The joy of sleeping in my own bed again. Six-months on the road is long. To shower in a bathroom where the shower is separate from the toilet holds unparalleled joy. A bathtub. Even if I don’t actually take a bath, it’s nice to know it’s an option. The sound of traffic from Broadway leaks through the windows welcoming me home.
Home. Hello. It’s been a long while. Did you miss me? Were you always this lovely in the afternoon sun?
On the second night, I woke up just before dawn and my first thought was, “This isn’t enough. NYC is not enough.” The unquenchable lust behind that thought scared me.
Over-scheduled is a common malaise us New Yorkers suffers. Before I left Hanoi, I made a list. A list numerating all the different aspects of the simple pared downed exile in Hanoi. What made it so successful and why I was so productive. I hope the bullet pointed list will help me translate what worked there, to here. There is no reason why I can’t do same in New York right? I am not a dandelion floating about. I am the captain of the ship…right? Like all good intentions, the wheel comes off the wagon all too soon. Twelve chapters a week are reduced to a dribble of maybe three, and three lousy ones at that. Having an evening alone is rare but saying no to friends and work contacts after a six-month absence seems both cruel and counter-productive to career goals. The seduction of New York City is the opportunity and access it provides; to maximize both, you must leave the house.
Suddenly, there is not enough time and I am running but barely keeping up. The days are spent in answering emails and the nights are filled with drinks and dinner. The frantic pace of the city seeps in, through the walls and the cracks in the window, “go go go” is the mantra and it is imbedded in the air and the water. What’s worst is succumbing to online dating in less than 2 days of returning home. Maybe because this is home and you come home to someone.
In the first two weeks, I went out on four first dates and wrote six anemic chapters.
You must know of the illusive trifecta that is part of New York City legend by now. Everyone is in search of a good job, good apartment and a good partner and finding all three in the city is nearly impossible. Having all three is illusive dream all us strive for and all those who live elsewhere believe we have —- they saw it on TV. The city makes you strive; she makes you want it all, now, and she assures you there is nothing wrong with what you desire. A fellow traveler once asked why do New Yorkers declare their citizenship with so much pride? Because the city is the most demanding mistress I’ve ever served, surviving her and thriving is not easy. It’s an honor to call her home, but I often feel like a battered wife needing to dial 911.
Nothing makes the sense of loneliness more acute than dating. Most dates are just okay; there are the occasional good ones and the OMG horrifying ones, but most of the time, most dates are just okay, nothing to write home about. Not every meal needs to be worthy of a Michelin Star but you should never have to compromise on the arms, lips and eyes of that someone. Never. Just okay dates with men who are not him kills your insides. A part of life that goes on unnoticed while you are on the road suddenly becomes a problem that needs to be solved; right now, the minute you are wheels down at JFK. A demanding mistress I tell you.
It’s not just the guy, the schedule or the pace of life here, these are symptoms to a much larger demon…that box of should(s) eagerly waiting for my return.
A few more days
A final Hi meeting
The local neighborhood bar has a quiet time between six and nine. It is a place that specializes in coffee, beer and seasonal menus. There is just enough of each for a satisfying snack and effective buzz. After the time when the laptop lids close and before the social gatherings start -- there is a sort of twilight*. Often this time is a fugitive ground rife with creative inspiration and meditative work -- of the kind that results in personal reward.*twilight may refer to civil, nautical or astronomical variety depending on your social or terrestrial condition
A man positions his mouse on the edge of his browser window. He clicks, holds and drags the viewport first left then right. The content of a video game promo micro site responds and adapts to the available space. To the man, this is more delightful than the game itself.
A man laboriously moves his piano down three levels onto the subway platform. Classic vocals and strided chords -- he played so well I swore he was blind. Oblivious to the heat on that August stage, he was most in touch with his audience -- whom he elevated with his music.
A woman should do exactly as she pleases no matter what a man may think.
As the Dalai Lama once said, "It is a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room."
"No one understands me," she said. Her grandmother was silent for a minute. It seemed she was searching for an answer in the star speckled sky. "But no one understands anyone in this world, darling. We are all unique. It is what gives us a sense of wonder."