My best friend of 26 years lives in downtown Philly. One of my cousins, Diana, has had a downtown home for about a decade. Yet, I haven't hung out with the former since this past August, while I haven't seen Diana since Thanksgiving 2004.
Why is that? Well, the answer was discussed when the two bumped into each other about a week ago. Since I'm the only mutual friend/relative they have, I was one of the topics of conversation. My best friend told me it went something like this:
Diana: Do you still hang out with Walt?
BFF: Not recently, you?
Diana: I haven't seen him in years.
BFF: Yeah, and I don't think we'll see him anytime soon.
Diana: Why's that?
BFF: He hates going downtown more than anything in the world.
Diana: Oh, that's right. I forgot.
BFF: He once told me he'd rather get a root canal than go downtown for a couple of hours.
Diana: Oh, wow.
BFF: Which is a shame because Walt is the coolest person ever and I miss hanging out with him.
Diana: You're totally right. Walt is like super awesome. Let's talk about how great he is for the next hour.
BFF: I have no problem with that.
I think I nailed that. I do at least know for sure that my aversion to taking trips downtown was discussed. As I've stated many times, I hate going downtown with a passion. Here's why:
1. Bums: The most dangerous people in the world aren't terrorists, or women with armpit hair at protest rallies, or even Vladimir Putin and his equestrian-loving friends. Bums are the most dangerous people in the world.
If you think I'm kidding, I'm absolutely not. Bums actually get an upgrade in living conditions if they commit crimes and go to prison. Thanks to the new-age idiot hippies in our government, criminals in correctional facilities get all of the amenities of a two-star hotel. Hot meals, showers, cable TV, a decent gym... prison is essentially a Holiday Inn Express with shower rape. Thus, if I were a bum, I'd arson and assault the s*** out of people so that I could stay behind bars for a while.
I don't understand how people can't comprehend this concept. More significantly, I'm not sure why bums don't realize this. Then again, bums might even lack the motivation to commit crimes, so that might be the only reason everyone downtown is relatively safe.
2. Driving: The driving conditions downtown are horrific. From one-way streets, to confusing signs, to parking complications, to bums staggering into the road, I don't know how anyone who lives downtown can own a vehicle.
Speaking of the bums, I feel like the government shouldn't penalize anyone for crashing into one. It would be population control. Think about it - we're allowed to hunt certain animals for that specific reason. To keep bums from assaulting us and setting things ablaze, they should allow a "bum hunting" season of sorts, where it's OK to accidentally smash into one who asks for change while you're driving.
3. Filth: Downtown is dirty and crawling with vermin. Every single residence I've been in downtown has had some sort of rat, cockroach or bum infestation at one point or another. Outside of Pig Pen and Oscar the Grouch, who the hell would want to live in that?
4. Smell: Maybe I'm just weird, but whenever I go downtown, my asthmatic conditions flare up. There's this weird, wet, metallic smell that blocks my breathing. It's not like I collapse, gasping for breath or anything, but it's just more difficult to get oxygen into my lungs. Again, maybe this only impacts me, but it just reinforces that downtown is disgusting.
5. Pretentious Douchebags: Ask anyone why they'd want to have a home downtown amid such putrid conditions, and they'll likely say something douchey like "It's the epicenter of culture!"
I hate people like this. Why do they think culture is so great? I think culture sucks. No, seriously, what has culture ever done for anyone outside of getting them killed in wars? People thousands of years ago started wars because Tribe A didn't agree with Tribe B's culture/religion. If neither tribe had a culture or religion, there wouldn't have been war.
This still happens in present day. Adolf Hitler attacked Jewish people because he was jealous that they had eight gift days during Hanukkah opposed to his one on Christmas. Terrorists bombed New York on 9-11 because their culture told them that they'll get to sleep with 69 hot women in heaven (the rest of us know they will be fat chicks). And now, America is going to start a war on Putin because of his culture. Russian tradition says that it's good to be an a**hole to as many people as possible, and that's what Putin is doing to Ukraine. America doesn't understand this, so this will be yet another war stemming from culture differences.
Culture sucks, and so does downtown. But I'm discussing the latter because I had a recent business meeting there. Someone flew in to meet me at a restaurant to discuss a business proposal, so I agreed to meet him down there, being well aware that I would bump into a barrage of jerks throughout my trip.
1. Train Station:
I had to walk to the train station from my house. The parking lot there is small, so you need to pay for it ahead of time. It's just a 10-minute walk for me, so I figured I'd be fine.
Big mistake. First of all, it was cold as balls. I was wearing a hat, a button-down shirt and a coat that was zippered up, and yet the blasting wind nearly froze my face. I also nearly fell down a bunch of times because the sidewalks were icy from the thousand snowstorms we've endured. Thanks for the global warming, Al Gore.
Waiting for the train was adventurous as well. I'm not sure why, but multiple fat black women emerged in pairs from the woods across the street every two minutes. I have no idea what the hell they were doing there. Were they hunting large game? Or were they the large game being hunted?
Suddenly, this attractive Russian woman walked toward me. She looked like a complete b***h though. She was wearing this mink coat and looked at me with the expression of "don't f***ing talk to me because you're trash compared to me." But I'm not mad - remember, Russian culture says to be an a**hole to as many people as possible.
The Russian b***h stood next to the fat black women instead of me. This changed when a scary-looking bearded black man holding a cigarette approached the Russian b***h and said, "Yo gurl, you gots a lighta for my cigget?" The Russian b***h said nothing and walked in my direction, and she stood next to me until the train arrived. As if I was going to protect her from the scary black guy.
2. Good Dog Bar:
My meeting went well, and I met up with my girlfriend afterward. She works at a law firm downtown, so we decided to hang out after I was finished. We went to some place called the Good Dog Bar because they supposedly had great food. The food was indeed decent, but the portions were ridiculously small. The $15 macaroni and cheese I ordered arrived in a small cup. Overpriced food and drinks are yet another reason to hate downtown. I can get a beer for $2 across the street, but yet it's $6 in a downtown bar. Why is that? Because the rats and bums dropped deuces on all of the other bottles, so there's a supply shortage?
Meanwhile, two people there deserved to be mentioned as jerks.
The first was the hostess. You know how they're supposed to ask, "How many are in your party tonight," or something of that nature? What she said was radically different.
Hostess: Will both of you be eating tonight?
Me: Two... wait, what?
Hostess: Are you both eating?
Girlfriend: No, just him. I already ate.
Hostess: Well, that means you can't sit in a booth. You'll have to sit at the bar.
Are you freaking kidding me? What kind of s*** place was this? I might as well add a**hole hostesses to my list of reasons to hate downtown.
As it turns out, Good Dog Bar instituted this rule because they had just five booths in the entire establishment. But that begs the question, why even have a hostess if it has just five booths? And what's the booth-count threshold for having a hostess? Did they go, "We only have four booths so we don't need a hostess. Oh, wait, we have room for five booths! Let's hire a hostess immediately! And let's get one who looks like a lesbian!"
See, Good Dog Bar would've been able to have more booths if it opened a location in the suburbs. Instead, it resides downtown, where there's no room for anything. Again, I have zero clue why anyone does anything downtown.
The second jerk was this dude with frizzy hair from across the bar. He reminded me of Ted from How I Met Your Mother, but even douchier, if that's somehow possible. He was on a date with this semi-attractive girl. The girl began talking about how she loves the Walking Dead, which might be the best show on TV right now after Game of Thrones. He apparently didn't enjoy her enthusiasm for the program.
"I don't like the Walking Dead," he said in the douchiest way possible.
I'm not kidding when I say the date ended within minutes. The girl just left, leaving him alone at the bar. And that, kids, is yet another pointless chapter in the story of how I met your mother, he narrated in a Bob Saget voice 16 years later.
See, it pays not to be a pretentious douche. This guy probably doesn't like the Walking Dead because they don't have any culture in the show. I could see him watching an episode and thinking, "Why are these people shooting zombies? They should have a cultural celebration for Sri Lankans today, and maybe they can have a cultural festival for Nicaraguans the next day, and instead of eating people, the zombies should try cultural dishes instead."
That would be the worst show of all time, but I guarantee that pompous douche bags who live downtown would make that appointment television.
3. Suburban Station Inhabitants:
Suburban Station can be one of the scariest places on Earth at night. In addition to bums, gangstas who mug/kill people roll in. And because the city of Philadelphia has chased away all of its businesses due to high taxes and is consequently too bankrupt to pay its police force on a full-time basis, all of the cops disappear around 10 p.m.
Fortunately, it was still early enough for my girlfriend and I to not get killed. The gangstas were beginning to arrive, however. As we were walking down the tunnel, one frightening black guy was yelling into his phone:
"Yo dogg, I saw you frontin' in the bathroom, dogg, and I shoulda been the one who was frontin', dogg!"
I tried my hardest not to laugh because doing so would have ended my life, but was he really having an argument with someone about who should have been "frontin'?" What the hell does "frontin'" even mean? I've heard it in rap songs, but I never quite understood the definition. Time to go to Urban Dictionary!
Oh, OK. Wait, that still doesn't make sense! I don't understand the argument about who should have been frontin'. Regardless, someone probably died over this, which is just typical in this crappy city.
As my girlfriend and I waited for the train, a black female bum approached us. She was in her 60s and had missing teeth.
"Excuse me... can I have money for a sammich?" she asked politely.
Both of us said no, knowing very well that she was going to use these newly acquired funds on crack.
It's rare to see a female bum because they can just sell their bodies and make money that way, but this woman was so disgusting that you couldn't have paid me to have sex with her. I'm serious. I was thinking about it, and I don't know how much money it would have taken for me to bang her. A thousand bucks? Not even close. Five grand? Nope. Ten thousand? No way. Twenty thousand? Still cold. Fifty grand? Believe it or not, negative. She was that freaking disgusting.
I began wavering at $100,000. And even then I was a bit squeamish. I don't know if I'd do it for a hundred grand. I'd need at least 10 Jack and Cokes in my system to get over how unbelievably ugly she was. I just nearly gagged from thinking about all of her missing teeth.
4. Walk Home:
After an eventful train ride - I'll have more on that next week - I began my long trek home. I know I said that it's a 10-minute walk to the train station, but believe me, it felt like an hour. That's how freezing it was.
I'm not kidding when I say I nearly died. It was much colder than it was earlier because the sun had gone down. It was also much windier, so the blasts of frigid air that continuously pierced the skin on my face actually hurt. I had to shield my face with my hands, and because I didn't have any gloves, I couldn't feel my hands after a while. I then had to put my hands back in my pocket, which just meant more extremely painful frost blasts.
I didn't think I was going to make it, but I eventually reached my house. It was so much warmer in my house than it was outside that it seemed like my face was melting upon entry. Still, I was shivering for about an hour even though I blasted the heat in my house to 80 degrees. I probably single-handedly depleted the Ozone layer with how much power I used that night, but I didn't give a damn. F*** you, Al Gore.
Of course, I shouldn't have been surprised that I went through so much pain. The worst experiences possible should be expected when going downtown, and I don't plan on making the trip anytime soon. I suppose it'll be a long while until I see my best friend or cousin again.