Oh, New York – I miss your heat and your humidity, your snowstorms and sub-degree temps. I miss rainfall and clouds, grass that really grows from the ground, not installed like living carpet on the dry and barren patch of front lawn, sucking up water from sprinklers that shouldn’t be on because of the drought, creating a modern day dust bowl.
I miss Riverside Park and Union Square. University Place and Bleecker. The City Bakery. ABC Home. Chelsea Market. UCBNY on 26th and 8th. Broadway.
I miss your weird smells and pungent odors. You pace, your energy.
I miss my trigger fast pace of filling my Metrocard with money as I hear the train roar into the station, and swipe it at the turnstile, just crossing over to make it through the closing door before the “ding dong”.
LA – nice try on public transport, but your buses need bus lanes. Your drivers need to know the right of way and that the stick attached to their steering wheel is a directional, telling the drivers yonder if they’re making a left of a right. Oh, and how they love to speed up alongside you to pass you. Ah, the competition, the lack of consideration, getting ahead and not letting others know where you’re going. Driving here is like a casting call. Bless the kind drivers who do exist. And they do.
Five years ago, when NYC burned me out and I set my radar for LA, I used to constantly quote James Murphy, who sang, “New York I love you, but you’re bringing me Down”.
It’s now the other way around.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to be in LA. I love my pretty apartment and my nice car, my peace and quiet, my lovely red headed hound dog.
LA’s skies are always deep blue, turning into dark dreamy skies at night. Skies where Venus shines so bright next to Jupiter I thought it was a man-made satellite until I Googled, “What is the brightest star on the western horizon?”
I open my blinds at night to gaze at that sky where “stars hang like grapes”, as the great Woody Guthrie once wrote in “California Skies”. Woody – he wasn’t fooling.
My LA life is blessed with wonderful friends I’ve made for life. Neighbors who’ve brought me joy, and taught me lessons about adversity and happiness.
Five years of no winter provided a perfect respite from 46 years of frozen fingers, icy slush, shoveling, sweating, bad hair and deeply depressing late winter low light.
Yet, I miss the gorgeous feeling of winter turning to spring and then summer and then fall. When you handle such contrasts – you’re more grateful and more in the moment when a crocus comes fighting through the thawing earth.
While I’ve been gone, the new World Trade Center was built. As a very young child, I saw the old one go up and in adulthood, saw them come crashing down on a Diamondvision board in Times Square, as I was running home that horrible day.
While I’ve been gone, Hurricane Sandy roared through, destroying my home town and bringing folks together in ways not seen by outsiders of this city.
I think of California in song. Jackson Browne, Joni MitchelI singing about California and their lives defined by the landscape, the mythology of this western plane. I may have driven through Laurel Canyon many times, and rolled down the Sunset Strip – but I never really drove up the 101 without someone else at the wheel.
I never really called the road my own.
California, I’ll never “kiss a Sunset pig” and it’s okay if you don’t “take me as I am”.
I am grateful for everything in my life. I live in the moment, never running from the present, always keeping the faith that I’ll be back in New York permanently at the right time in the right way with grace and purpose.
I love you LA, and will one day be a visitor again, but at least I’ll be able to go back home to New York – where I can watch my beloved NY Mets lose on east coast time.
New York, you are a wicked little town. I’ve used two wishes like a fool, and I’m going to be very careful how I use the third.