracts.  No bookkeeping staff.  Sure, technology could handle most of it, but does a stockbroker handling billions in trade every week even have the time to manage his own calendar?
In our court system, there would be no legal aid attorneys.  No new hires in the district attorney's office either.  Clerks at every level of government would be gone, from the sanitation department to the DMV.  Gone would be paralegals and legal researchers.  And I hope you don't plan on spending the day in a city park, because the groundskeepers aren't there either.
You can't build a city solely for people of means.  It's the working people who not only keep the city running, but make it what it is.  They not only need a decent home, they deserve it.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The other side of the "MRA Narrative"

I love reading feminist articles.  However, the comment section is usually something to be avoided for the sake of my blood pressure.  Usually, the comments are from men telling the same story--evil, castrating feminist bitches take a man who gives them everything for a ride, then after a few years walk out with the kids and the house.  I've heard this story so often that I call it the "MRA Narrative."  And it's bad for my blood pressure because I lived it.
When I was 24 years old, I married Mr. X, who was 55 at the time.  Now, I know where this is going.  Hot babe snaps up old guy with a fat wallet.  Well, not really.  For years, I was the girl who couldn't get a date.  I'm socially awkward and not very pretty, and so I was the one being "friendzoned."  Also, in college, I was always too young.  I was 17 my freshman year (which made me "jail bait" in California) and 19 when I graduated (which meant I couldn't go anyplace that served alcohol).  I turned 20, and for a short time, started attracting male attention.  It didn't last very long.  I joined a fundamentalist group on the promise of family, community, and, most of all, acceptance.  Add in that in 2003-2005, it was obvious to me that our economy was built on a house of cards.  So I wanted that package.  A spouse, a job, and definitely children.
It was in this context that I met Mr. X.  After moving to Brooklyn, I heard about the occasional BT that someone wanted to set me up with.  Somehow those guys never materialized.  So I moved into the world of "older singles"-- and I mean older.  As in some of them had kids my age.  It became obvious that these men were the only ones who would ever date me.  The men I dated ranged in age from 40-62.  I was all of 24.  I knew even then that I had two things going for me.  One, I was young enough to bear children (although "young" didn't mean "attractive").  Two, I was the novelty act.  Within six months, I would be just one of the crowd, and forgotten.  So I married Mr. X.  He made a comfortable living, fed stray cats, gave people rides, and gave me a job.  And I didn't exactly have a lot of other options.
Within two months, I was pregnant, and our first child was born a month before our first anniversary.  In the early weeks, he was an attentive father to our daughter, but soon became unavailable.  When we moved into our newly renovated house, I had to set everything up while taking care of a five-month-old, including assembling a computer desk.  The only "help" I received came from neighborhood children.  One of the schools offered me a teaching job.  Mr. X convinced me not to take it.  Over time, my place in the household shifted.  I was there to serve him, bear his children, and provide sex on demand.  When our second daughter was born, I came home from the hospital two days before Rosh Hashanah. As tired as I was, and with a newborn and a toddler to care for, I had to set up the bassinet, unpack baby clothes, and still prepare all the holiday meals with no assistance.  His one concession to my condition was not inviting guests that year.  After that, I decided no more children, but Mr. X didn't want me on birth control.  I snuck myself onto an IUD because I knew he couldn't fool with it.  After five years, the narrative shifted from "I will care for you so you never have to work" to "I have to take care of you because you aren't capable of working."  After six years, he told me that a wife was "a cook in the kitchen, a laundress in the laundry room, and a whore in the bedroom."  After seven years, he began sexually assaulting me and punching walls.  I walked out and filed a restraining order.  He violated it numerous times.  All the time, he insisted that he had "treated me like a queen."
Now we come to the divorce.  This is the part where I get "his" kids, his house and his money, right?  I don't think so.  Despite an indicated report from Children's Services that he would get drunk and pass out while the children were in his care, he got ten days of visitation per month, half their school vacations, and half the holidays.  He kept the house and the business.  And, because he worked for cash, there was no way to establish his real income.  I got three years of alimony, child support, and a $20,000 settlement that has never materialized.  Hardly taken to the cleaners.
So, please keep in mind that for every story about the "evil feminist," there is a real live woman who may have been through hell.