Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Apologies, oh Internet

So I've already fallen behind on my post-a-week pledge, but hopefully I can get back on track again. It's too easy to put this on the back burner and attend instead to tasks that require far less mental effort.

At any rate, things have been a little crazy chez Passimenterie lately. My vacation week was nice, but while I relaxed a lot, I didn't get any of my many chores done. The apartment is a mess, I'm behind on my secret santa gifts, my Christmas crafts, and even my bill paying. I don't seem to want to do anything requiring the least bit of work or effort. I haven't cooked anything that didn't involve opening a can or reheating things, and I can't think of the last time I worked out. I'm slumping again.

Maybe the holiday season will help. I do have lots to look forward to right now. So much, in fact, that I think I need to go. Those netflix DVDs won't watch themselves, you know.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

If I can make it there...

I love New York. I really do. I didn't get there until I was in graduate school, but it was love at first sight. We came in January, for Americana Week at the auction houses. We visited the New-York Historical Society, Christies, and Sotheby's. It was cold and gray as the van drove us down along Central Park. There wasn't any snow -- that would come in a few days, and the park's trees loomed large and skeletal out the window. I grew up in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, and so was completely unfamiliar with cities that have actual street life. Seeing all the people, the corner stores with fruit and flowers right out on the sidewalk, the landmark buildings -- it was like the millions of hours of New York-based television and movies I'd seen all come to life. That day the romance started, and subsequent visits have kept my love alive.

I visited on my own, with friends and family. I rode the Ferris wheel on Coney Island and ate chili fries on the subway. Explored the vacant lots of Brooklyn, seeing them not through my own narrow vision but instead through the eyes of friend who is a poet and artist. I walked by the World Trade Center without giving it a thought, and then mourned the holes in the skyline, the ground, and in the lives of thousands of people only a few months later. I saw the Gates on a snowy day, and they and the city which they decorated took my breath away.

I've had cocktails at the 21 club and hot dogs in Central Park. I've discovered the wonders that are Zabar's and H& H. And yes, Katherine, they are indeed the best bagels in the world. I once snuck in to use the bathrooms at an exclusive private establishment (sorry, I can't name names) and have attended at least one expensive charity benefit (hopefully there'll be more). I saw a Broadway show and heard jazz in a dim basement club. I've frequented numerous museums and art galleries. I've stayed with friends in tiny apartments and visited palatial residences with better art in the bathrooms than most people will ever own. I even had a celebrity sighting or two (Harry Shearer -- Principal Skinner was thisclose to me!) The city has it's problems, and I'm certainly not blind to them, but when I think about New York I do it with stars in my eyes. It is a magical city for me, and I hope it always will be.

When this weekend ends I will have gone to the city three times in a week. That's excessive by my standards, but the multiple journeys were necessitated by a number of happy coincidences. Every time I go to New York, I get more familiar and more comfortable. I don't think I stand out like a country mouse come to town anymore, although that's probably wishful thinking. Even if I lived there, I'm not certain I could be a real New Yorker. It's the Southern in me, I guess. I can't not look people in the eye, can't pretend I don't see them. I smile at children and dogs and I don't intend to stop. I have, however, mastered the fine art of ignoring the people who stand on corners and hand out flyers, or try to. I still say sorry to them as I brush by. Old habits die hard.

I think what I love most about the city is the sense of possibility that I feel there. Anything can happen, and anything just might. My excitement builds as the train draws close to the station, even if I'm just coming in for a business meeting, and when it pulls away on its journey back home, I feel a pang, missing the lights and action already. I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!