I got the quintessential New York City wakeup this morning–idling motors, horns, and shouting.
It’s been an hour, and now we’ve moved on to thumping bass and laughter, and also some ghostly strains of Sam Cooke singing “A Change Gonna Come.”
[Will]’s apartment on Bergen Street is miraculously well-appointed; chartreuse walls and clean-lined furniture and beautiful light coming from…I think it must be the south window? It’s hard to tell; Bergen insinuates slantily between its neighboring streets. He’s not far from Grand Army Plaza, the hub of Prospect Heights, where I used to take the subway just a few blocks, in order to feel like I lived where I intended to live, in moving to New York, back then.
The first thing I thought upon hearing the noise that woke me up this morning was, “Has the General been towed? Do I owe money to someone? Will I have to spend hours at a government office somewhere?”
That’s the thing that hangs in the clouds; more accurately, that’s the substance of the cloud that I bring into New York City. The thing is lack. Lack of money, lack of time, lack of knowledge that could have prevented the former two.
Will hosted a potluck last night, curiously packed with left coast transplants. One of the girls has been here only a few weeks, from Seattle. She has stars in her eyes; but then she also has tortoiseshell frames, so maybe she doesn’t have such an insistently romantic perspective, and is therefore less inclined to be resentful when (if) her life here doesn’t have the triumphant arc of a 1940s movie musical. She was saying that she’s received all kinds of great invitations from wonderful people to hang out, since being here; “in Seattle, it would have been months before that happened,” she said. And everyone agreed with her how friendly and warm and inviting New Yorkers are, by comparison with anywhere else in the world.
May I be forgiven–I contradicted her.
“It’s interesting to hear you say that, because my experience here was exactly like what you say Seattle is like.”
Ohhhh… A partial hush descends. I surrender to the inertia of my tongue–my next words almost sound iambic, as they grow heavier and drop in frequency.
“But maybe that’s just what tells you that you’re not where you’re supposed to be. This wasn’t the right place for me, at that time. But for you–you know you’re in the right place, now.”
While still in Walden, I told Jeff about my reluctance to come back here. I left New York City not disillusioned–because everywhere there are people living the illusion here–but disgusted that I hadn’t been chosen as one of them.
I associate this place with my own failure.
“But I just thought it was something it wasn’t,” I said. “And now that I know, well…fuck them.”
“Yeah, fuck them,” said Jeff.
I’m going to meet Grace in an hour’s time, in Washington Square Park. Haven’t decided whether to take the train or just walk for 90 minutes (one way). Money or time, money or time.
Regardless, I’m thinking about just not dressing at all, while I’m here. As in wandering around the poshest of hoods in my hoodie and yoga pants, like I’m living on the beach in Encinitas. To live this weekend as if I just don’t give a fuck what New York City thinks…
And see what they do…
What can they do?…
I don’t live here anymore.
There is street cleaning scheduled at 11.30am; God help me remember to move the General.