Back in New York now; a lengthy layover between the wedding madness in Guatemala and my graduation from Trinity in Dublin. A layover because both far-flung events took space in a short time frame and the trip to Guatemala is, in essence, my trip to the West for the year so why not make the most of it? It’s New York in the early throes of spring time; pink blossoms sprouting up all over the city in intermittent bursts. Gorgeous day outside, the old familiar smells and sounds. But I find myself pensive between lunch and dinner dates; crankier than perhaps I could be. And that’s because, for as much as I love this city, the longer I stay away, the more I come to hate being back home sometimes. And I love this city. And I love my friends. But sometimes… well….
Why I (sort of) hate being back home in New York:
- Tipping. Oh Jesus Christ, is tipping ever a pain in the neck. Attention, slum lord restaurant managers of the U.S.: it is not my job to pay your staff.
- The MTA. The delays. The shoving. The cartoon cloud of germs hovering in the air. I once tried to calculate how many minutes of my life I’d wasted waiting for the goddamn train but that required fancy math so I stopped.
- Running into people I know. Ugh, god.
- The horns, the smog, the shoving. Bleh.
- Familiarity. Feels like I never left; like the past four years never happened. Creeps me out.
- Pressure to come back. For the most part, my close friends have stopped asking When are you coming back for good? but the question still pops up. Perhaps I’m too sensitive, but I can’t help but take the question – when asked by people who don’t actually want me around – as a bit of an affront. Oh, I’m sorry. Is my choice to live in a foreign country not “real” enough for you? I suppose working 9-6 in an office and spending half of my earnings for rent is the only way to live; I suppose by living in a different country I’m just cocking around. The truth is, the more time that passes, the less I feel pulled home, the less I feel the need to live that way again. And you know what? I don’t see what’s so fucking wrong with that.
Okay. Enough grousing. Why I love love love being back home in New York:
- Nice place to visit. I once thought that people who said New York City is a nice place to visit but I could never live there were weak, Darwinian anomalies in the herd who cried out to be eliminated. But the truth is, living here is rough; something I didn’t appreciate until I moved away. And visiting here – without work stress or commute stress or daily living stress or rent stress or even much financial stress, as my friends often take me out – is like a New York wet dream come true. You know. New York like it is in the movies. And I like it. I like it a lot.
- Familiar places and faces. Miss you, boos.
- Have a nice day! Because that’s what you say when ending an interaction. It’s manners. It’s polite. It’s nice.
- Yiddish. God, I miss Yiddish. Hearing it gets me all verklempt.
- Running into people I know. Hooray!
- Eating my face off. But you suspected this already. Went to a restaurant called Salt & Fat the other night; thought I’d plotz. Belated birthday dinner at Sushi Seki last night; so delicious and authentic I almost cried into my ocha.
- The horns, the smog, the shoving. Mama’s home, fuckers.
- Marie’s Crisis. How I miss my gays.
- Gray’s Papaya. Italy? Now this is a hot dog.
- C.O. Bigelow. Shhhhh; it’s like heaven.
- Knowing where I am and what to do at all times. I mean all times. Because being home is like falling back in step with a line dance. You know where to pull. You know where to dip. Even if you don’t know your partner. Even if you don’t like to dance.