This is my first full week in New York--and so far I can say the feeling I have is that of a foreign exchange student.
I arrived around 9pm last Saturday night with a dear friend who helped cart my shit into my apartment, woke up the next morning at 645 am due to my new upstairs neighbor b-l-a-s-t-i-n-g Otis Redding. Don’t get me wrong, I love Otis Redding just as much as the next girl, but when you’re camping out on the living room floor with a pillow and nearly dead from stress cat and a house guest you cant give clean towels just yet, you’re gonna want to sleep for as long as you can. I promptly went up stairs to the offending neighbor who opened his door in boxers holding a blue solo cup wearing a grin bigger than the cheshire cat. I politely said to him: dude, you gotta turn that shit down, people are trying to sleep. That was my first morning in new york.
The next day, the movers (Rudy and Dmitri, god bless them both) delivered my furniture and it was time for me to set my life up. What is the biggest difference right away between Boston and New York? Your main transportation becomes your legs versus a car. That first Sunday, I got to work organizing and reassembling my life; I quickly realized that the 12 or 13 foot ceilings plus my 5 foot frame and a 2 foot stool wasn’t really a super equation to hang curtains. I recalled passing a Home Depot on the first trip down to Brooklyn...it couldn’t be that far away....right? 40 minutes later I was there--bought a huge ladder, screws and a tension rod. I looked awesome carting all that shit back home, and thankfully a cab pulled over and i happily threw my shit in the back and rode shot gun.
Being an outsider has afforded me the ability to be a keen observer, a wall flower. Each day after work last week I walked through different neighborhoods, seeing the men sitting in their folding chairs outside bodegas listening to salsa music, monks commuting next to Wall Street execs with their earbuds in, mothers teaching their toddlers manners while protecting them from the other humans on the subway.
Upon my way home last Wednesday, I stopped into a local pub to grab a drink and food (I forgot to call National Grid before I got to New York to have my gas stove turned on, so it just got turned on this weekend...yikes) and ate at the bar. I happened to be sitting next to a dude that ordered three ‘neat’ whiskeys and a rolling rock, and was reading a book titled Existence. What!! I looked around, looking to see if anyone else thought that this was hysterical. No one batted a mascaraed covered eyelash! The thing is, these fucking hipsters nestle in to New York because no one stands out--everyone’s a weirdo. So they can be heard, understood even. I texted a friend of mine that I knew would understand the humor right away and her response? Tell him you train iguanas. Hipsters love that shit. Well that made me howl enough to cause a scene and have people stare over at me...but oh no, no one gives a shit about the Existence guy.
On Saturday I was wondering around aimlessly in nolita when I was passing a man wearing a python (a live one) wrapped around his arm and neck. I didn’t even register that the thing was real until I saw the glimmer of sun reflecting off part of its swamp colored scales. I’m pretty sure my reaction was exactly what this snake wearing asshole wanted (I jumped about 4 feet in the air and quickly made a left in a 45 degree angle into the street, not caring about traffic) and he smiled and chuckled. I relayed this experience to a friend in Boston, and his response: The same thing happened to me in Boston, except it was a kitten. Again, I cackled so loud I am fairly certain a mother shielded her child from the crazy woman (me) on the street cracking herself up.
New Yorkers carry snakes, Bostonians: kittens. Little different.
Like all new endeavors, it takes time to feel steady and confident in your role....it’s thrilling to know that I will soon be fluid enough to speak New York without pause in the (hopefully) near future; and that is fuel enough for me to strive to be better and to appreciate all the daily stories that play out in front of me.