Turn and face the strange
Not long after I moved to New York, almost seven years ago, someone passed along this wisdom: "You don't decide when you're done with New York; New York decides when it's done with you."
At the time this seemed awfully grim, although little did innocent young me know how much New York City was about to kick my ass. But it was the kind of ass-kicking that makes you stronger, like when Mr. Miyagi is being such a hardass to Daniel-san. And as much as that saying above sounds like it's describing an abusive relationship, I think I'm OK with it.
All my significant dating happened here. My most traumatic experiences happened while I've lived here. I've been surrounded by some of the funniest friends ever. My career started to happen here. And I must have been born a writer, but I think I really came into it here.
But now, all around I see signs that if New York is not done with me for good, then at least it's saying I'm ready to see other places. The special Cheap Issue of Time Out New York just seemed like it was announcing, "look at what your pathetic existence will be if you keep living here." More scrimping, more dollar stores, and for what? I'm tired of having mostly secondhand clothes supplemented by the occasional H&M and hobag-store flimsy pieces. All thrift-store fashion, all the time is not as cute at age 33 as it was at 23. I recently stumbled on the new location of my favorite East Village morbid curiosity shoppe, Obscura--and somehow, the new version of the shop was too bright, too open, not as darkly creaky-floored attic-like and fascinating as it used to be. I ate so many times at the Burritoville near my work, which was once a favorite, that now I'm sickened by almost everything there. And looky here, it's another non-memorable edition of the Onion. Eh!
And then there's Kate's...And then there's Kate's. Kate's Joint, the famous vegetarian comfort-food greasy spoon in the East Village, has dominated my palate's desires since about 1999. Once I ate there three times in one day, and then was so disgusted with myself that I had to swear off their famous deep-fried tofu buffalo wings for a month. That is, Kate's ruled my world until last year, when it began fading, taking a sharp dive by the final quarter of 2006. It's just...not that good anymore. It's gross, in fact. I could only eat two of the buff wings the last time I reluctantly got them. I don't know if Kate's changed their cook or my tastes changed, or both. But those buff wings were the one thing I thought I'd have to import if I ever didn't live in NYC. Not so!
When I first moved to New York, I was dismayed to discover what a loser I was. I didn't have cool clothes or a cool haircut, as became painfully apparent the first big hipstery
Now I have a more confident sense of self, I know tons of people, know where all the restauraunts/venues/bars etc that I care about are. And it's time to go.
Despite my love/hate relationship with NYC, I've long felt that it has ruined me for living in other cities, at least ones that might be trying to compete. Baton Rouge seems like it's not even trying to be a city, more like condensed suburbs clustered around a University. So we'll go there, get done what needs to be done, and return to New York (probably, or somewhere desirable) better prepared to live the kind of fancier lifestyle to which we will grow accustomed. That's the plan.