Leaving New York, never easy
I’ve been missing NYC a lot recently. It’s not quite a feeling of homesickness. It’s way more complex than that. I miss home (I’m now calling New York my home because a wise gentleman told me that I should never tell people that I’m from New Jersey. He only walked away with his face intact because he was also from New
What I’m experiencing is a power struggle between feelings of rage and the sweet comfort that only comes from memories of home. Or maybe they aren’t struggling, maybe they’re making love. Maybe they’re unified, like yin and yang. I don’t really understand how emotions work- I don’t program artificial intelligence for a living.
Maybe this doesn’t make any sense. I’ve had a lot of coffee today, so my brain is moving faster than life. As is my heartbeat. What I mean is: when I get pissed off, it’s immediately accompanied by a wave of nostalgia for the East Coast.
Anger and hostility remind me of home, and therefore lead to warm fuzzies in my heart.
Well, my lovely roommate from Brooklyn shared this amazing essay on Facebook today, and I think the writer really nailed it.
“New York will kick you in the hole, but it will never stab you in the back. It will, however, stab you multiple times right in your face.”
I love it. That’s totally it. At least New York has the dignity to stab you right in the face. As far as I can tell, the Northwest would never, ever stab me in the face. It would only roll its eyes, feign a smile that’s not foolin nobody and then speak to me with the kind of condescending tone that incites my East Coast fury. But that’s about as in-your-face as they get, and it doesn’t make any sense to me.
I really do miss a lot of things about New York. Speedy service in restaurants, cafés and bars being paramount among these things. When I walk into a café, it’s usually because I’m hungry and/or under-caffeinated, (neither of which are very flattering on me) not because I want to make friends with the shiny happy people behind the counter, so stop fucking smiling and go make my coffee before I jump back there and show you how it should be done! WTF are you smiling about, anyway?! Gah!
Shit like this makes my Jersey flare up right quick.
The difference in bartenders is the most extreme. I am so thoroughly spoiled by NYC bartenders. They’re all obviously superhumans.
There’s hardly any traffic here, either. There aren’t enough people to really create traffic. So I miss road rage, too. Don’t ask me why. I don’t_know.
I miss having New Jersey plates on my car, because at least then people knew to stay the fuck out of my way. I once shouted “Jersey comin thru!” out my window while driving through Seattle. I did not honk, however. They don’t do that here.
The only people I’ve been able to “date” out here are *surprise* also from New Jersey, or at least close enough to it to relate. We bond over deep, meaningful conversations about pizza and bagels. Subs vs hoagies is a major battle.
I don’t think west coast people could handle me. Where I come from, people will shove you aside to get where they’re going. It’s a very “me-first, I don’t care who you are, don’t make eye contact, cut people off” kind of world. People treat you like total shit until you earn their friendship, and once that bond is formed, they will suddenly die for you. They will beat someone up for taking your bar stool, call out of work to cheer you up when your heart gets broken, spend their last dollar on food for you when you’re hungry and bare their souls to you. You’re as good as family, then.
West coast people think I’m rude because I’m blunt and speak my mind. I think they’re passive-aggressive and mostly full of baloney.
I’m pretty sure people I meet out here think I’m a snob because I’m proud of where I’m from. Why wouldn’t I be? New York is the greatest city in the entire world! On a regular old weekday, you can get a free vibrator from a Trojan hot-dog cart and then have your torso and 30% of your face published in The Huffington Post.You can get any kind of food you could possibly imagine at any hour of the day- and usually you can get it delivered to your door for free if you spend more than $7 (I really want that Mexican-Chinese food right now). There’s always live music happening somewhere. The city NEVER SLEEPS! You can walk or ride your bike anywhere. You can get a complimentary styrofoam cup of rum with your complimentary head shave! You can ride a giant spider and touch a space ship in the same day!
But as much as I adore the city, I couldn’t handle it. New York City chewed me up and spat me out, but that doesn’t mean I won’t go back. I just wasn’t ready. One day… one day I’ll be somebody. I just hope that all this sunshine and smiles and open, beautiful space don’t soften me too much.
I was born a New Yorker and I WILL DIE A NEW YORKER! That’s just what I’m made of. It’s in my DNA.
Everybody loves New York City! ;)
Freelance writer. Trail runner. Relentless savage.