Back to Manhattan
It was raining tonight as I touched down in New York for the first time in almost a month. It was raining when I left San Francisco this morning. I’m not sure what that means. Probably nothing. As an aspiring writer I sometimes see, or want to see, connections where there are none for the sake of writing something interesting. But maybe everything does have a meaning, does have a purpose. Perhaps there are no coincidences.
The cab smelled faintly of cigarettes and strongly of body odor. The tourism bureau should bottle that scent and sell it. It’s the city’s real welcome mat.
I was listening to a tune by She & Him on my iPod as we cruised toward the city. The song was about a busted relationship. “Change Is Hard” it’s called. I wasn’t really concerned about the lyrics. I just know Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward make some very convincing country-esque sounding music. That and the title provided a nice backdrop for my life right now; jobless at 32, no solid prospects on the horizon, raiding my meager life savings with impunity to keep my head above water. But hey. I told myself 18 months ago I wanted a master’s degree in a dying industry.
Mission accomplished, one month ago to the day. It was worth the (roughly) $50,000 in loans and total upending of my life, wasn’t it? I’ll eventually figure out what I wanna be when I grow up. I think I need to take one of those tests that tells you what your skills and abilities are. Having some structure and boundaries would be good.
But not knowing what’s next is kind of exciting. I mean, I think I’m gonna open that bar I’ve always wanted. It’ll be like just like Cheers, except the customers will be kidnapped from the set of a Benetton ad shoot. Sexy and fun, monied and smart, they’ll wax poetic on all manner of things; the oeuvre of the Rolling Stones, whether or not Jersey Shore represents the apex of postmodernist thinking or the decline of western civilization, the odds that Boies and Olsen will win in the case of Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, the possibilities of an Arrested Development movie.
There are other things, of course. I was supposed to be speaking Spanish, and possibly even French, fluently by now. There’s musical talent in my family, why I picked the trombone and tuba over the guitar and piano I still don’t know. It wasn’t for the chicks.
An oh yeah, this writing thing. I’m gonna see my name in the “Intelligencer” after my first book camps out on the best seller lists like the latest set of errant thoughts that float out of Malcolm Gladwell‘s well-coiffed head.
And then I realize that I’m me and these are, for now, just dreams. I’m also reminded that you really have to be careful about what you wish for. Not because you just might get it, but also because you might not.
Gotham’s famous skyline was draped in a shroud of mist as we got closer, the only visible markers being the spire on the Chrysler and the lights atop the Empire State Building; the later set to green and white in honor of Gang Green’s toppling of the San Diego (not so Super) Chargers, earlier in the day. I have no particular love for any of New York’s sports franchises and am openly hostile to carpetbaggers who move here and immediately fall into a pattern of lemming-like boosterism for whichever team seems to be doing well at the moment. This is not a problem for the basketball teams, mind you, but this city has no problem producing an overabundance of self-satisfied and obnoxious fans. It doesn’t need a bunch of johnny come latelys upping the quotient.
Having said that, it is more fun when a team from here does well in the playoffs. The contradictions of New York run deep.
I haven’t been back here three hours yet and I’ve already had McDonald’s, something I’d not done since I left. I didn’t have a resolution about avoiding the Golden Arches, but I ain’t getting younger and I don’t quite believe that salvation (or path to six pack abs) lies down a road that terminates with a drive-thru diet.
But tomorrow is a new day. If there’s one good thing about New York, you can always start over again. The city certainly hasn’t missed me while I’ve been gone. I don’t know if I’ve missed it. But here we are. Time for the song and dance to being anew. Start spreading the news.