Friday, April 20, 2007

"Did you go to the roof?"


I got thinkin about roofs today because I was coming down from the top floor of my studio building, celebrating 4/20, and e.o. saw me and asked, all excited, if I'd just gone to the roof?
I hadn't, because it says it's locked and alarmed and I wasn't ready to chance it, but I'd love to and told him so.
He explained it's just a flathead screwdriver to the rusty deadbolt and poof! you're on the roof!
What if the alarm goes off, I wondered aloud?
A-ha, just close the door and walk back to your studio, forget about it, it'll go off in five minutes.
It sounded worth it to me. It's the roof! I'm about to experience a view of SF I've never had before!

The roof. It's such a novel idea. In fact, it might even be one of those "american" things, or maybe it's really a city life thing.

Growing up in So. Cal we never thought of an 'outdoor' party as anything particularly surprising or exciting. We all grew up with yards and then in college, it was totally normal for someone to be renting a house with a big ole backyard. I guess a thrill, back then, was to actually get on the (slanted) roof of a house.

But, when I moved to new york city, "going to the roof" was like the icing on the top of a good apartment party. We all lived in a small 1 or 2 room apartment, straight up, next door to every other person living in a 1 or 2 room box (i mean, apartment). If someone you knew knew someone you'd never heard of and they mentioned they were having a 'roof party', your first question was not where? (it just didn't matter where) but what time? and can we go early if we bring enough booze?

In ny, it was all about getting out of the box and breathing in that air, whatever air it may be (refer to an earlier posting of mine where I explain the "air" on my old apt. roof) and having the opportunity to check out the city from a totally new angle (preferably from above). Now, if you knew there was gonna be an actual view (again, anyone that had a roof, had a a view: one might be of the beautiful exhibitionist who takes showers when she knows you're looking, while the other may be of an all-night deli) that was often a touted bonus: 'when you go up to the roof, you can see the west side highway, world trade center and the empire state building!' If you could get all those in one night from one roof, you took it. You went to that roof.

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