A Tale of Two Friedmans

July 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Today I am reading stories on the internet, which is one of the better uses of a drizzly July Monday. The first two I stumbled across ended up being my favorites, and incidentally were both written by people named Friedman. The first is by Friedman comma Ann, and chronicles her decision to leave New York City. As she writes:

For me, New York is that guy I went out with only briefly and then successfully transitioned into friendship. We were always meant to be platonic. But in the years since I’ve moved away, I’ve learned that “I’m kind of meh on New York” is not a generally accepted point of view.

She goes on to describe New York as a “prom king,” someone who is great, knows it, and subsequently makes things difficult for the people who choose to love him. Because what are you going to do? It’s New York; you’re lucky just to be there, at least that’s what you’re supposed to tell yourself. The money quote:

A not-insignificant number of the vehement New York lovers I know — especially the young twentysomethings — are actually pretty unhappy day to day. I picture the prom king’s girlfriend sitting near him at the party, ignored but still kind of proud to be in the room and on his arm — and incredibly defensive should you suggest she break up with him for someone who dotes on her more. When I describe my West Coast existence (sunshine! avocados! etc.) to some New Yorkers, they acknowledge that they really like California, too, but could never move there because they’d get too “soft.” At first this confused me, but after hearing it a few times, I’ve come to believe that a lot of people equate comfort with complacency, calmness with laziness. If you’re happy, you’re not working hard enough. You’ve stopped striving.

I too meh New York, and while I’m grateful to have lived there (I guess? to the extent that I am grateful to have lived all the places I’ve lived), I am even more grateful not to live there anymore. The smell of hot blood was too strong for this Californian who occasionally likes to see the horizon!

The day’s second Friedman, Devin, published an article on/for/preposition GQ that everyone who has an hour to spare should go read. It’s a dark and twisty tale, but for those so inclined is a stranger than fiction true crime Craigslist narrative (I wonder if in ten years this will be a genre unto itself?). Friedman’s account had me at this sentence:

It’s like Rich’s Craigslist ad was designed for a certain kind of person: male, white, unattached, aging, no longer fostering unreasonable ambitions or fueled by fantasies about what he might turn out to be someday, someone on the downward slope of life for whom things maybe haven’t gone exactly as planned. It is sort of a retirement plan for the obsolete white man.

I’ll give you one guess on what happens next! Hint: the title of the article is “Craigslist Killers.”

In conclusion, read that rainbow!


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