Sometimes, if you listen closely, a neighborhood can have just as much of a personality as an individual. I used to live in New York’s East Village, but before it was cool and trendy-when it was just dangerous. One night, I heard a guy being held up at gunpoint outside my window. Another night, three guys kicked the shit out of me just for fun. Those experiences, along with the following things I overheard in the area at the time, contributed to my decision to save up and move to a neighbourhood with a more stable personality.

Overheard on Avenue B, two men talking:
«Just because I killed someone doesn’t mean I’m an expert.»

Overheard on the same block, a man talking to a woman:
«I’m not a jealous guy, I’m just violent.»

Overheard on East Seventh Street, a man talking to a lamppost:
«I am going to break your face, sucker.»

Overheard at the Odessa Restaurant near Tompkins Square Park, the owner talking to an anarchist squatter:
«I think you guys should start another riot for me. I need the business.»

Overheard on Avenue A, two well-dressed white men talking:
«I’m not a racist or anything, but have you ever beaten up an African-American?»

Overheard at the bar 7B, two women talking:
«He’s a total fox, so I love him. But he completely has no personality and doesn’t speak a word of English.»

Overheard on a building stoop on East Sixth Street, a man talking to the apartment supervisor:
«You can’t always go calling the coroner ten hours afterward.»

Overheard in Tompkins Square Park, two homeless men talking:
«What’s the point in pretending like I’m sane anymore?»

Overheard on Avenue D, two men talking, and I don’t know what this means but it’s scary as fuck:
«I don’t take a life, I bury a soul.»

Neil Strauss, Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead: Journeys into Fame and Madness.

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