Category Archives: Pre-Odyssey

Why am I still awake?

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Sometimes painting my nails just feels like the right thing to do.

This is one of those times. They’re now drying, and I’m staring around at my possessions in duffel bags, Google mapping stop to stop (because yes, I’m still living in the stone age and lack a smart phone. Jay has one, but what if there’s no service, huh?), feeling my eyes oh-so-bleary and vision blurry from crying goodbyes and other difficulties and yes I’m going to miss it here but

holy crap all the suddenly I am *so excited!!*

So much so that it’s like my brain had a tiny seizure that requires incorrect adverb usage to convey how electric and sparkly and gone-in-a-flash it was.

I’m probably going to hate this post when I wake up in a few hours. But that thimble-full of a sensation was awesome, and felt genuine.

I can’t wait to be on the road, out-of-date navigation tools and silly plastic sunglasses perched at the ready.

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Still In New York, Redux

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The three summers I have spent in New York City (2009, 2011, and 2012) have all felt a bit like being dropped into the pond of a Murakami short story. I’m constantly finding myself awake at strange hours, hot and restless, mystified by the shade of the early light coming through the window and how the little mundanities of my life feel somehow portentous.

I sit at Silver Spurs and wonder, “Will this be my last shitty cup of New York diner coffee?” Or later that same day, “Will this ’round table discussion’ at an absurdly nice TriBeCa apartment being house sat by my best friends be how I remember them, frozen in time until we see each other again?” … If, ever?

I imagine returning to New York, but who knows, really? I suppose this question bleeds into another one, which is (hold onto your hats, New Yorkers):

“How much do I even like New York City?”

Some days, I can’t imagine living elsewhere. Other days… I remember reading on an OkCupid profile that someone thought New York City to be the most status obsessed, social-climbing place he had ever been (he had traveled a lot). Assuming that’s true–I could imagine a decent argument–this city and I are simply not compatible. Amassing wealth and social butterflying have never been interests of mine, let alone skills. I’m too neurotic, too unaware of the rules that govern that world.

Example: housing-wise, I have no idea where I fit. I can’t afford the areas of what seems to be my demographic, but in living elsewhere–i.e., Harlem–I feel like I’m part of this ugly “gentrification” process.

So, either I find a way to afford a lifestyle that seems exorbitant (to me, unused to New York prices) and I have privilege guilt. Or I live in Harlem and feel guilt anyway, for being/appearing to be a part of the always-occurring “urban renewal” I see going on–every time a bodega is torn down for a new Duane Reade, or hear the obnoxious Columbia undergrads throwing a part in our largely family-occupied building’s courtyard: “Hey Harlem! Who wants to get fucked up and get fucked?”

Add to all this the fact that, at the end of the day, I was raised in a certain suburban comfort. And am used to certain, well, creature comforts (like spacious, air-conditioned Duane Reades, or streets not smelling like garbage…), and you can call me Miss Ambivalence.

Because you pay a lot to get so little on this island, in terms of physical living space and the quality of it. But, you get to live in the most culture-rich city in the United States. At least in terms of the performing arts–my field in one way or a million–there just is no place else with so much going on.

And yet (not even mentioning that high quantity doesn’t necessarily mean high quality) I’m just one person! How much does one person need to live? To survive? To thrive? This all varies by one’s definitions, and preferences, I suppose–and those are what I need to ascertain for myself. What are my requirements, my needs, my demands of my habitat? To quote another OKCupid profile (in response to “5 things you couldn’t live without”), “I’ve lived with a lot and I’ve lived with very little. I’ve found there are many things I can do without.”

For the next bit of time, anyway, I’ll be surviving on what I can fit in half of a sedan–hopefully that will illuminate some of these quandaries and queries. Also hopefully, these burgeoning questions won’t drive Jay Will Math crazy along the way. And finally hopefully, if I do return to New York, I’ll have a clearer idea of how I feel about it when I do.

But for now, adios muchachos! “You rock, don’t ever change!” (Kidding.)

Still In New York

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As we prepare for our road trip, I feel kind of like an astronaut preparing to go into outer space (minus the probably very difficult physical training). My daily routine will be eradicated, much of my diet will be super-preservative-y or presented in unusual forms (dehydrated, dried, &c), and there will be ample opportunity to develop restless leg syndrome (I’m maybe a little paranoid about that one).

Oh, and all communication with those outside the vehicle that you knew before you left will now be long-distance.

That’s the only one that really matters, at the end of the day. I know the impossibility of keeping  in touch as frequently as one wishes. I worry and wonder about that, especially as I continue to live long-distance from some people I really love.

Therefore: If you’re reading this, I hope I hear from you. Call me up! Or gimme your address, I’ll send you a fun postcard from somewhere. Also, I hope you hear from me. I hope I rise to my own challenge to be a more committed friend, and better corresponder.