Tuesday, May 08, 2007

These little-town blues / Are meltin' away

Reader Melanie, of the veddy interesting family/food/soap pr0n blog Mallowdrama, responding to yesterday’s post, said her young daughter is fascinated by New York City as well, and wondered when the thrill wore off for me. I started to answer in the comments, but as my screed went longer and longer, I thought it might work better out here, in the fresh air, for all …

I understand where your daughter's coming from, Melanie -- I had a Thing about New York from early childhood on. Maybe it was how much I read (so many of the great children's books are set there), maybe it was my fixation on ballet (specifically, becoming
prima ballerina for the New York City Ballet), definitely it was cemented by the trip my mom and dad took me on when I was nine (a flush year for my dad's writing, I guess), but that soul-deep love of the city took hold early and strong, and is still with me. I miss the hell out of that place, even though when I left, I was ready to leave -- I always thought I'd move back, but you never know what the future holds, do you?

My mom felt the way you seem to about it, btw -- not thrilled with the thousands of miles between NYC and Cowburg, Texass, to say the least. I hated that part too, but -- I was drawn there. Columbia was my first choice, and once I got accepted, there was no question as to whether I'd go (yay, need-blind financial aid!).

The thrill never left me, as you can tell, but four years of living on a stoodent budget (w/o a dime of help from home), the prospect of sharing a 2BR apartment with like four other new grads for $800/mo. each (1996 prices), scrabbling against other Ivy B.A.s for an entry-level publishing job (at a sweet $18K/yr) -- it all wore me down and I bailed for Texass, which turned out to be a 20-month sprint through grad school and then a no-looking-back ass-haul with Mr. Gleemonex to San Francisco even before the ink was dry on my M.A.

In nine years out here on the left coast, I’ve become for all intents and purposes a Californian. So many things feel so right about this place, and at this point it’s very difficult to imagine leaving, but San Francisco just seems like a toy city by comparison, and I still feel like a New Yorker at heart — I live and die by the Yankees’ fortunes (or misfortunes), my sacred Sunday ritual is coffee and the New York Times, we got Sirius satellite radio specifically because we couldn’t stand to lose our daily dose of Howard Stern, NYC bloggers (probably half of my daily rounds) feed me but also cause me heartache and jealousy sometimes, and of course in this land of hippy-dippy passive-aggression choked with starchildren and other entitled but ignorant and underexperienced a-holes, Mr. Gleemonex (a native New Yorker) and I are two of the most curmudgeonly, sarcastic and caustic people I know (but with HEARTS OF GOLD, I tell you! Hearts of gold). Heh.

So — it’s complicated. And now I’m sort of afraid that if I were ever to move back, it wouldn’t be the New York I remember, and I wonder if it’s better just to visit, and keep “my” New York the way it was …



Blogger Melanie said...

gosh, how the heck did i miss this? i mean, i come by here just about daily. i must have been nuts that week. thanks so much for answering, it's interesting how the place sort of crawled into you and became a part of your personal culture. i have a feeling Lorelei will fling herself headfirst into All Things Nuyorker at the first opportunity. It could be worse. Mostly I just worry that people will be mean to her. but i'm her mom, so duh.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

All in good time ... ;-)

Nobody will be mean to her. Nobody has time for that -- which is part of the beauty of the place. New York loves people who love it back.

10:15 AM  

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