Quarter Life and Counting

This is cheaper than therapy.

The time has come to bid farewell to one of the most complicated yet steadfast relationships I have ever had. I lusted after New York City ever since I was a teenager. It terrified me upon arrival, and tried it darndest to get me to run away. I almost did; I’m glad I didn’t. And when it turned hostile a year later and pushed me out, I never stopped trying to get back in. But now, before bitterness sets in, I have decided to close a chapter that has brought me so much joy, so much heartache, and so many, many life lessons.

New York taught me how to be assertive, how to walk fast and speak up, how to shove my way inside a crowded subway car, and how to breathe without smelling the various foul odors that the city emitted from its bowels. It taught me how to make quick decisions, and that saying yes to things could mean ending up at a Lady Gaga concert on a Thursday night. It taught me to be fearless, to throw caution to the wind, and that there was no such thing as having nothing to do. It taught me about little cupcakes and big sandwiches, cheesy pizza slices and good beer. It taught me how to cry and it taught me how to love. Most of all, it taught me to be me.

Perhaps it’s better this way. I can now remember the city the way I fell in love with it: as a student with an abundance of free time to wander aimlessly, taking in the sights, doing all the things that New Yorkers eventually become too jaded to appreciate. I had a sublet downtown, mornings free to wander around the park and across the bridges, and the bubbling sort of energy that allows you to start up conversations with random strangers in the street who then end up being lifelong friends. Had I still been there now, I would have been living with three Craigslist roommates, and been as dead inside as the rest of the glassy-eyed people on the hour-long morning commute. I would have been complaining bitterly about the cold, about the ridiculous city taxes, the exorbitant rent, and the fact that I had no time to enjoy anything anymore. My friends would be scattered all across the five boroughs, and our plans to meet up would keep falling through, until one by one, we would leave, fed up, exhausted, and having had enough.

So I will keep my memories intact, and make a little pact with myself to try and visit as often as I can. Perhaps it will start off as once or twice a year. Perhaps I can finally spend a Christmas there that doesn’t involve me becoming snowed in for two days and subsisting on Aunt Jemima’s Frozen French Toast. The visits, I know, will then become fewer and farther in between. The memories, however, will never, ever fade.

It’s the little things

I’ve been walking down the same street every morning for the past four months to get to work, and each time, I run into the same woman, walking in the opposite direction. She’s always rolling a little suitcase behind her, always staring straight ahead, grim-faced. I have repeatedly tried, and failed, to catch her attention and say ‘Good morning.’ After all, we meet each morning, pretty much at the exact same spot, and we both appear to be the only two pedestrians in a vehicle-crazy city. That gives a sense of kinship, wouldn’t you think? But this woman would have nothing of it. It was as if she was making a point not to look up, or left, or right. She just walked with a kind of angry determination, not allowing anyone or anything distract her from her course. So I stopped trying to say ‘Good morning,’ but I continued to smile, and I felt a strange sense of reassurance every time I would cross paths with her. Then came this morning. On this glorious morning, out of nowhere, my fellow pedestrian finally looked up, gave me a big toothy grin, and, with a slight Jamaican accent, bade me a good morning. She didn’t stop, or slow down, or make any sort of small talk, but that simple greeting was enough to lift my spirits a little bit. I beamed right back at her, and we each carried on our way. It’s a tiny thing, and I know that our friendship, if you can call it that, will never evolve beyond early-morning well-wishes exchanged on the way to work, but the fact that after four months she finally acknowledged my presence somehow made me feel a little better about the world.

therumpus:

Leo: This week your brain is going clear up, going to get organized, going to be on your side. You brain will give you the space you need to get weird, to get wild, to write strange and gross stories, to throw away everything that makes you sad. Trust yourself, this week: do everything you want to do. Take a day off work if you can. Go on a trip. Cook something that takes forever. Sit around alone in your house. Clean your bathroom. This is the week to make that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off. 

The last 4 lines pretty much sum up what my weekend is going to be all about. Does this mean horoscopes are real?

therumpus:

LeoThis week your brain is going clear up, going to get organized, going to be on your side. You brain will give you the space you need to get weird, to get wild, to write strange and gross stories, to throw away everything that makes you sad. Trust yourself, this week: do everything you want to do. Take a day off work if you can. Go on a trip. Cook something that takes forever. Sit around alone in your house. Clean your bathroom. This is the week to make that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off.

The last 4 lines pretty much sum up what my weekend is going to be all about. Does this mean horoscopes are real?

I don’t know when or what the turning point was for me, but all the asinine things you have to accept (like: walk 40 blocks or pay $20 for a death-defying cab ride or spend an hour figuring out which subway line gets you there and how to get to that line) have dimmed to a low humming nuisance and let everything else that is wonderful to experience bubble gloriously to the top. Now New York is food and music and art and architecture. It’s dancing lights and mysterious steam. It’s sculpted steel and fractured wood and water in the cracks of the sidewalk. It’s wind that teases my hair. It’s the smell of gasoline and pretzels. New York is an out-of-tune church bell right outside my hotel room that banged out a four-minute hymn I did not know every morning at 7AM. And this morning I missed it.

Dooce hit the nail right on the head this morning.

Wild, wild horses. We’ll ride them some day.