The Space in Between

Silica, New York Hacks
& How to Sell Your Soul

Here’s for holding more than one thought at the time. It’s easy to overlook the many worlds one goes through and ignores in the course of a day. Or curses we allow ourselves to be trapped in. But fear not: others have been there and escaped. All it takes is an unbiased focus.
It’s hard to incorporate certain words into conversation, such as silica, let alone to add tips on how to make the best out of it. Or hacks to suggest out-of-towners. And while at it, souls be damned, but why not get the most out of a good, old-fashioned blood pact with the devil?
It’s all in a New York minute, as they used to say when a movie followed news at 11. You needed change to call and a camera to take a picture. In those deceivingly quaint times, time itself seemed to last longer. But if you could get a real-time glimpse of the past as it’s still happening, through some tech whatever device, you’d catch everybody running.
At some point, we all believed that the world got started when we were born. So hold that door behind you. We’ve just met but we still keep track of four or five hundred people whom we care about or can’t get rid of who give us bearings.
Pay a visit, greet the host, life starts once you get it where it comes from. It’s brief: linger much and it’ll land you on the other side. But while fools dwell on counting waves, the quick sells a self-help kit. Hence, the clues, quirks, and multiple slices of living in the big city.

Sometimes one can’t avoid using one of those detestable buzzwords like iconic, or hacking. But if there’s anything that gets very close to both is those little silica bags that come inside a new shoebox or latest gadget. You’d think they’re poisonous but you’d be dead wrong.
What they are is stuff that clogs our landfills. Good thing then that you can use them for drying you phone, after fishing it out of the toilet bowl. Or stick them into your smelly luggage (please, use another little bag for that). Handy for dissipating fog too, but from then on possible uses kind of make themselves scarce, as they say. Maybe.
Silica is also good at preserving old photos. Chances are, though, your favorites are already on the cloud, and the old ones got trashed by your ex. In any case, be creative and use those bags (more)
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to dry out anything, except children’s saliva. And never, ever use it as a condiment; it won’t kill you, just ruin your meal. Bon appetite.

This is the town the world comes to get charged. Which means, people from all over are all over all the time. Most moved in here so not to get insulted or seen with suspicion. Everybody’s welcome, unless you’re the offender, or a brute, with no sense of common courtesy. If that’s the case, don’t bother coming.
For everyone else, here’s the deal: like Broadway? get same-day tickets at TKTS, in Times Square. Free museums or Wi-Fi? Download the apps, or get down to a subway station; New Yorkers hate it but they do have reception. Once there, get a MetroCard. Bathroom? They’re rare, sorry, but there’s also an app for it.
And keep in mind: ask directions, not personal details. Don’t block sidewalks or stop suddenly on the street. Keep the right on escalators and let others out before getting in. Never steal newspapers, cab rides, or places in line. Neither talk at the movies nor shout in comedy clubs. Be polite and tip your server. Always. Have a nice day.

If instead of nice, you’re actually having a troubled time, you may consider help. Some are driven to tears, others to conjure a higher force. The devil himself, for one. Non believer? no matter; word is that there’s no restrictions as long as you’re willing to pay the right price.
Assuming you won’t be here for long, and that doesn’t mean in the city, let’s be sure you’d negotiate the terms of just such an agreement from a position of power. So says Dr. Rex Touth, who wrote a book on how to put your soul on the market. It’s been done, you’d better believe it.
For the good doctor has some clever advice for dealing with the Prince of Darkness. What to ask, and how, and when to count your losses and move to where the sun doesn’t shine. With no skin in this game, we just like to watch clergy and cloth get all worked out about it. At that, no one beats us, not even you-know-who.

We drag ourselves along, fully aware of how people around the world are envious of us. And that many wish us dead. Forever. Never mind them. We like tourists, we’re glad to show them seven ways to get anywhere in the five boroughs, just to draw out their envy and awe.
They don’t need to know how small a place we live in, how meager our income is, how we’re on the crosshairs but of the city’s real estate barons. Our days are counted as we can’t afford what only the spoiled kin of despicable dictators can, at their annual stopover.
But world citizens? You’re welcome. Come and dream that we live in a penthouse not a six-flight up, and are running to a party not to the laundromat to deal with two loads of shirts leftover from the 1990s.
Celebrities? Go for it; we’d rather not be caught in their glare. Sure, we’ll “fail” to recognize them while secretly texting about them. It’s alright, as we mentioned, we won’t be here long. But guess how much they asked for my soul?
* Originally published on Feb. 8, 2018.

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