Category Archives: random thoughts

Home Sweet City

home sweet city

On a recent weekend out of the city, a young cousin of mine asked me a question every New Yorker has asked their self at least once—a question I have asked myself more times than I care to think about: Will I live in New York City forever? I looked out the car window, past his puerile face to the bucolic scene in blues and greens—the perfect azure sky, the rolling hills dotted with lush, leafy trees. I shrugged my shoulders, flashed a face of doubt and said simply, “I don’t know.”

It’s not that I can’t bring myself to imagine ever living elsewhere. I daydream about faraway places all the time—about living in a quaint Parisian apartment on a narrow cobblestone street in Montmartre, or a charming, light-filled flat in London, or even packing up and heading somewhere closer to home like Chicago or Seattle, just to see what it’s like. But what James was asking was not so much could I leave New York, but could I ever leave the city. I knew this because of the way he asked—the sweet innocence in his voice, as if he wondered how anyone could prefer urban chaos over rural quietude. I turned to him and asked, “Do you like New York?” He said back gently, but assuredly, “No. I like it here.”

As a child, when I would sit down with my paper and pencil to draw, it was rolling hills and barns that came to life on my page– this despite having grown up on the beach where palm trees stood instead of pines. Was there was a longing within me? Maybe. But then along came Seventeen magazine and its editorials that pictured young city gals in Bohemian dresses carrying brown paper bags of vegetables down Soho streets. Those images made my heart skip a beat. As soon as I could go, I headed for Manhattan. And as many times as the question of staying forever has crossed my mind, here I still am.

I tried explaining to James what it is about the city that gets me…what it is that, as backwards as it sounds, actually puts me at ease. I’m not sure he grasped it—perhaps for no reason other than at twelve, knowing home only to be the quiet country suburbs, he simply can’t relate. I know I’m not alone however, in my love for city life. Just last week I came across this letter in an old issue of AD Russia, a printout of the English translation literally falling from the magazine while I sat thumbing through it in search of an article for my boss. Eugenia Mikulina, who at the time was editor, gets it exactly…

 

The City

 

Well put Ms. Mikulina.

As for my future, well– I don’t know where life is going to take me, or if I’ll ever feel a pull to any place quite like the one I felt that brought me here. But I like to go with the flow, take whatever comes my way. So if an opportunity for a new place to call home ever does come around– even if it is the country– I’ll consider. Until then, I’ll be content here, in the city…with its uneven pavement (on which I get to walk each and every day) and crowded subways (where I get to see faces and overhear stories I would otherwise never know)… the tiny, expensive apartments (where I have learned to find happiness living with less)…the bumper to bumper traffic (where I sit back and enjoy the ride) the noises, the smells… the glitz and glam and grit and grime that makes the city what it is… the place for now at least, that I call home.

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Best of the Week…

Again, it’s weeks since I’ve posted.

It’s writer’s block.

I know, I know, I’ve used this excuse before. But it really is a thing. I have a list at home of all my blog ideas and it’s plenty long. It’s that I just haven’t been feeling motivated to form any of those early thoughts into anything compelling, or even mildly entertaining. So I’m going to go with simple and leave it at that.

This is a list of the best/most inspiring/most entertaining things that I saw or heard last week.

1. These great words… on the garage door of a storefront on 14th Street. Written for whom? I don’t know. Perhaps for anyone passing by who needs them. I like the reminder.

Just one of the reasons I love New York.

2. These beautiful boots on the feet of a man across from me on the train, in these (hopefully) last days of chilly weather.

Another reason why I love New York—ah, the fashion!

3. This gorgeous springtime sight I caught while out getting lunch on Friday. Yes, I knew my nose felt a little itchy. Blossoms have arrived!

4.   And again against the black night’s sky.

5.  And lastly, this great conversation I had on the phone with the Crate & Barrel rep the other day, solidifying the details of my sofa delivery this weekend.

Me: “So I spoke with someone the other day and wanted to be sure everything was ok. The sofa needs to come through the window and the last rep I talked to said she had to run it by her supervisor.”

Rep: “Ah. I see. Mind if I put you on hold?”

Me: “That’s fine.”

(I twiddle my thumbs for two minutes while she investigates.)

Rep: “Ok. It looks like we’re all set for delivery on Saturday. You just need to be sure to sign the release for any damages.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Rep: “Well in case anything gets damaged while they’re moving it in through the window.”

Me:” Uh huh. Well, I would hope they will take care to try and not damage anything…”

Rep: “Well sure. But just in case.”

Meanwhile I’m thinking, could this woman be any more nonchalant?

Me: “Ok. Fine. So then this means that they are ok with moving it in through the window?”

Rep: “It looks like it. You might have to wait and see.”

Wait and see?

Me: “And if they decide they can’t do it once they get there?”

Rep: “Well then maybe you have someone help you move it in. Your boyfriend or something.”

Me: [Pause] Then silently, “Uh yeah, maybe that would work if I had a boyfriend.”

Silence ensues.

Rep: “Uh.. Oh. I’m—sorry. I just…”

Me: an awkward laugh…

Rep: “Uh. I’m sorry. I apologize for assuming…”

Me: “Yeah…[long pause] No problem.”

My Favorite Things – No.1

I read, the other day, on a fellow blogger’s post, a comment about struggling sometimes to find inspiration to write something good and solid. I know the feeling. So in thinking about how I could solve this roadblock when I find it standing in my way, I remembered what someone once told me: to write about anything. And then I suppose if my audience finds it dull, well then ok. At least I’m writing. So my idea, along with writing about anything, is that whenever something comes along that really makes my day, I’ll share it here. I’ll call these things “My Favorite Things Today”.

Here goes…

1) I was on the subway this afternoon and noticed at one point, standing near one set of doors, a young father and his son who looked to be about five years old. Now I think most kids are cute, but this one was topping the charts. He was a little Mexican boy I guessed, with dark tan skin, and a head of jet-black, chunky hair in a just less than perfect bowl cut. He had on a pair of blue jeans that I guessed were hand-me-downs because the waste of them was folded over his belt so that he wasn’t tripping on them. Over his t-shirt he had on a jean jacket that again was a little too big, so he was more or less wearing a denim suit. At first I thought he was just leaning up against his dad, but then when I looked again I realized the dad was holding him under his armpits. As in holding him up. The child was standing, fast asleep. His chunky-hair head would be upright one second and then suddenly fall to swing like a pendulum. And his little legs kept buckling at the knees. The kid was out. I looked at the dad with a sympathetic smile and took a scan of our surroundings to see what could be done. A pair of girls in seats in front of me were gathering their things, as if to be getting off. So when the train stopped, I ushered the dad over trying to save the empty spots for him and his son. Of course some oblivious woman sat herself down, so only the boy could sit. Better than nothing, I supposed. At least the buckling knees would no longer be an issue. But the head. His poor little tired head. Of course, there he sat and there the head fell. And then his body fell, and next thing he was leaning up against the girl next to him. She was in a semi-trance, in deep meditation it seemed, listening to her ipod, with her eyes (lined in yellow pencil) closed. I waited to see what would transpire, hoping she would let him stay leaning on her. She woke up and shuffled, and the dad, obviously not wanting to bother anyone, once again moved the boy, still sound asleep, to position him upright. And then the whole thing started again.

2) I was on the phone with my friend today and as usual,  after checking in about work and my newest living situation, she asked about my dating life. We got to talking and I mentioned to her that I had met someone several weeks before that I really liked but that he unfortunately has a girlfriend. I said to her, “Why does that always happen to me? I finally find one I like and he’s taken.” And her response was: “Well because there are too many stupid relationships in this city. So if they would all end and everyone get down to business, all the right people could be with eachother.”

I shook my head and thought, “Well, yes, that just about sums it up.”

And lastly…

3) My bag hunt. I am in desperate need of a new one for fall, as the one I am currently carrying I think, after two seasons, finally needs to be retired. But since all the ones I’ve seen and loved are over 300 bucks and I would feel really bad spending that kind of money – even though I so want to—I have decided that I might just make do with a simple canvas tote. So I left the lovely Olivia Harris one on the shelf at Bloomingdales and hit the street to find some basics. I went to Uniqlo. They’re good with basics. But I wasn’t even sure they sell bags, so I went up to a sales guy and said, “Hi. I’m looking for bags. Do you have bags anywhere? Or purses?” And his reply to me? “We have man purses…”

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