Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tips for Surviving NYC as a Single Man

I wrote this guide for someone I think I've outgrown (truly my ex, part deux who if I'd married instead would be the target of my anger and feelings of betrayal right now). He recently moved here & I figured I'd tell him what I'd have wanted to know when I moved here 7.5 years ago since that's the sort of thing I do for friends who've been there in my dark times.

Some of it was general, some was specific to what I knew about him.

As I wrote it, I figured it would be a great thing to post for my readers (especially those of you not from NYC, who've wanted to visit or would just be way out of their league coming to NYC). Here you go & make sure to thank me if you have averted even one local kicking your ass or flipping you off:

1. Rule #1: The MTA sucks. This is a fact of life irrelevant to which borough you live in. The subway platforms are cold in the winter & hot in the summer while the trains are the opposite. You will get squashed in rush hour or if the train has been delayed so there's also the body heat factor to consider.

2. Ask when apartments you are looking at were built. Chances are, you're not going to have the money for the newly renovated, fancy new places & if that building is pre-1980s, you don't want to use large appliances b/c you will experience power overloads.

3. Central air is non-existent in NYC. I suggest you get some nice window A/C units with a decent, but not huge, BTU. Plenty of places are sweltering in the summer, including subway stations. You will barely feel it in some places, especially on the hottest days (think heat index of 95+). Southerners, including me, fly into murderous rage in those conditions. See “Do The Right Thing” for an example.

4. Infestations, including bedbugs, roaches & rats: ASK about these in apartment hunting. If the place doesn't allow you to get a cat (they are masters at killing mice & some kill other creatures; I say this from firsthand knowledge), inform them that it'd better be fucking spotless.

Bedbugs are a serious threat in this city & owners are required to take care of that mess ASAP. It's a city law & you can call 311 about it.

Pet friendly buildings exist but can be hard to find. If they don't allow pets, they'd best be VERY diligent in dealing with rats, roaches and other creepy crawlies. Think of it this way: a girl does NOT want to get busy in a place with any of that mess. It would be a huge turnoff for me & probably 99% of womankind. Don't let anybody tell you roaches or rats are inevitable; my place was roach free & Stormy (the gray cat) took care of the very few little mice that showed up.

5. Some apps you need to get if you're going to be in NYC:

A) Embark (it's got the NYC subway map & tells you about delays & diversions on the trains)

B) HopStop (it's the best way to get directions to anywhere in NYC from where you are; it will tell you about diversions based on the time you're going, show you maps & so forth)

C) Yelp (If you're looking for a food place nearby or trying to remember where one is, this app will give you that info instantly. It's been a huge help to me if I wanted to find a Chinese restaurant or see how a place's reviews are. Also useful to get the number or see if a place is open at the time)

D) Groupon (you can get local deals on here & there's tons of stuff in NYC)

E) ABCEats (this is for the restaurant sanitation grades; maybe you don't have those where you are or never noticed them in your experience but it's a HUGE factor to me since they were in places I lived; you might be going out w/some girl who's also used to those & doesn't want to go to a grade C place)

F) NYC Condoms/find condoms (an app that tells you where you can get free condoms in NYC)

G) NYC 311 (this app lets you make complaints to the city without having to sit through 311's ridiculous automated system, which is a pain in the ass)

Apps that are useful if you are driving or in a car with someone:

A) Google Maps (it helped me a lot in CT but it's a power drain)

B) Waze (this one tells you about traffic on the road, has cute animations & you can warn people about road and driving conditions; if you go down a road that's not on the map, you can also get points in their system; also a power drain but you can also use it to get directions in the suburbs)

6. How to avoid beggars, subway performers and screaming kids on the subway: Get a pair of ear buds & an iPod or MP3 player with lots of songs you like on it. This comes in handy when some guy brings you a sob story or some woman straps a baby to herself & begs for money or someone prances their physical deformity around. Skullcandy has a lifetime warranty on their ear buds so when they inevitably die, you can get free replacements if you kept receipts or someone gave you some as a gift.

Books work if you can get a seat but if you can't, it can be very difficult to read & avoid all that mess while you're standing. With a music player, you can just let it play and if you leave it alone it won't matter if you're sitting or standing.

7. Don't be one of those people afraid of the subway or who always takes cabs: I will make fun of people for it, would call someone like that an elitist to their face & tell them they have no financial management skills. The only exceptions are severe physical injury or recent surgery, having a ton of luggage to take with you, a strict time deadline like catching a plane or train, not paying for it yourself or maybe being some mega-celebrity who'll get mobbed if they get on the subway. However, I hear there are celebrities who take the subway so that's not the greatest justification for it. Being rich also isn't an excuse to waste money.

If my mother, sister & oldest nephew (who was 3 at the time) took the subway and survived, there's no reason anyone else can't. They aren't city folk & if they weren't scared little babies about taking public transit, no one else gets to be in my presence. Quite a few LI folk my ex knew (including my MIL) were scared little crybabies about it.

You are NOT a real New Yorker if you can't handle the subway.

8. Giving to beggars/panhandlers: You are under NO obligation at all to give to them. In fact, it's illegal for them to solicit you. I have had people try to personally solicit me on the subway & walking around the city. I told the one on the subway about that law & he pretended not to hear me but backed off. There's also means to outcrazy the crazy if you need to.

Oh, and there are no panhandling hotties, male or female. Most of these people are scammers so don't follow altruistic instincts. If you seen someone falling & bleeding, just call the cops. Don't approach that person. Sane women will not hold it against you if you refuse to cater to panhandlers.

Physical deformities and children don't move me in light of people I know personally in those categories who have never resorted to harassing commuters for money.

9. Giving to performers & candy sellers: If you're moved to give to a good performer, why not? If they're bringing their A game & I feel like it, I might do it. My standards are high, though. Breakdancers, good actors, good singers, things that make me laugh or sheer honesty will make me consider it.

The people selling candy (usually young black men) can be awesome if their selection is good. On the further parts of the L in Brooklyn, they only seem to have peanut M&Ms and Welch's Fruit Snacks. But if someone's selling 100 Grand Bars or World's Finest Chocolate, I'll buy since they're harder to find & I like those. Candy bars are typically $1 each. These are different from beggars in my book since they're providing a useful good; I think the MTA ought to hire them to sell candy to commuters but that's just me.

You can also find churro sellers & cotton candy in some subway stations. I've only had the churros; if you don't care about messing up your clothes & need something really unhealthy, they're a good sugary snack. Their bags are also $1 & I believe you get 2-3 sticks of them.

10. Strangers approaching you: This is a frequent occurrence on the NYC streets and subway stations. 9 times out of 10, it will be a waste of your time. People will try handing you flyers, bothering you about petitions (they usually wear shirts advertising some cause), convert you to their faith, sell you things, etc. Avoid & ignore unless you dropped something & a stranger is giving it to you. That happens a lot in NYC (and they call us “rude”). If you didn't actually drop something or it's a religious proselytizer, just ignore that person.

Do NOT fall for the “Free Stress Test.” That's the Scientologists & they are a scary bunch. You are living under a rock if you don't know about that.

The religious nuts usually hang out in Union Square, Times Square & Broadway Junction. They also like to get on subways & preach at you, sometimes for multiple stops. Beggars usually move along quickly but some religious nuts will preach endlessly. Had a horrific experience on the J after getting back from Long Island one Thanksgiving. That is a moment you'll want that music player & ear buds.

11. NYC Attitude: It's survival of the fittest. Most of us walk fast. Subway delays drive us crazy since we have things to do, places to go & people to see. It's perfectly okay to take the empty seat in the subway (and if you give it up for a pretty girl, you'll get points for your chivalry), tell slow people & those blocking your path “excuse me” in a sharp tone, not fall for the extorted politeness some people try to pull (I told one guy that it wasn't how chivalry works since if you're just being polite for the praise, it defeats the purpose), even shove people out of the way to get on or off the subway. An MTA employee actually told us to do this to get on the subway when I was checking out the place I later moved into.

Don't worry about what people think of you. If you're going to be a NYC resident, you have no time to worry about offending people for not being the most polite person in America. You have to be tough & nasty sometimes.

Always look like you know where you're going, even if you don't. Those apps I mentioned will help you know what you're doing but if you need directions, ask an MTA employee or a cop. You could also ask random people if the train is going to a particular place & they'll usually tell you. Also, don't smile, pull out cash or maps; you will look like a tourist. I've seen people do this & been tempted to take advantage myself.

Feel free to yell out comments, give the finger or rage against assholery. I have serious pedestrian rage & road rage. Perhaps I do it in a way that makes people laugh (it lets me blow off steam) but if some jerk in a truck or a bus blocks my crosswalk, I will give them a dirty look or the finger. Same for people violating the traffic lights or who might dare to think to hit me while I'm crossing the street. Bike riders are especially notorious for violating crosswalks & zooming out when you've got the right of way. Just remember it's YOUR turf if you're a pedestrian.

You will know you are a true NYC resident when random people constantly ask you for directions & the bus tour guys don't approach you.

If you don't want to get stuck behind groups of tourists in places like Penn Station or Times Square, walk past the sidewalk on the road. You'll see the fast walkers over there, the people traveling with a purpose. You'll get where you're going a lot quicker doing that & it makes you look like you live here.

12. Subway Platforms/Temperature: Bundle up for the outside subway platforms. They get cold & windy. So does anyplace in NYC next to high buildings, near the water or where there's lots of traffic zooming by.

13. Suspiciously Empty Subway Cars: Don't go in these!!! They are empty for a reason, usually a very rank homeless person or odor, no A/C or heat or some other very good reason for it. This only applies to rush hour or where you see one empty car while the other ones are jam packed.

14. Public Transit to Avoid: Some routes are inevitable but if you can help it avoid the G and the J trains. Queens is a full on bus borough with some areas you can't get to on the NYC subway (Glendale & Maspeth to name 2 examples). I generally avoid the bus as much as I can since they are crowded, not as reliable and are more uncomfortable if they are crowded. This also goes for shuttle buses to replace subway routes. If you can avoid dealing with a shuttle bus, do it.

You'll thank me. I went through the hell of relying on the bus system in Atlanta so I know what I'm talking about.

15. Playing the Lawyer Card (if you are actually a lawyer; faking it is a felony in NY state): I encourage it & say it do it when necessary. I did it once when I was on a bus during a 90+ degree day where the driver had non-existent A/C on. I loudly talk about how some elderly person & children will collapse in the heat and own the MTA after the lawsuit. That driver cranked up the A/C real quick & I think I even referenced being an attorney as I did this so I could go represent that injured person.

16. NYC Residents Aren't Rude: We aren't. Generally if you leave people alone, they will leave you alone. If anyone gives you shit, see #11 & follow that. The motto here is “You leave me alone & I'll leave you alone.” Violation of that motto is bad business for all involved.

17. Find out about the Local Post Office, Police Precinct, FedEx & UPS: USPS tends to leave much to be desired in many parts of NYC. The one I had to deal with was horrid & known for being royally terrible, even on the Consumer Affairs Hotline. Yelp will come in handy for looking at reviews but if you can talk to people who live there about it, even better.

Same goes for the police precinct & the local UPS and FedEx locations. My police precinct was known for getting there too late to be effective & generally horrible. UPS also never left our packages or even rang our bell half the time. You had to go to a non-subway accessible location to get packages. I even had a UPS delivery guy bitch about carrying a heavy object we ordered up to my second floor apartment. FedEx was okay since you could sign an authorization allowing them to leave your delivery at the doorstep the next day & they followed that. As a rule, most package services won't do that unless you have a doorman or something.

Speaking of USPS, get the name of your local congress person. I once had to call up our local congresswoman when my post office “lost” a package of ours. After they investigated, it mysteriously turned up.

18. Grocery Stores: Grocery stores in NYC fall into 2 categories: expensive & shitty. You will get a better selection at stores in Long Island (having a car or a Zipcar membership will help).

The Food Emporium (an expensive grocery store) is owned by the same company that owns Waldbaums so if you have a Waldbaums discount card, you can use that at The Food Emporium.

19. Access to Bathrooms: Finding a bathroom in NYC without buying something in a business is a challenge. I'm going to make it easier for you & tell you where you can go for ones that have decent ladies rooms. The Grand Hyatt near Grand Central is a great restroom location. Hotel bathrooms in general are very nice, especially the one at The Plaza Hotel. I've never had problems getting into them & if you aren't a person of color or dress like a thug, you should be okay as well.

You can also use the bathroom in Starbucks if the Starbucks is big enough to have one; you don't have to buy anything first. There's also a bathroom at Brooks Brothers; I believe the one I went to was in the East 40s or 50s. You can also go to the Burlington Coat Factory near Union Square but the ladies room leaves much to be desired.

Apparently, you can also use bar bathrooms without buying things but some of those are TINY or really gross.

20. Libraries: NY Public all the way, at least in Manhattan. It's much cleaner, their policies strictly forbid nasty odors (basically, no homeless allowed) & they strike me as less likely to put up with thug shit. The branches I've been to are less sketchy. The Bronx & Staten Island are part of the NY Public library system.

I have no experience with Brooklyn but my experience with Queens is well documented. My ex still works at Queens Public.

21. Insurance: Car insurance here isn't that cheap. If you take a driving course, you can lower your car insurance rate.

22. Apartment Seasonal Norms: Landlords typically cover heat. If you have A/C units or some pump system, you're going to be paying $300+ a month in the summer for electric bills. However, you NEED A/C in the summer (at least this NC native does) if you want summer loving. It can get too hot for sex & I say that from experience. Plus, you might not want to go naked all the time if you don't have A/C. Most people can be horrendous to deal with if they are sweating their behinds off from no A/C; I know I can be a super bitch about it.

23. Quiet? Ha! You're not getting it here. Move to the suburbs if you want that. This is the city that never sleeps, unless you're in a more “family” oriented neighborhood & even then you've still got the subway and traffic.

24. Laundry: If you can get a washer & dryer in your place, you'll be a very happy person. I've met people who had smaller ones. Places with hookups can be hard to find. Most people have to go to laundromats, sometimes located a distance from where they are.

I used to get a laundry service to pick up & return our clothes since I hated the local laundromat (for good reason) & figured the cost evened out after we factored in gas, labor and washing materials to go to my MIL's house (the service provided detergent & rinse if you didn't have your own stuff you wanted to use).

Let's also not forget that laundromats have loud children running wild, annoying people & TVs blaring shows you have no interest in.

If you find yourself having to hang out in a laundromat, I suggest bringing a book or someone to make out with while you wait or it will be torture. Drying costs could also kill you; the standard is 25 cents for 8-9 minutes of drying.

25. Cell Reception: It's far from universal on the MTA.

Usually if the platform is outside, you'll get cell reception (though you'll freeze your butt off, at least I do).

The west side has more Wi-Fi than the east side in Manhattan. You won't get reception at Union Square, West 4th Street or the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center stops. You also won't get it on the L past 6th Avenue until you get to Wilson Avenue (but only if you're traveling to Brooklyn since that platform is outside but the one going to Manhattan isn't), again at Broadway Junction & any outside platforms past there.

You'll figure some of this out on your own or by reading Yelp reviews.

26. Meeting Women: It's not really kosher to try picking them up on the subway unless you can do it in a non-creepy way (say knocking into someone “accidentally” on a crowded train at rush hour or asking the time like the guy I told you about). Giving a compliment is also a little creepy & startling. Guys have tried picking me up on the subway & 9 times out of 10, it's creepy.

My suggestion if you don't want to go through friends or family is online dating sites. OkCupid has you answer a bunch of questions that they use to determine your match percentage. It is free.

You could also try stepping in to rescue her from a creep if you can tell she's uncomfortable. I'd appreciate a guy doing that for me, as long as he wasn't trying to extort politeness or sex from me.

* While we're on the subject of women, foreplay is your friend. Do NOT be the guy who refuses to engage in it. A good 90% of womankind loves foreplay & in my book, a guy not doing that is either a lazy, selfish prick or a rapist. Rapists don't care about the woman's comfort or enjoyment, as we all know. Ask yourself if you really want to be thought of as akin to a rapist.

When a guy tells me he doesn't like it or thinks it's a waste of time, I hear "I don't give a damn about your happiness or pleasure & only care about myself." Worse, I or any other woman could easily believe that you don't respect the word "no" or care if you put us in pain. Don't believe me? Go ask the source directly. Seek honest answers. Not a single woman I have ever met where the subject came up said she didn't like foreplay. Any who would consider themselves sexual beings have said they like foreplay to some degree. *

Just needed to say that last part. Debate me on it if you want but bring your A game if you dare to do it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Word About Racism & the Greek System

I was just reading this article about the SAE incident. For those not familiar with it, someone on the party bus of this chapter at the University of Oklahoma decided to videotape & post a video of this fraternity singing a racist chant. The school reacted by getting rid of the chapter, expelling people & the national office came down on them as well. Big controversy in some corners of the world.

The author actually cited an incident that happened at my school. I remember it well since I was a sophomore at the time, a member of the Greek system (though we may not have even been a chapter by that point & didn't have a house) and found the whole incident appalling. Coming from Winston Salem, NC & a high school class that was 50/50 black to white along with having many good friends who were never "tokens" but simply my black friends who weren't cutting me down behind my back like plenty of white bitches in my class, I didn't get the whole racism of these guys. I've always felt like other minorities can understand each other in a way people who aren't don't get. It might be a different story & different struggles but there's still knowing what it's like to be ostracized, bullied, harassed & having an "otherness" about you that likely explains why I've had lots of friends who wouldn't be candidates for membership into the Aryan Nation or WASP.

For the record, the major offender in that incident was not SAE like this story portrays. Perhaps there were racists there or immature guys simply joining in out of peer pressure or drunken stupidity but the real offenders were this other fraternity that draped themselves in the Confederate flag on a regular basis & called themselves "Southern gentlemen." I also wasn't personally present to see this since I was in my dorm room & then read about it later when the Black Student Association at my school publicized it.

SAE was not a fraternity that my black male co-worker at the campus museum said he wouldn't set foot in for fear of being harmed while the one I mentioned as the major offender (and the reason I had nothing to do with Oglethorpe for many years) was. These were his words, not mine.

Oh, and lest you think it's a Southern Greek system thing or that sororities always side with the frats it's not & we don't. My own sisters were just as appalled by the whole thing, especially the ones from outside of Georgia who were not used to seeing this blatant racism in their faces. We were equal opportunity & started out running the gamut in terms of our membership; I & at least one other founding member would be livid if that weren't true in our chapter today. I've seen that equal opportunity reflected in other chapters and among other alumnae I've met over the years. I don't think a single one, regardless of where her chapter was, would be siding with the behavior of the frats in this story.

There was another incident my senior year involving KA concerning their Greek Week skit & Antisemitic remarks among other offensive things (again, not present for that one; I was working in my telephone interviewing job at the time--I heard about this from my own sisters). Aside from my own sorority sisters (some of whom were Jewish), a number of girls in another sorority (who also had Jewish members) were quite ticked off about that as I recall.

Now I support free speech but I don't support speech without consequences & you bet if you uttered a racial slur around me, you'd get hell for it considering you're trashing dear friends of mine, business associates and some people who were actually there for me in life while your sorry ass probably wasn't. I'm glad to see this university taking action; my school let KA get away with shit for years. They were far too lenient on them, especially considering we were supposed to be a "liberal arts" school.

I never had issues with the other frats. I didn't go to SAE & feel like I wasn't welcome or an outsider. Guys who were members there were nice to me; I remember one of their members once telling me I was welcome there anytime. In fact, I got that kindness at every frat other than the racist one. Our newer members got along with some members there but I remember we older ones didn't feel welcome or like we had a place there. Guess we figured Southern gentlemen exempt loudmouth feminists from their "gentlemanly" behavior. At least, I felt that way.

Oglethorpe was trying to increase their black student enrollment when I was there. With the presence of that frat & a number of well known and well regarded black schools in Atlanta, I didn't blame black kids for not wanting to enroll in the racist pit that I saw Oglethorpe being at the time. I was also pissed since I didn't enroll there to endorse racism or have it shoved in my face; I came there for the academics & the experience of living in a major city.

My attitudes on race are more nuanced since I know racism isn't just a white thing. It's an everybody thing. I also lived a lot of things in my youth & had parents who taught me better than some of these people's parents must have. No one was a "token" with my parents & if they called you a friend of theirs, you were lucky especially with my mother since she's semi-reclusive. I still wish we were in touch with my father's truck driver friend (who was half black, half Native American) since I wanted him to know about my father's passing & be able to pay his respects. They were really good friends & we actually went to his house, a rarity with my parents' friends. He wasn't one of my father's drinking buddies & my mom actually liked him and his wife.

I'm skeptical of the whole "educating" people idea unless maybe it involves having to deal with direct confrontation or just dealing with people in day to day life & seeing they're really not so different from you. Kind of like that episode of The Boondocks where Uncle Ruckus meets that country music singer who's a total racist & they get along so well in their racism of black people, they do a duet. Granted, Ruckus claims to have the reverse skin condition of Michael Jackson & that's he's really a white guy but it's an example of why The Boondocks is pure genius in its social commentary. See the first three seasons for yourself; I didn't see much of the fourth so I can't speak on that one. Overall, I feel like when people are adults, they are set on certain things & sometimes so much so even death, poverty or divorce won't change them. Death didn't change my ex though it did change me. Losing stability also changed me in some ways though perhaps it also amplified what I already had. You can carve out exceptions for people you befriend or meet but it's very hard to change things like racism or homophobia & you can't do it in a commanding fashion or by forcing change. You have to do it in more subtle ways.

You have to show examples of people who aren't living up to the negative stereotypes. I also think a huge key is showing how we're the same. There are universals to human experience in my view. Death, kids, animals, weather (good or bad), parents, authority figures, the incompetence of our "elected" officials, that kind of thing.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Applying for Public Assistance: A Lawyer's Journey

At some point in a messy divorce where your ex has stolen all the marital assets & decided to toss you out like garbage, you reach a point of last resort. You realize that you're going to have to do certain things to take care of yourself. One of those things you may choose to do is apply for public assistance i.e. welfare. I choose to call it public assistance since I am not a victim, do not seek to be on anyone's dime for the rest of my life & if you call me lazy, I'll punch your pampered little face so hard you'll never look normal again.

As you read this, think about your assumptions concerning public assistance & welfare. Now put those aside & look at reality.

Do you think a lawyer would never be put in this position? I suggest you take your head out of your ass & join us in the real world where the legal employment market is known for being "terrible" by those in the know i.e. people doing the actual job hunting and looking at ads. The ones who weren't born to money or bought their way into a high class rank or T1 law school.

My reasons for applying were numerous & one of them included actual need. The application process is not a bad thing. They put me in their Back 2 Work program & I even said that was fine since it's not that I don't want to work. Read that statement again if you are one of my nosy haters: I have no issue at all with working itself.

What I have an issue with is doing work that makes me feel degraded, demeaned, utilizes none of my actual skills & is simply a waste of my time due to salary, intelligence, workplace atmosphere, that type of thing. Would YOU do work fitting that category? If so, you are a damn idiot.

I am also not a person who responds to being treated like a 6 year old or like some victim you get to terrorize. This is true for just about everyone but doubly so if you're dealing with an intelligent person. In about 2 seconds of meeting me, everyone always tells me I'm smart and pretty.

When I started out, I figured the process would be degrading and humiliating. I expected obscene bureaucracy, rudness at every corner, no rational human beings for miles, nannying on a regular basis, that kind of thing.

The applying process itself & the Back 2 Work program process wasn't bad in my opinion. Yes, you should bring something to do & ideally either have something not based on power like a smartphone or an external charger so if your phone dies, you can charge it without needing a working outlet. I've spent much of my time writing and doing a word search puzzle book. Writing is a good catharsis for me but I need a huge one today.

The people I've dealt with at the Back 2 Work center get it. They get that some of us are smart, that aspects of the program aren't addressing our needs & we aren't benefited by customer service training or food handling certifications. I have 7 years of retail from high school & college. I am a partner in a business. I could teach a class on customer service skills; I am the last person who needs training in that.

I weigh 105 pounds & can lift about 20 without killing myself. Not the person you ask to do a heavy lifting job.

I am not mechanically inclined, am terrified of most insects, have sensitivity to strong odors & will likely throw up if I'm around something rank, have zero maintenance/manual labor experience (it's beneath my first jobs even off the books) and am probably the last person who should be doing that type of work. Not to mention I was told outright by someone who had me doing such tasks that I "am not a housekeeper."

Who would want to supervise someone who is so incompetent, ill equipped and just disinterested in such tasks? In what universe would putting someone like that in such a job be a good idea for anyone involved?

I'd heard clerical was a possibility which is not something I'd object to doing for public assistance benefits but I AM a licensed attorney.

NY state recently instituted a 50 hour pro bono requirement for all new attorneys. There's been all this talk about the accessibility gap due to attorney fees vs. potential clients. AND there's an overage of attorneys.

So if an attorney is on public assistance & has to work in order to receive them as required by the state, why in the Hell is that attorney NOT being assigned to work as an attorney in the court house or for a legal aid organization or for some private legal services group like the bar associations or some other program? Why are taxpayer funds being spent toward an attorney, licensed by the very same state instituting this work requirement, picking up garbage, doing maintenance tasks or even doing a clerical position having zero to do with that attorney's license to practice?

I know we don't have a surplus of public interest attorneys; you hear NOTHING about public interest work except how there are shortages & these organizations would love the help but don't have the salary to pay people.

Why is the state not doing something about this immediately? Let me also note some of these public interest jobs aren't exactly glamorous or things many attorneys really want to do. I'd actually not mind doing it since I come from a lower income world & now that I'm doing this experience, will be a far better public interest attorney than anyone else since I'll have actually LIVED it + could give someone practical tips about the process that most attorneys won't have a clue about. I also feel better helping others & it will give me perspective about my own troubles.

Who the hell came up with this gross misallocation of resources or thinks it's a good idea? Not a single person I have spoken to about this at the job center or at HRA thought it made sense. Not a single person who's actually listened when I presented this said "Yeah, we should waste everyone's time and resources in this way."

Who are these higher ups, these changemakers I should talk to about this? I want to know. The Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services hasn't bothered contacting me so I don't think they really give a shit about helping the underserved or putting legal service providers in touch with them.

The bar association presidents I have contacted in Manhattan do not give a shit about attorneys who can't afford their licensing fees or people being on public assistance. There is no legal "community" at all in my eyes & you have to wonder why any attorney would waste their time paying dues to an organization that will invest in fancy buildings and expensive parties but won't even create a fund for those attorneys down on their luck for whatever reason: drug/alcohol addiction, health concerns or simply marrying a total asshole who ripped the rug out from under you during a very hard time in your life.

That, if you have a shred of reading comprehension or common sense, should fucking explain in no uncertain terms why I feel there is ZERO legal community & think it's a total crock to hear anyone use that phrase.

Meanwhile, the people I have dealt with in this time have been kind and sympathetic to my situation vs. being the type of asshole trying to make you feel worse or throw you under the bus. I have also talked to people at this job center to find that apparently I am not the only person being underserved here or getting assigned to do tasks she has no aptitude, experience or interest in.

However, I might be the only person with enough bees in her bonnet and anger coursing through her to go make a huge public stink & attack the issue with the same gusto and verve that I used in dealing with other seemingly impossible fights other people wouldn't have taken on. I might be the only lady with a track record of fighting arbitrary, unfair policies imposing what I consider undue harm unto me. People hearing about that history never question why I'm an attorney.

As I've said before, I consider prostitution and stripping less degrading for me than doing manual labor. At least there I'd make real money & use some actual skills I have vs. doing something I not only hate with every fiber of my being but am not even good at.

If I joined the military, I wouldn't be doing front line infantry grunt work. They'd put me in JAG. The military knows that people aren't going to give their all or bother with something they are ill-suited for or think is beneath them. Why doesn't NY state or any other place with such ridiculousness get that?

Do I think manual labor is beneath me? Yes, I do. Ask any attorney whether they'd give up their legal job to work as a housekeeper or do custodial work for strangers at the average rate of pay for those jobs. I'm pretty sure zero would do that.

Ask any retail sales associate if they'd give up their retail job to work as a housekeeper or do custodial work for strangers at the average rate of pay for those jobs. I'm sure you'd get the same answer.

Just for the record, not MY fault or MY actions that caused all this. Look to my deadbeat soon to be ex-husband if you want to find fault here. If you think I planned or caused this shit, then you are a pampered, spoiled, piece of garbage who's never lived & deserves whatever karma feeds to them. I want you to suffer on the level of Job if you dare to assign blame to me or judge me in any fashion over what I have to do in order to survive and not let my shitty ex-husband or his relatives take everything I worked for away from me. I may not be religious but I do know my Baptist faith, thank you very much.