Friday, February 21, 2014


I fully expect the afterlife to contain certain things. Avocados, Brahms, Frank O'Hara, padron peppers, everyone's pets, just a few examples. Another example would be that the concept of time would unfold as a succession of free days, during which one can wander the traffic free, clean, temperate streets of NYC, stopping at tea houses and happy hour spots with every single person that ever gave you a warm feeling in your life. If that doesn't sound nice to you, I just don't know what does.

However, until I get to the afterlife, and just on the slightly off chance that there isn't one, I've decided to play hooky and meet Nancy in the Village for tea, macarons, shared writing time and other Friday diversions. Those diversions may or may not include alcohol at some point. I can't shake the feeling, traveling as I do from Long Island, that I go on a mini vacation every time I come to NYC for a day trip. I feel slightly like a character in a Jane Austen novel who has been invited to stay in London for a week with her cosmopolitan friend. I will, of course, look for Willoughby at the ball happy hour later.

Then, of course, there is the neighborhood. I swear the West Village exists in a vacuum or rather, I keep this neighborhood in a tiny enclosed space in my brain, a buzzing, slushy, concrete village inside a souvenir globe, frozen in place in 1999-2000. I might even see myself there in the background, 23 and clad in a long black skirt and Doc Martens inside the Slaughtered Lamb on a Tuesday night. Sigh. When time is gone, where does it go?

Last weekend when my sister was visiting, we were having the umpteenth conversation about whether or not I can/will/want to relocate back to the city. I have exhausted myself in the debate. Actually, I've just confirmed with a reliable source that one cannot debate oneself. I am, however, as exhausted from thinking about it as I would be under a spotlight, stood behind a podium in a navy blue blazer, fresh from a road trip on a school bus.

When I'm carrying out my life fifty miles away from here, I feel settled. As it happens, everything in my soul rebels against settling, as evidenced by my undying restlessness. When I am on my way here or arrived here, I feel the pace and the energy and neurotic mass of movement and I feel: home. But is home always what is best for us? Especially when home costs so much fucking money? Anyway, my sister thinks that moving to the city has, at this point, become some sort of Utopia for me in that a)I think it will make me happier than I've ever been (despite the fact that I was born a restless person and that when I lived here, I often fantasized about leaving) and b) that it will not, in fact, make me happy in and of itself. She gave me some insight into the fact that if I did finally decide to come back, I should do so with the full knowledge that I'm still bringing myself, restlessness, grass is greener mentality and unsettled nature included. And she's right. Life in the city is not going to inject instant contentment. Nothing will.

But try to convince my brain of this, when I'm cozy with my laptop and a pot of tea on one of the oldest streets in Manhattan and right outside my door it is still 1999 and I'm still in my 20s and my hair is long and I share an apartment that overlooks the Hudson and the world is my freshly shucked oyster.

Ok, so maybe I'm a little mired in nostalgia. And maybe that means I shouldn't move back into the city expecting life here to not have changed. I can't help it. New York is the world's biggest magnet and I think I might have little pieces of metal in my bloodstream. The moral of the blog post is that I should probably see a doctor.

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