...So, I had this experience, making a Babycakes run before the REStart show last Saturday, which apparently is commonly shared schema for New York amongst most people who've lived here for any extended period of time:
In the cold, blustery, where-the-fuck-is-the-wicked-fucking-witch torrential downpour of rain that is, apparently, the ONLY setting New York has for liquid precipitation (like, what, there's no gentle summer rain here, is there? Oh, right, that's called a "southern rain" for a reason...), as I (kinda grossly, considering the weather) happily jaunted along my way in the nasty, nasty weather, anxious for my Babycakes fix and to be the vessel which provided it for others, my umbrella, apparently deciding that it did not, in fact, want to do the one fucking function it was created for, flipped inside out.
At that moment, I knew not only how Joan of Arc felt but also what it must have been like to find out and actually care that Milli Vanilli were fake-everything true and dear about the way the world operates, good and bad, right and wrong, soycheese and all, had been, literally, turned inside out.
Oh god, bad pun. Ready for another?
Blame it on the rain.
Told you. Anyway, so...
So after talking to Suzan and Choyce, my Resonator Mag co-conspirators and, more importantly, people who do this New York shit every day and have been doing so for a while, I discovered that this whole "umbrella making itself stupid and useless" thing happens pretty regularly, and is, in fact, a major deterrent from spending, say, $55 on a Madonna 2008 Tour Umbrella (not that I would, mind you, but I know a guy).
This, to me, was just one more unexpected twist in a script that I'm sure is being shopped around, tagged "southern boy who isn't really all that southern, or doesn't think he is, moved to the big city and says stuff like 'this sure is pretty' and 'all the flashy lights' and 'do y'all have Firefly Sweet Tea vodka' and 'what do you mean the Yeah Yeah Yeahs show is sold out?', and everyone laughs". Maybe I'm old-fashioned, maybe I'm just a good ol' boy at heart who on a daily basis misses cornbread and laughs at Larry The Cable Guy jokes (I am particularly fond of the one where he objectifies women and insinuates that all blue-collar southern workers are beer-swilling wife-beating belching trailer trash,that one's really hilarious), but where I come from umbrellas do one damn thing and they do it well.
Umbrellas as disposable product, like toilet paper, tampons or books (oh, sorry, too soon? Too soon)? That's not something I can fully support. Also, it kinda freaks me out to think that something that I only used once or twice in my life in Atlanta (seriously, I'm not a fan of sunglasses or umbrellas, though god that Rihanna song kinda haunts this entire post so far, hm?) is now constantly on my mind in New York:
"Should I take my umbrella? Will I leave my umbrella? Did I lose my umbrella? Is that bar playing 'Umbrella?'"
(ok, there's your one reference to it. Sorry, had to.)
Finally, though, Suzan made a comment that resonated (get it, Resonator Mag, resonated, ha ha it's funny ok I give up):
"Living in New York is so awesome", she said, "that God has to punish the people who live here daily." I think she then compared umbrellas turning inside-out to the MTA.
Despite the layer of snarkcasm frosting the comment, it really, really struck me how damn lucky I am to be living in New York. It's something that just, I guess, kind of gets glossed over when I complain about stuff like cafes not having wi-fi. Like, I wrote about that as opposed to writing about how, say, I got to meet Maud effing Newton.
And I guess...I guess I wanted to put something down about the positives. It all kind of hit me last night, when I made my first trek to Bergen St Comics, a place I plan on frequenting often. It's been far too long since I've had a real comic shop or the impetus to actually completely geek out inside one, and Bergen St kinda unleashed that, to the point where I actually got down on my hands and knees to flip through the collected set of Alan Moore's run on Wildcats.
I'll shut up with the geekdom, sorry.
The point, though, is when I was introduced to one of the owners (courtesy of Bookavore, who happens to be manager at what's quickly become another favorite place of mine, Greenpoint bookstore Word)as a new NYC transplant, she casually brought up the New York Magazine "Arrivals" article that I (to a middling extent) was a part of. When I mentioned that, the conversation reached the inevitable point of the question "so, how's New York treating you so far?"
When I gave my honest answer of "well, other than trying to find a full-time job, it's gorgeous and glorious and hard and frustrating and I love every second of it", I realized, right then, that the truth that I'm living doesn't always necessarily come out in this blog. That, like, yeah, I'm cobbling myself together on freelance work and staying with friends. That, yes, I'm seeking a full-time job like whoever it was in that Madonna movie was seeking Susan (I dunno, never seen it).
But by the same token, I've made friends and have seen things and have done things and am in the process of doing things, living things, that I never, ever, ever thought possible. And maybe it's the fact that it's the third consecutive gorgeous day in a row in New York. Maybe it's the fact that my coffee this morning was really good. Maybe it's the fact that I just listened to that one Coldplay song. You know, that one. YES, that one. But, right now, right at this very moment, yeah-New York is cruel and heartless and mean and absolutely lovely and I know I will at some point call this statement right now premature but I will then go back later and say no it wasn't and I'll probably vacillate on it for the rest of my life but at my center will know I mean this, this right now:
I am kinda falling in love with New York. Little by little. And sometimes, the fact that I've had a job of some sort pretty much since I was 15, constantly basing my worth and my sense of purpose, happiness and well-being around that and nothing else but that, clouds my ability to seriously sit down and say things like "this, right now, is fucking amazing" or "last night, just being out with people I can talk to about how the way to save publishing is through _____ (it changes nightly)" or "oh my hellish damn god that is Lemony Snicket". The flurry, the exchange of ideas and the pace and the constant motion and and and and I think this is what, when I was in high school, I'd always hoped college would be (it wasn't). And yes, it's harsh and cruel but damn it if I don't think it is, and shall continue to be, worth it. And it's funny how one revelatory moment in an awesome comic shop made me realize that yes, indeed, I am falling for New York. Hard.
I mean, I see that sign pretty much every day. How could I not be falling for NY? Panini time? Yes PLS.
When I lost my job at Wordsmiths and people heard I was moving to New York to find work, I bristled at the number of times the word "congratulations" came up-as though everyone was seemingly unaware that, in what was my ideal world, I wouldn't, in fact, be moving. That there was absolutely nothing to congratulate me on. I saw myself as an unemployed loser sleeping on a couch and hoping to make something of himself in a city that eats people daily.
Maybe, just maybe, I'm starting to get it now.
Henceforth, when I lose my shit, when I become emotionally unhinged at the seams and begin taking serious hacks into my own self-worth, be it over looking for or having or not having or wanting or needing whatever, I will make my new mantra "panini time", and hope it reminds me of this, right here and right now.