I think that a few weeks ago (or maybe it was longer than that) Meredith was mulling over the dichotomy between people viewing their time in New York as being either that of The Friends or The Women Of Sex and The City.
And as you’re reading that statement, you’re thinking She is exactly right.
For me, the 36 hours I had in New York before I winged off to Israel were more reminiscent of One Short Day in the Emerald City.
As is evidenced by the one proper photo that I took, from the back of a taxi shuttling me into Manhattan.
Day 1: Zero hour.
I rode over that bridge, mulling over the number of opportunities I might possibly have in my life to be dropped into the middle of a city that is so well-beloved, with no responsibility to anyone other than myself and The List Of Things I Wanted To Accomplish There For Me.
Meredith was a saint and let me spend the night at her place, instead of sourcing a hotel. As saintly was Roo (her loyal hound), who gamely tolerated a new addition to His Pack.
And moreover, tolerated that packmate sitting on the couch he was not allowed on.
I like to think that we became equals after I took him out and he dragged me back to the apartment like some sort of concrete water skiier when he decided we were done.
After dropping my things at her place, I grabbed some jerk chicken at a food truck because it seemed like The Way To Start Off On The Right Foot and set off toward The Met.
Which was overwhelming in every sense of the word.
New York City does not feel big to me. Which is quite possibly because if I tried to properly understand its size, I would be paralyzed. So rather than mull over the sheer vastness in comparison to Minneapolis or anywhere else I’ve ever been, really, I think about how things make sense. Like Manhattan. Makes sense. The streets make sense. The neighborhoods make sense.
For what it’s worth Paris does not feel big to me either.
So I walked. And I looked up. And I smiled at people. People smiled at me. And then promptly asked me for directions. I mused over the fact that with my pink fleece, gray waffle-knit hat and touchscreen gloves, I probably looked more like a dog walker than a True Stranger.
The Met? Felt big.
The Matisse exhibit, the hall of Impressionists, the Tiffany stained glass that I had to anxiously scamper to find as I almost managed to leave the building without seeing it, the entire ancient Egyptian temple that was transplanted from its original site (which is now underwater) and now resides beneath a glass dome.
It was big.
Feet hurting, head full, I took myself home.
Which is only funny to read now that I’ve written it because New York City is so obviously Not My Home.
But home is where you are comfortable. Where you are near people who care for you. Where you are surrounded by familiar things.
We #winesday-ed. If I may be so honest, #winesday was truly the only Real Thing I Wanted To Accomplish for this mini-trip of mine.
Sitting down at the round table on Tuesday night with Meredith, @strand925, BHB, @turquoisenoise, @MlleMayhemK, and K we picked up where we left off. There was no idling, no first position. We shared joy. We shared painful hard things. We did our best to see the sunlight without staring directly into the sun. It was exactly how it was supposed to be.
I am grateful.
Day 2: Hour 21 (or so)
I ran around Central Park. Which, next to cheering for the Cowboys, feels like the most American thing you can do, really. I am not a running tourist, I swear, but there are places that I feel it is important to leave footprints. My footprints are on those park paths now, with so many millions of others.
I ate a bagel piled high with smoked salmon. Some people would tell you that in New York, it is all about the bagel. For me it was all about the salmon. This is its own wonderful food pyramid.
I took the subway down to Chelsea and lunched with Kelsey, Joseph’s girlfriend, at Pastis. And once again, I found myself at a table, picking up where I left off. She sent me on my way to see the High Line. It was misty and damp and fascinating. How to build green space when there is no land left. A puzzle.
I visited the Picasso exhibit at the Guggenheim and pondered its hive-like architecture as I wound my way to the top. Picasso was interesting. Interacting with the structure of the Guggenheim was thrilling. It was alive in a way that many buildings are not.
I checked my watch and began to head toward home once more. I had a flight to catch. People to call before take-off. Outfits to change, towncars to arrange on a rainy night, salads to eat, things to re-pack.
A moment of peace. Surrounded by the familiar. Before the chaos.