19
April

Time

14 Comments

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Manhattan’s Upper West Side lately. The UWS is one of the richer neighborhoods in the city, and you can tell. It’s apparent in everything from the stately building facades to the ridiculous markups on purchases (an apple in my neighborhood costs $0.50. I bought one from a greengrocer around 84th and Amsterdam for $1.19). Central Park dwarfs Prospect Park, and you can see the attention (and budget) brought to bear on its upkeep. The UWS is safer, cleaner, nicer than Flatbush in almost every way.

That’s money. Watching its power at work never ceases to amaze me.

But the one way in which you can really observe the UWS’ wealth is in its residents. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of working people living here. People room together in small apartments. Some folks moved here when the neighborhood was still up-and-coming and either own at cheap mortgages or pay rent-control rates they locked into in years past. Some people get lucky and find “deals” (by New York City standards. By every other place on earth, these “low” rents are INSANELY high).

But remember, I’m a day person now. I am on the street when working people are at the office. When I’m heading to the coffee shop or the library to write, or to the park to run, I’m mostly seeing the *super* rich,  folks so wealthy that their office days are behind them. There are exceptions, of course, but folks on the UWS (at least those rich enough to be day people like me) are amazing looking. They are, almost to an individual, incredibly fit. Their hair is gorgeous, their clothing fashionable. They lounge in the park or browse the shops at a leisurely pace, walking purebred dogs or grabbing a late brunch. They are, quite literally, beautiful people.

I’m realizing their money has purchased them something more than the upscale address. It’s bought this incredible leisure. Because staying in shape, taking the morning to stay on top of fashion, visiting a salon that will work on your hairdo for 2 hours, owning 3 beautiful dogs that you have to walk every day (if you don’t hire a dog-walker) . . . all those things require another commodity.

Thinking about it, I was briefly swamped by irony. I quit my full time job to free myself to to write. I’ve been kissing the poverty line ever since.

But my poverty and their wealth has purchased the same thing.

Time.

  • http://twitter.com/PrinceJvstin Paul Weimer

    Time is a commodity, and one that lots of Americans have little enough of, running on that treadmill to stay afloat. (mixing my metaphor gleefully there)

  • Michael Sullivan

    Time is a luxury, without a doubt. I feel for writers who have to try and fit work it in around “day jobs.” Ever wonder why so many authors live in states with low costs of living? For those who live in places like New York (for you) and Washington DC (me) it can be a struggle.  Had I known I would be writing full time before moving to DC – I probably wouln’t have.

    • MykeCole

      Not sure if you know this, Michael, but I lived/worked in DC for about 15 years. I only left DC to move to NYC after I got the book deal, a little less than a year ago.

    • MykeCole

      Not sure if you know this, Michael, but I lived/worked in DC for about 15 years. I only left DC to move to NYC after I got the book deal, a little less than a year ago.

  • Michael Sullivan

    Time is a luxury, without a doubt. I feel for writers who have to try and fit work it in around “day jobs.” Ever wonder why so many authors live in states with low costs of living? For those who live in places like New York (for you) and Washington DC (me) it can be a struggle.  Had I known I would be writing full time before moving to DC – I probably wouln’t have.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnAnealio John Anealio

    I’m obsessed with time.  I’m always trying to discover new batches of time to accomplish the creative things that I need to do.  I try not to use the excuse of having a day job and a family, but I fantasize about being able to make music full time.  In the mean time, I just try to put my head down and keep cranking out new songs, podcasts, blogs, etc.  No reason to complain.  Nice post Myke. 

  • http://twitter.com/SheckyX Shecky X

    That, in a nutshell, is the difference between wealth and poverty. Wealth means you have the wherewithal to give you more time. Poverty means that time is pretty much all you have. But people think that wealthy persons’ time is intrinsically more valuable than poor persons’ time. Riddle me that.

  • http://twitter.com/SheckyX Shecky X

    That, in a nutshell, is the difference between wealth and poverty. Wealth means you have the wherewithal to give you more time. Poverty means that time is pretty much all you have. But people think that wealthy persons’ time is intrinsically more valuable than poor persons’ time. Riddle me that.

  • http://twitter.com/bbeaulieu Brad Beaulieu

    Nice post, Myke. I do pretty well with my job, money-wise, but I have to tell you, I’m terribly jealous of you. I wish I could write full time. Hopefully I can get there, but I have three other people that depend on me, so it isn’t an option at the moment. I see in you an appreciation of the fact that, though your income is low, you have it good in other ways, and I admire that about you. Best of luck, my friend, as your books start to take off.

  • http://twitter.com/bbeaulieu Brad Beaulieu

    Nice post, Myke. I do pretty well with my job, money-wise, but I have to tell you, I’m terribly jealous of you. I wish I could write full time. Hopefully I can get there, but I have three other people that depend on me, so it isn’t an option at the moment. I see in you an appreciation of the fact that, though your income is low, you have it good in other ways, and I admire that about you. Best of luck, my friend, as your books start to take off.

  • http://twitter.com/bbeaulieu Brad Beaulieu

    Nice post, Myke. I do pretty well with my job, money-wise, but I have to tell you, I’m terribly jealous of you. I wish I could write full time. Hopefully I can get there, but I have three other people that depend on me, so it isn’t an option at the moment. I see in you an appreciation of the fact that, though your income is low, you have it good in other ways, and I admire that about you. Best of luck, my friend, as your books start to take off.

  • http://twitter.com/LAGilman Laura Anne Gilman

    Ah, the UWS, my home-away-from-home.  Actually, a lot of freelancers live there, so some of the beautiful day people you saw may have been looking good for a living (actors-not-famous) or musicians….

    [I go because the UWS also has the Greenway, and great restaurants/bars, as well as CPW.]

  • http://twitter.com/LAGilman Laura Anne Gilman

    Ah, the UWS, my home-away-from-home.  Actually, a lot of freelancers live there, so some of the beautiful day people you saw may have been looking good for a living (actors-not-famous) or musicians….

    [I go because the UWS also has the Greenway, and great restaurants/bars, as well as CPW.]

  • http://www.facebook.com/goetzphil Phil Goetz

    Sweet irony, interesting post.  Most people don’t like to admit that money really can buy happiness.  The million-dollar question is:  Are they fit, healthy, and beautiful because they’re rich, or did they become rich because they were fit, healthy, and beautiful?