21 January 2010

Places That I Have Never Visited

I admit that I am not much of a world traveler. Not much of a traveler, period. The places that I have never visited are really commercial buildings that I was physically near but never once, as far as I remember, stepped inside. The proverb "You can take a horse to the water but you cannot make it drink" would describe the stories well.

I went to JHS 73 (now IS 73) in Maspeth, Queens for two years but I do not recall of ever buying from a store near the school called Cowboy Pat. It is possible that I went in there before but the memory is lost on me some 25+ years later. I only learn of the store's former existence from recent postings on Facebook. Supposedly it was a popular hangout place for the students. That would explain why I never go there. I was the studious type who would go straight home after school, whether via the overcrowded B58 or by walking. "Popular hangout places" in my mind are trouble spots, where a scrawny and nerdy guy like me would be picked on. Kids are cruel sometimes, even those in the 8th and 9th grades. Another factor to consider, which may be shocking for some growing up in the U.S., is that I didn't have any money to spend during JHS, other than bus fare. Well, it was possible that I had some coins to make phone calls in case of emergency, but definitely not much money to spend on snacks. The school provides lunch, the bus money takes me home, so to my parents it was not necessary for me to carry money around.

After JHS 73 I spent three years in Newtown High School. The popular hangout place there was the pizzeria at the corner of 90th Street and 50th Avenue. High school kids are worse than JHS ones, so again I do not recall spending any time there. After school I would at most spend time with my study group at the Elmhurst Branch of the Queensborough Public Library. At most we would walk around Queens Center, which back then had only the one building on the same block with A&S (now Macy's). My money situation did not change much any way. I think I had a few summer jobs but the money was saved in some bank account. I probably had a few more dollars to buy things occasionally, but definitely not enough to hang out at the pizzeria everyday. While we are on the topic of kids with money, the idea of spending x dollars on tuxedo rental, limo ride, etc. on prom night was totally foreign to me. Where would the money come from? I guess children of the first generation of any ethnic groups in America would not have it easy. In a way, it is better to be somewhat deprived early in life and have more later on.

The last place I have in mind is the McSorley Pub near the Cooper Union. All the years I went to Cooper, I never stepped inside the place. Sure, Peter Cooper himself had a drink or two there and most of the guys, and gals, who went to Cooper probably patronized the place at least every week. It was/is the place to be after school, so I heard. Just not for me. I just do not drink, period. Not something that I enjoy doing, anyway. At major events or social functions I might have a beer, but one is enough to get me all red in the face, so best not to drink at all. I do not get what is all the fuss about. Drink to relax, some people say, but many mistakes in history were made by drunks, too. I can make mistakes while not drunk, why increase the chance by being drunk. Maybe some wine associations will send me hate letters, but that's just the fact, alcoholic drinks are just, uh, not my cup of tea.

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