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Clubland 2001

by Louise O’Brien

There’s quite possibly more to it than all this. We probably have more to live for than the extended weekend that has become our lives. We aren’t a cohesive group. We don’t all share the same ethos or standards or even the same taste in clothes, drugs, music, politics. We argue more than we agree. We step on each other’s toes to get to men, to get to the bar, to be the first to get on that comped list, in that VIP lounge. But once the doors swing open, once we descend the staircase, pull back the curtain leading to the main floor and smell the distinct aroma that is a mixture of testosterone fueled sweat and the powder that pollutes the air when prescription tabs are exchanged – that is when we know we are home. And the rest stops making sense. The world is our oyster, we have a thousand lives to lead before daylight, let alone before noon when we will actually emerge from this womb. The night has begun.

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A New York City Train Ride

by Malaika Booker-Wright

I stared down the set of steep cement steps that lead to the “A” train and hesitated.

“Gal! Come on! Mark and Len will protect us. And you only have four stops after me and Mark get off.”

I walked down the steps with Kim, Mark, and Len, feeling that none of them could protect me if need be.

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When It Rains, New Yorkers Melt

As a child of the Midwest, I’m used to heavy rain and snow. In Iowa, where I was born and raised, eight foot tall snow drifts were not uncommon and every man, woman and child was expected to help shovel that heavy snow from the driveways and sidewalks of our neighborhoods.

Mother Nature
School was never called off because of heavy rain. Falling snow only called off school or work in the most extreme cases — perhaps only once every two years for the first 24 years I lived in Iowa. The weather builds character and facing Mother Nature head-on is a Midwestern rite of passage that everyone must face.

To give in to the cold, wind or fog is to admit defeat at the hands of the elements. If Midwesterners were paused by the weather, no fields would be tilled, no crops would be harvested. The food the nation eats would not be harvested and processed. Schools and stores would close in Iowa only when the snow got so deep that the snow plows couldn’t keep the roads clear. The farmers, on the other hand, never had the luxury of closing due to the fickle weather.

Washington, D.C.
Now let’s talk about Easterners and their relationship with the weather. It was a big surprise when my husband and I moved to Washington, D.C. and discovered that just the threat of rain would close the schools because no one in D.C. knew how to drive in inclement weather! They don’t know enough to slow down, drive slowly, be cautious. D.C.-ers confess to this and don’t find this behavior shameful or strange at all! D.C.-ers drive at all times as if it’s sunny and 60 degrees even when ice sheets pave the road.

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