Remember Manhattan in that lousy 2007 Will Smith movie, I am Legend? It was kind of like the projected world in Alan Weisman’s book, The World Without Us, if the latter were fictional and silly and starred a hunky guy and vampires. The premise is that soon after a virus began circulating, people were turned into vampires (or maybe they were zombies? some kind of monsters, anyway), and if not, they were eaten by said monsters, and Manhattan turned into this:
Here’s what you see: Waist-high grass in the middle of Times Square, where an elk, a lion, and a cub make their home. The year? 2012. Five years away from the time of production, three years after the imagined virus took hold, next year for us. Could Manhattan really lose its veneer of civilization so quickly and become the jungle?
It’s been a couple of weeks since my arrival here, and I am in the unfortunate position of counting dollars and cents. Which means: no laser hair removal, a process I began in my previous life. I know, how devastating, the world will not collapse—nor will the Brooklyn bridge—without cosmetic laser treatments. But when I say “and cents,” I mean forget the Light Sheer, even a thread is beyond my budget.
To the uninitiated, threading literally involves running a thread over a client’s eyebrows. How low-tech can you get? In this part of the world, those 3 minutes will run you $25 (I feel like I’d get a better deal if I flew to India and got it done there).
$25. I could totally feed the whole family their hummus-and-tofurkey on Honey Bran lunch sandwiches for the whole week on that, and still have something left over for a latté (I’m allowed one latté, aren’t I?).
Hence, expect the rapid process of decivilizing to begin. First the grass begins to break through the pavement. It grows and expands and soon wild animals run free in this new wasteland. Civilization, be damned. I can’t afford you.
On a positive note, Frida Kahlo, unibrow and all, graces the walls of the greatest art museum on earth. So—perhaps I will be starting a new trend?