New York, New York

I used to live in New York.

New York, New York. Which I still can’t help but think of as The Real Deal, New York.

Real Deal New York involved a third floor walk-up, a studio without a stove, a bodega down below, and a crazy couple up above. This place — the twelve-month period in this place — was set to the scintillating soundtrack of oh-my-god-I-am-going-to-run-out-of-money. Like actually, run out of money.

If you’ve been coming here for a while, you know already know that my real deal New York also involved a lot of eggs.

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A lot of eggs, I mean. Eggs every day. Eggs for lunch and eggs for dinner. I really tried to avoid eggs for breakfast. Still try, actually. For obvious reasons.

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Anyway: all those eggs, times 365. Let’s not do that math.

It will come as no surprise, then, when I say that my New York smelled an awful lot like hard-boiled eggs. Also, like cherry blossoms, for one glorious week of year. (To be fair.)

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If you asked me what New York sounded like: I would say like somebody swearing. (Before jamming their foot in the door, and elbowing their way in. Unless it was over 90 degrees, in which case an ordinary expletive and accompanying jab in the ribs would not do.)

And if you asked me how it looked: I would say New York looked like a stack of black shirts, folded on the floor. I remember that stack — I liked to think of it in the bottom drawer of the dresser I didn’t have, in the closet only my broker was ever creative enough to conjure up.

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And if you ask me how it felt? I would say New York felt like go, go, go — going to make it!nope, kidding, two seconds too late. Door slam. Over and over and over again.

You probably get the point by now, but I’m really on a roll.

New York felt like a stomachache a day, an anxiety attack a week. New York felt like One New Email, every one second.

New York felt like the beautiful brunching person I would never become. (I am a breakfast-or-lunch person. A sneaker person. I reserve my high heels exclusively for first dates with boys I have really high hopes for.)

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How did I ever live in New York.

I’ve been in Oregon for a week and a half, and this is what I wake up thinking, walk around thinking, and go to bed thinking.

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This bodes well, I think. This is a good sign.

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Is it all completely perfect, out here? No. Of course it isn’t. But the Oregon filter is pretty good.

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I love my view. The view from here.

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I didn’t come out here for the spectacular summer, though. I came out here because I never hung anything on the walls in New York. I came out here because my LOOKING FOR and my ENJOYS are here, and not there.

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But mostly I came out here because I wanted a better shot at balance. At living a balanced life. And it’s working — the Pacific Northwest is working.

But now I’m about to start working, and I’m so afraid I’m going to end up in New York, New York, all over again. Because maybe it wasn’t fair to blame all of the stress and strain and sleepless nights on New York. Maybe it really wasn’t fair.

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4 thoughts on “New York, New York

  1. I have this fantasy that involves NYC. It isn’t the most mature fantasy, in that I’ve actually thought it through. It’s the kind you read about: a starry-eyed, romantic ambition by which I’ll metamorphose into the image of myself that I’m striving to become. I’m obsessed with self-actualization, by the way. In any event, I don’t think that the experience you’ve described on numerous occasions has done anything to disillusion me from what I freely admit is hysterical. I’ve never been there. It’s such a prominent cultural feature, and I have nothing to say about it. I hear about the adrenal effect it has on certain kinds of people, and I want to experience it.

    When I was a kid, I visited Seattle from my little home in Evansville, IN over the holidays. It’s one of the first memories I have of the big city. We stayed at the Sheraton downtown, where they filled the lobby with competition-quality gingerbread houses. We went to The Nutcracker, because cannons. And at night, I snuck away to the window after everyone else went to sleep and stayed up late counting the limos that passed on the street below. There were black ones and white ones and they all had sunroofs. Even then, there was an energy that sucked me in. That was Seattle. I can’t imagine what New York would be like, and my god—just think of what they’re doing with limos these days.

    Many things have gotten in the way of my going there, not least of which are my own inhibitions. Those Doug firs you’re standing between had a pretty strong effect, too. Kind of. OK, there were a lot of reasons.

    How is it possible to rent a studio without a stove??

    • Haha you must be referring to the year I spent stuck squarely on the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. But I remember it with a funny kind of fondness now…every now and then I come across a picture of NYC on IG, and my heart always gives a little squeeze.

      I’m glad nothing I’ve written has poked a hole in your fantasy. That’s the way it should be, I think. And although I got my fill of NYC, I’m still one of the people who would say: find a way to go. Whether it’s for a weekend or a month or a year. Find a way to go and take it all in and write it all down. I always seem to write on the lonely days, the hard days, the discouraging days — but don’t get me wrong, there were days (whole weeks at a time, even) that lived up to everything I’d ever imagined. I can still remember emerging from the subway the day my internship turned into a job…bouncing up the steps and practically skipping the park blocks home, feeling like I might just up and float away, there was so much possibility. It’s not unlike the feeling of infinite potentiality you’re generally able to find in the woods out here. (Those Doug firs! Tell me more about your trees.)

      The Seattle story made smile. This going without saying, I think, but you’re an excellent storyteller. I wonder what you’d have to say about Indiana.

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