Having Been Human
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Fri May 4 21:58:52 2012
Corny Island

On advice from my father, I visited Coney Island today; he described it as an interesting, depressing place whose ship had long sailed (not his words), and as being an interesting place to see. Living on the Q line, I occasionally have had the pleasure of visiting its northern terminus in northeast Astoria (where I enjoy the Waltz-Astoria teahouse); seeing its southern terminus was similarly interesting (although not a place I expect to return often). On that topic, this is something I might make a low-key goal of mine; seeing the extent of each major train line and exploring the communities at each end; the places where the rails end and busses take over tend to be pretty weird in a few ways.

The trip started with lunch a few stops south of where I live at Bukhari; the place is seriously growing on me. Still weirded out by how closely NYC packs nice neighbourhoods to not-nice ones though.

The "sub"way ride was interesting sightseeing; Brooklyn's character changes considerably that far south. It doesn't feel like Manhattan, nor like the eastern-northern Brooklyn parts; it feels like a denser Miami (with the nicer infrastructure of NYC). Eventually we hit end-of-the-line: the Coney Island "subway" station (the "we" is figurative there, of course; I haven't yet found any people to accompany me on my adventures here). The station is large, unique, and very ramp-y but above-ground; it has a feel that's a mix of "construction site" and "amusement park". Appropriate, perhaps, because there are shut-down amusement parks near it.

I hopped out, walked by some of those spooky closed amusement parks, and then started west to see the main part of the town. The place reminds me of Bronx; everything's run-down, there are seedy little churches with stupid names packed densely, expensive sneaker stores and pawn shops, and little sign of intellect. I kept going, and eventually found a number of nursing homes near the beaches; I intended to walk a long loop of the area, but decided to head to the beaches to sit for a time.

I liked how the nursing homes were actually right on the beaches. I was sad to see that the beaches were mismanaged, closed, and there was a lot of litter people had dumped beneath the docks. Still, had a nice rest there, alongside a number of other people (many of them from those nursing homes, some with breathers and similar).

Eventually began the walk back, grabbing a $1 pizzaslice along the way. I was kinda creeped out by seeing blatant and strong Puerto Rico nationalism every step of the way (wasn't sure if the "Non Puerto Ricans will be towed" sign I saw outside a business was a joke or not) and even more crappy little slumchurches.

By the time I reached the station, I felt the beginning of a migraine, but I really wanted to go to a public lecture on astronomy at AMNH, so I decided to risk it. An hour and two trains later, I was at AMNH and once I found the right entrance to use, I was in the lecture hall; the lecture was pretty interesting, and I liked being in the company of fellow geeks, but I was unsure if it was actually public or not because of how the Amateur Astronomy Association people talked at the beginning, and my migraine kicked up to moderate partway through, requiring me to close my eyes and meditate the pain down and pay less attention to the lecture (hopefully there were not tears going down my face; that sometimes happens). It scaled back to mild further through the lecture, and I enjoyed listening more. Cool.

Being back outside, the dim, blue evening light brought my migraine down to being entirely in the background, and I hopped the train down to Tea Lounge, where I am now, to see if some hot tea would help get rid of it entirely (sometimes does) and get some reading done. Still there now.

Currently working my way through a socialist current-events journal that actually seems to be intellectually respectable and presumably pretty selective: 「Socialism and Democracy」. That's pleasantly surprising. They're not coming from quite the same place I'm coming from, in that they're still broadly Marxist while I'm no longer within that tradition, but their Marxist commitment is broad enough that I suspect they would not entirely dismiss Eduard Bernstein, an author I'm also currently reading and enjoying.

This post-migraine high I'm having now is pretty nice, I admit. Not worth the embarassment and pain of earlier today, but good for now.

I'm a bit stung by a loss of the would-be friendship I was hoping to build with someone I met on OkC; I wasn't sure if a relationship was going to happen, but barring that I really was hoping for a friendship. As far as I can tell, her relationship with her ex might've been going back into the "it's complicated" zone, meaning the circumstances of our meeting would've become awkward. Perhaps. Or maybe she just doesn't want a friend like me. Perhaps the part of me that's terrified and untrusting of other people sabotaged even the possibility of a friendship without the rest of me noticing. Ahh well. I need to continue the balancing act of feeling ok-for-now with the silence of my phone and the lack of a social circle without forgetting that I need to fix that as soon as I can.

Also been feeling fiercely jealous in a weird way over certain people; not lover-jealous, not friendship-jealous, but influencer-jealous. There were people I had hoped to be a big intellectual influence over (and ideally to get influence from them too; not entirely one-sided) who've become close to people I consider to be bad influences; either actual trolls or just people whose worldviews strike me as rotten, or occasionally people who've thrown down the gauntlet at me for some reason. It makes it worse when they have proper friendships with these people. Oh well.