I flew back to New York this morning. My week away was quite a visit. (It turned out to be a bit longer than the weekend that had originally been planned, as there wasn't anything requiring that I hurry back here because the whole not-having-a-job extravaganza.) And I will surely write more about it later.
But the strangest about home was this:
For the first time, it wasn't anymore.
"Home," I mean.
Home is here.
I never thought a country mouse like me would ever feel this at ease in a big, bad city. Whereas my relatives are all convinced there's a mugger waiting for me down every dark alley, Manhattan never ceases to amaze me. All these people crammed onto an island, all bumping into each other and careening every which way.
Who are you people? I want to scream half the time, while the other half is spent wanting to rush up and grab the tails of their shirts and pull them in and make them talk to me so I can get to know each and every one of them. I've met a bunch of crazies I wouldn't care to cross paths with again. But I've met people more remarkable than any I've ever known before.
This is nothing like where I'm from.
I've been here for three years and -- yeah -- I've changed. But I can't help but wonder if cynicism is really supposed to be synonymous with New York. I've been told that I'd get jaded quickly. And I'm still not. Do I have some sort of corn-husk deflector, making ill-will glance off my back? And is that a bad thing? Will I always stick out like a sore thumb, coming across as a hicky tourist, because of my pleases and thank yous and occasional slips into 'ma'am' territory? Do I care?
I still walk across 2nd Avenue doing errands and look north at the oncoming traffic and can't believe I live here. The Brooklyn Bridge hasn't stopped taking my breath away. I still sit on my little bench in Tompkins Square Park and can't fathom that this is my life.
Does that go away? How do I ensure that it doesn't?
Bought ten lottery tickets.
Lost and won. But it didn't make much of a difference in the long run.