I love coming to New York City. I love seeing my friends and gushing and chattering and sharing—and I know some of the best, kindest, most generous souls on the planet. I’m rich with these people.
I also love walking past the bright windows full of everything—you need buttons? large rolls of foam? owl-shaped candles? flip-flops in December? $300 ripped up jeans? necklaces made to look like Petri dish cultures? tacos next to bulgogi next to artisanal donuts next to lobster bisque? want it all topped with a star? I love walking and looking and overhearing conversations.
“Lady, no. Real cashmere would cost you hunnerts of dollars. This is ten. C’mon, whaddaya think?”
“My boyfriend’s career counselor said he should go into taxidermy. I’m totally getting him this.”
But also, sometimes you turn a corner and for a whole block you only smell sewage. (Don’t say Just wait. I know it’s coming like gangbusters.) Sometimes some guy is flipping out waiting for a train, screaming obscenities, and no one notices. Sometimes a person has a whole campsite under some scaffolding and a cardboard sign taped up next to it. Sometimes the sidewalk is so dotted and over-dotted with black gum spots, I wonder if it’s adding a bounce to my step, or if I should walk faster, lest I stick as a dinosaur in tar.
Sometimes all the shoulder checks weary me.
But then look! Cupcakes shaped like that weird yellow cartoon thing with one eye. Look: Benetton half off! Uniqlo! Look! The Rockefeller tree! Look at the new silhouettes for winter! Look at how those dumb boots are back! Look, real chestnuts roasting over a… Well, over a food cart’s electric burner, anyway.
What a wonder. The city rooster woo-wooo-woo-wooos, the earth quakes every 7 minutes, steam slips out of grates as if sucked by invisible straws. There’s always a saxophone playing somewhere underground. There’s always a better deal around the corner on a “cashmere” scarf.
Today, I ate pulled pork eggs Benedict, Korean ramen, and some fancy mini donuts. Tomorrow, the world. I drank til I was buzzed. I laughed and walked and bought a book (of course*).
Tomorrow, I depart for parts unknown (to me). Yes, I’m excited. Yes, I’m freaking out. Yes, in a good way.
* Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: fragments