Manhattan, NY

Commentary: Manhattan is Sinking...Literally

Remington Write

And other cheery thoughts for 3 AM
Just another day on Madison Ave, NYCPhoto byAleXander Hirka* - Used with permission

It’s been pretty easy for me to sit back and smugly watch Florida sinking into the ocean while hurricanes swat it around and its politicians stand on upended boxes to keep their feet dry while blaming drag queens and queers for the state’s problems. Easy and I’ll admit it, fun.


Turns out the island I live on is sinking as well. What the what?!

Even the geology books back in my high school in the corn fields of Ohio told us that all those skyscrapers in Manhattan sat on the most solid bedrock known to mankind. Or something like that. Anyway,the point was that Venice could sink and Miami, forget about Miami, but not Manhattan.

Except now it turns out that Manhattan is sinking 1 to 2 millimeters annually. Ok, that may not sound worrisome right now but at 3am when I can’t get back to sleep it gnaws at my head.

Other things gnaw at my brain at 3 am.

Curiously, however, not necessarily the things that one would expect. Oh, so yes, yes there is another monster hurricane building up in the Atlantic. Oh, wait. Nope. Nigel is kaput. Anyway, Nova Scotia seems to have weathered Lee all right, but you can never tell now that storms seem to be going from Cat 1 to Cat 5 in a matter of hours these days. But, yes, monster hurricanes. Real problem.

Hold everything! Here comes Ophelia and we can all kiss the weekend ga’bye.

Other real problems abound in case anyone wants to get comfy.

Dear gods in Olympus, the government is going to be shut down. Again. And in the kind of surreal twist that should only show up in bad action films, I’m in agreement with certain folks (Yep, I’m talking about Marjorie Taylor Greene of all people) when it comes to funding the proxy war with Russia. Anyone who genuinely cares about the people of Ukraine needs to be talking negotiations and shut their traps about escalation and surges. Harrumph.

Ah, but not to worry, Volodymyr Oleksandrovych, the real bosses of this country have determined that any government shutdown won’t affect the continued flow of weapons to your war.

Let’s take a deep breath here.

Here's the thing, though, no one needs me to keep giving this ever so helpful run-through of the terrifying and ludicrous things happening around the world today. A quick check of the U.N. General Assembly should do the trick. Go for it.

Nope, my personal 3 am list of boogeymen is entirely more self-centered.

Losing Medicaid after three years of having the best health care insurance in my life. That’s on the list. Preparing for that sad day means scheduling all the tests and other health-related things I need to make sure to squeeze in before my Medicaid goes away on — you can’t make this up — Halloween.

I got the mammogram/sonogram in time but then there was this “suspicious mass” and that meant biopsy. Did that and it wasn’t nearly the horror show I was dreading.

Ah, but then the wait for results got in on the 3am action.

But, realistically, that’s not enough to really fuel the engine. Not to worry. There’s the fun fact that our landlord hasn’t paid the mortgage on this building in over a year. During that time, of course, they continue to collect the rent and have been eventually getting around to making needed repairs. Well, some of them anyway. Par for the course in a world where hedge funds are allowed to invest in real estate and warehouse thousands of apartments while record numbers of people sleep on the street.

See? 3 am is tough terrain.

Happy update: Pathology result of specimen is benign. The six most beautiful words in the English language (nod to Woody Allen).

Think that’s enough to ensure a good night’s sleep?

Think again.

At some fundamental level there has to be a delicately calibrated lever for I Don’t Give A S*** in order to simply function in a world that has never been sane, safe, or secure. That mechanism can’t be too powerful. A quick look at any social media feed demonstrates the danger of a wildly wielded Don’t Give A S*** cudgel.

But used judiciously, an attitude of “meh, whatever” can get most of us through the 3 am jitters.

And then each next day, here we go taking whatever actions we can to Give A S*** and hopefully make the day a little easier for those around us. Those ideally will include the people we love and many we may not even know. Call it a spiritual practice or just a practical way to get through another day without slapping random strangers on the street. Whatever works, baby.

And as you lay awake at 3 am feeling the island you’re on sinking into the sea, well, at least you didn’t add to someone else’s 3 am jitters.


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Covert dilettante with an omnivorous capacity for wonder. Writing because I can't not write. Always watching for the hidden patterns and connections. I don't know I cannot fly..........and so I do.

New York City, NY

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