by Dan Johnson
The question: where do my useless douche bag neighbors go to eat in Downtown?
Unless my instincts are off and the faceless legion of goons that have come to inhabit my building are actually automatons being staged for some imminent corporate coup, these discourteous troglodytes must eat somewhere.
Is there a secret underground tunnel connecting our shared home to the Ace Hotel rooftop? Does a special delivery service cater exclusively to people who don’t know how to return a simple “good morning?” Are there tables set aside at 71 & Above specifically for my useless douche bag neighbors? Does the maître d’ stare at it and silently ponder, “Do you think the useless douche bags will be in tonight?”
I’m of a bygone era where you nod and say hello when you see someone you recognize. Call me old school. If we’ve had a conversation before (even one against your will) or shared more than three elevator rides together, I act as if we’re on a nodding basis.
But that’s apparently a bit too much to ask of my useless douche bag neighbors.
No, my useless douche bag neighbors can’t be bothered to break the imaginary hermetic seal that separates their moneyed loft life with the peons around them.
This is the new look Downtown—an influx of useless douche bags who creamed their jeans at a GQ article jerking off an illusory spike in retail presence that they confused as a healthy revival in urban living. Rents shot up, old timers who said “hello” and weren’t afraid to walk the streets at night got pushed out in favor of useless douche bags who pay a ton to live down here and thus feel as if they shouldn’t have to concern themselves with anything beyond the realm of their own self-absorption.
Circumstances aside, the consortium of useless douche bags surely frequent some Downtown establishment. Given their unaccented English and preference for trendy pullovers, pristine business suits and unscuffed wing tips, I think it’s safe to assume that these craven parasites are known to the Financial District.
The stench of their pretension practically coats the counter tops. The useless douche baggery hangs in the air like macho musk during asshole rutting season. You can tell where they’ve been for the lingering presence of bad karma and the smell of burned-up money that permeates the breeze after someone with a completely superfluous master’s degree crop dusts an establishment with their toxic and unfriendly ego.
Upon first entering Caffe Primo, the sensitive will be overcome by the impression that my useless douche bag neighbors have been there recently. The staff are on their best behavior as if some moneyed, wide eyed sociopath has recently waved the Yelp mobile app in their face and threatened to “burn the whole place down” if they don’t get egg whites at no extra charge.
The free water container sweats nervously in the corner as the counter girl takes an order for an eight dollar tomato and basil frittata. She blinks excessively signaling that she is in danger. I scan the room. My useless douche bag neighbors are nowhere in sight. Unfortunately, privileged asshats raised on a sense of entitlement founded on treating people like shit have a certain omnipresence. They can appear at the drop of a hat to ruin your day.
“You’re safe, little girl,” I say, “Because my useless douche bag neighbors are somehow frightened of me, possibly because I have a soul.” Her shoulders droop. The façade of a smile inverts as she chokes back tears. “Thank you,” she mutters as I tip her the remaining twenty-eight cents from my perfect $8.72 purchase.
I want to tell her everything will be alright, but it won’t. Caffe Primo is practically a magnet for my useless douche bag neighbors.
1. Useless douche bags generally prefer chains to individual mom and pop shops.
2. The marble counter tops and ample sneeze guards create a number of reflective surfaces with which my useless douche bag neighbors can gaze at their own image and pretend they’re looking at the face of God.
3. The generic classic rock playlist calls out like a siren song to my useless douche bag neighbors, one that coos, “You understand this; it is comfortable; this will not challenge you; you are its master.”
The frittata, like my useless douche bag neighbors, is mediocre and shaped exactly like the pan (elite private high schools) it fried in. The accompanying potatoes, like my useless douche bag neighbors, seem edible at first glance, but carry an unmistakable taste of decay with them.
Hey, that’s the future of Downtown, folks. I appreciate that sweet talk to the contrary with the promises of a multifaceted, diverse community working together to solve problems and prosper. The truth is that we’ve just entered the latest phase in Downtown Development: utter pretension spiced with zero personal accountability.
I’d like to look out my window every morning and pretend it’s the tweakers and crackheads and taggers that are dragging Downtown down. The reality is that our city center is being gutted from the top down as well. It’s people like my useless douche bag neighbors who feel like the world’s problems are someone else’s problem. They don’t want to be bothered with the inconvenience of investing their PRECIOUS TIME AND ENERGY in the neighborhood around them.
Throw some cash at it and don’t make eye contact. I’m sure that’ll pan out.
I award Caffe Primo a “1” on the binary and encourage the staff to keep a ton of surplus garlic on hand in case those vampires, my useless douche bag neighbors, come back for another taste of blood.