Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dukes up

I have not been entirely forthright with you on my New York experience. I guess I like to think in grand terms all the time, so if circumstances and experiences are less than grand I may go on a miniature detour shedding a glimmer of light on the bumps ahead on my path, but then I steer you right back to the straight and narrow making New York seem very glam and fab, fab, fabulous.

New York City is phenomenal of course, but not for nothing. It is by and large, a brutal beast who is doing her best to decimate me. Unlucky for New York--fickle temptress that she is--I am not to be underestimated. I don't give up so easily. But here's the truth pals:

Remember that perfect, huge brownstone I said I signed the lease on awhile back? Well that was true. I did sign the lease, but oh about three days before move-in they pulled the plug as my financials weren't quite up to par for this city. Word to the wise, New York doesn't just want thousands of dollars put down for security deposit and first months rent, but then there's that tricky business of a broker. Before when I used to get stressed in college coming up with $800 for a new apartment, I thought I had it bad, working at a sandwich shop and cashiering at a craft store. Nope, try coming up with about $5,000 and a co-signer and probably a sugar daddy for good measure all while having two jobs and considering two more while contemplating selling off some of your wardrobe and book collection.

Was I homeless and living on subway cars all these months? Of course not, I am one blessed individual and I have had a bit of a Fairy Godmother type situation, but alas, even Cinderella had a time limit with her mice turned chauffeurs and had to return to scrubbing floors. So while I have enjoyed my time at the ball, or rather my time in the lush neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights with a rooftop garden and a view of the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn Bridge, the time has come, the wise walrus did say.

This girl is going to have to get ugly. My standards have officially lowered a great deal. Forget dreams of Kirst and I having our own bedrooms and a place all our own--home sweet home--in a quaint Brooklyn neighborhood with a charming name like Red Hook, or Carroll Gardens. Nope, I have started looking on the outskirts, the rundown areas, the places that sound like garbage pails and not places on a Monopoly board, offering bedrooms described as itsy-bitsy and insisting that you be 420 friendly for your new skateboarder roommate.

I happily reply, that yes I am interested and my sister and I will share a room overlooking a rat-infested alley! Can we move in by October 1st? After spending the majority of my yesterday having meltdowns envisioning myself on a cot at the local YMCA, I have fully embraced this new struggle as a charming chapter in my book of life.

This is nothing but another adventure for me and quite frankly, even though I like to throw up a lot of fuss about how many struggles it takes to make it here, I have realized I never expected easy and not many people get the opportunity to do things my way, which of course is off-road it as often as possible. Who the hell likes the straight and narrow anyway?

Not this girl, adventure is my middle name and the prospect of living with someone who says they are into rooftop yoga and play the guitar tickles my fancy right fierce. Why did I ever want a huge brownstone in Park Slope anyway? How overrated, how very un-starving artist of me.
I have a worn-out laptop for writing, my beaut of a camera for photo opps, my poetry books, my very own guitar, and my sister. Fuck brownstones. Fuck expectations.

I am not going anywhere New York, even if you do continually sucker punch me in the jugular. I will one up you, because guess what? I will sleep on a cot in the YMCA before buying a one way ticket home.

Yep, dukes are up, baby.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

how normal

Oh New York.

New York.
New York.
New York.

What you do to me? This city is most definitely a relationship and a tumultuous one at that. And were it a man, I don't know if I'd put up with the abuse even if when it's good it's oh so good. But when it's bad, the tears and angst almost don't seem worth it. Almost. Until days like Monday. Ah Monday, who ever dreamed a Monday could be so blissful.

I was strolling through Brooklyn around mid-day, let's say high noon for affect, to return some books to the library and I see this family who looked like they just dropped in from a ball in Russia. I mean, the puff and splash of the vibrantly colored dresses, the suits, it wasn't even just show-stopping New York, it was show-stopping otherworldly. And the thing is, it seemed perfectly normal on a sunny Brooklyn street, near a fountain in the middle of an afternoon on a Monday. I couldn't help but ponder what on earth they were doing and where they were either coming from or going to, but other than that it was a couple appreciative glances from me and I was back on my way to the library.

Later as I rode the subway for an hour, making my way up to Astoria to meet with a very posh songwriter for my next Music Monday installment (look for it, gonna be good pals) at a very posh coffee shop, I people watched on the subway. An older gentleman sat next to me with a baby. The lil boy, a very happy tot, kept reaching his hands up for the subway handrail above his head and so, dad or what I soon ascertained to be grandpa as dad came over, let him up to swing on the bar like a wee acrobat, while holding his stomach. The child was obviously delighted with this and every time he was brought back down to grandpa's lap reached his hands back up to swing on the bar. I was as amused watching this as the baby was swinging back and forth. Then baby got transferred to dad's lap, which was closer to me and started looking for something new to entertain himself when he spotted me.
I of course beamed, as I love kids and he was a cutey this one. He gave me a large grin and then decided to show me a trick I gathered he had just learned. He slowly blinked, precisely and methodically as someone who has just learned to use their eyelids and wants to show you with great affect what a phenomenon it is. So he sat there slowly closing his eyelids, then springing them open with delight grinning largely, like do you see what I am capable of Ms? I couldn't help laughter. And the more I laughed, the more he laughed and then repeated the trick.
I find it so intriguing children riding the subway, just accepting this mode of travel as complete normalcy, swinging from subway rails, while I sat strapped into my carseat staring out a car window at that age, no acrobatics for me. Not only this, but I have to say, I see a lot of unusual business on a subway and like most New Yorkers, I have now gotten used to electric guitarists, singing trios, beggars, people dressed like Lady Gaga sitting across from me and hardly bat an eyelash anymore, but something about this laughing child continually doing his blinking trick waiting to get an enthusiastic response from me, delighted me more than anything else thus far on any subway ride. It was the best hour of public transportation I would say to date. Thanks kid.

Then as I sat avidly listening to my next musician wax poetic on life, lyrics, and writing I was positively wooed with this city, its people, places, faces, finds, coffee, energy... I felt utterly bowled over.

After the interview I wove down Broadway to meet up with a friend and stared at the twinkle lights in the trees, and it fit. Everything fit in a way that was as magical as seeing sparkling lights moving in the wind months before Christmas.
I had a pumpkin beer to celebrate the crisp sharpness of the air and the goosebumps dancing up my arm as we sat in the restaurant that opened to the outdoor patio.

My friend walked me to my train stop and waited on the platform with me, like a true gent and on the less exciting ride back, no bouncing baby entertainment, I still couldn't dismiss the pure poetry of a day of what felt like the abnormal, but for New York was perfectly in accordance with everyday life.

If this is everyday life: people dressed for the stage at all times of day, babies swinging on subway rails, coffee with songwriters, and drinks overlooking twinkly city lights, well, count me in. I am very keen on the new norm.