26 June 2007

Left Alone Long Enough and I Might Actually Write That Book

After previous trips to visit Kim in DC, I often found myself writing blog articles with a similar theme: West Coast girl meets new/slightly bizarre culture on the East Coast. Of course, I would lovingly make fun of their obsession with flip cup, conservative dress and political schmoozing and then I would happily return to the Bay Area, and life in flip flops and jeans. So when I suddenly decided to move to New York, I knew I didn't want to immediately write about my experiences. While there have already been plenty of "West meets East" misadventures to fill this blog, I wanted to be able to give you a true sense of my life here rather than a play by play of my encounters with rats, celebrity sightings, the subway, critter embroidered shorts and tourists.

In the bay area my weekends were often scheduled to the brim, and if they weren't, I had seven roommates, a car and hundreds of books - enough to keep a girl occupied. My first weekend here was Memorial Day and I literally had no plans. Everyone I already knew was out of town and I was left to explore the city with the tourists. So on Saturday, I just started walking. From my apartment in the East Village I headed West and then up Fifth Avenue. I made some obligatory stops at Anthropologie and H&M and then continued north. After the most overwhelming walk through Time Square, I arrived at Central Park about five hours later. Especially in the beginning, I hardly felt alone - caught up in the excitement/newness of it all.

But also, this town just fits me right. Maybe it is my obsession with jewish intellectuals and literary culture - but the history of this place overwhelms me. Where my place is here - how I can add to this rich history - so far the answer to that question is very unclear. All I know is that I turn a corner and am drawn to a new path. For example...

1. I met up with some friends freelancing for magazines and I wanted a part time job copy editing.
2. I saw Frost/Nixon the other night and wanted to get a side job doing stage production work.
3. I saw Lion King with Marie this past weekend, and desperately wanted to play clarinet in an off-off-broadway pit.
4. I saw Eddie Murphy filming a movie in Time Square yesterday and wanted to become a PA on a movie set.
5. I walk around aimlessly or drift off into space at work and I think about the popular intellectual and cultural history book I am going to write that finally sheds light on the cultural and intellectual state of my generation - kind of a call to arms to reinvigorate public culture, pragmatism and the importance of learning from past generations.

I am the picture of indecision - I am the poster child for the "what are you going to do with that liberal arts degree (in my case degrees)?" question. And that the opportunities are now literally endless doesn't seem to help me find my calling any sooner.

Marie left this morning - leaving me to reluctantly return to work (and my diet of cereal and yogurt as opposed to yummy meals out). I think having Marie visit made me finally realize that I live here - or maybe it was that my 30-day subway pass ran out which led to the subsequent realization that I had been here for 30 days! But having a buddy to pal around town with was great, and now that she has gone, it is only the second time I have felt a large void here. The first time happened a few weeks ago when Nicki returned from Europe and then I remembered I wouldn't see her upon her return - or celebrate her birthday with her. But this time, with Marie gone, I truly understand what I want to find here but do not already have. All the cultural events and tasty restaurants cannot make up for the family I left behind out west - the one in Redding and the one in Berkeley. Social opportunities are endless here too, but the comfort of home - of time-tested confidantes, people who understand my oddities so well they don't even notice them anymore - it will be a long time before I find that here.

I love New York - but I miss you!