It's 1:11 in the morning. I'm just settling into bed after a full day of life and celebrating the birthday of my favorite man. I'm putzing around on facebook, reading some blogs, doing some work, when I hear a scratching type noise. And I freeze. Heart racing, I debate in my mind whether I should look or not look toward where the noise sounds like it's coming from. I decide to not look. My legs are so tense, my heart races even faster, as I try to determine if it sounds like something big and terrifying or tiny and terrifying and I start to debate about which is worse. I pick up my phone but, well, like I said, it's a bit past one in the morning. Who do I call? My mom is asleep for sure, and it would only upset her. That previously mentioned favorite man is totally birthday-ed out and fast asleep, a few blocks away. My roommate is asleep, and my other roommate, the one who would definitely be awake at this hour, is out of town.
The noise is back, louder now, even scarier, except now I'm wondering if it's just the people above me. I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to place the sound, and am reminded of hearing tests we did each year in elementary school. Did you do that, too? Everyone to the nurses office, one at a time, for sight and sound tests? We had to identify which ear the beep was in, with a range of volume levels. While there's something nice about this memory, I'd happily discard it if it meant not being terrified.
And so mainly because I am now too afraid to A) go to sleep or B) get up and brush my teeth or C) determine if the noise is really coming from in my room, I have taken to my laptop to write.
Thus I present to you Reasons Why I Freaking Hate Living In New York City:
1. Omg all things that crawl. Just tonight, heading home, I walked past a critter that was nearly half the size of my Layla. Just casually chillin on the sidewalk, in a major part of Manhattan. I don't exactly live in the hood, or anything. (And when I say I "walked past", I mean I made a major beeline to my left, nearly taking out two grown men. Move, boys. Mama is not playing when it comes to furry things.)
2. I've been tracking the money I spend each day. I started my month in NJ and every day since then, I spent very little money. $4 here, $15 there. Very little. Today? In ONE day? $126 out the door. We're talking groceries and transportation (and yes, one meal out). Even if you can handle your rent and utilities, just living here takes all the rest of your money plus some you do not have. And then laughs at you.
3. The non-stop comments and harassment. In the short walk home tonight, I had multiple people say things to me, either loudly or under their breath as they pass. I know that I call myself mama but you sir, do not have that right. Nor mami, sexy, honey, cutie, sweet thing, short stuff, or whatever you want to toss my way. Or just the un-namable hissing noise. WHAT is that? You ran out of words? You think I'm maybe attracted to a weird hissing? News flash: ain't nobody attracted to that. While I can ignore the comments, the nasty words or mean sentences are just awful. You can be as tough as nails but you still hear what they say.
4. It's so damn loud. Even now, nearing the middle of the night, an incredibly loud truck just barreled down my street. The honking, shouting, construction, sirens, beeping, booming noises are not necessary and hurt your ears and your future hearing. When my babies are here, I cover their furry little ears while we're out and a really loud thing goes zooming by. When I'm alone, I cover my own. More than this, people have conversations with others or on the phone, so very loudly. I do not need to know those personal details, thanks anyway. Sometimes I want to respond to them.
5. Everything is excusable. You're acting like a jerk? It's okay, you're living in NYC. You're acting entitled? Okie doke, New Yorker. You're obsessed with your career to an unhealthy point? Well great, you're in the best city for it! You can't afford to pay rent but you go out every night? Look at you living your Manhattan life. No. Nuh uh. Living in NYC does not excuse you from being a responsible adult, living a healthy and full life, and treating others with kindness and respect.
And now, because complaining is so not my thing, here are 5 things I really love about living here:
1. Experiences you truly can't have anywhere else. Case in point? I passed New York Fashion Week so many times today that I lost count. I got to watch the runway live on a giant screen. That same screen where I caught Opera a few weeks ago.
2. Finding sacred spaces. That perfect bench in Central Park? The way my fountains make me feel? Running along Riverside? The inside of that museum? The library tucked in the back? A certain coffee shop? They all feel like they were waiting, just for you, and they let you know they'll always be there.
3. Friends everywhere and any time. After having lunch with someone, another person texted me to see where I was, and I realized I was only a couple of blocks from him, so I stopped there to catch up in person. On any given day, if I start to feel lonely, I can meet up with a friend for coffee or a walk or whatever. They are all just a mere train ride or short walk away (that is, until they leave the city for good, which is a constant. Or, you know, go back on tour.).
4. So much theatre. So much art. So many artists. The creating energy is at an all time high.
5. New York City is like someone who practices tough love. You think you can't stand having this person around any more. Can't they just be kind? Can't they just help you? But, eventually, you realize it's for your own good, and that you're getting stronger and smarter and braver and more alive than you knew you could be. It's the biggest relief to get away from this city until that familiar ache hits. Like a lover that you just can't quit, or a best friend that you sometimes hate, she's right there waiting for you, arms wide open, any time you want.
The jury is out on whether or not I'll live here much longer, or for the rest of my life. I don't claim to know the future. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to hide in my bed, and if you think I'm getting up to brush my teeth, you would be incorrect. Pray for me.
p.s. I'll be back to my regular blogging soon. Just lots going on in the life department. But hey, one perk of hiding here forever is that I'll have my laptop! things are looking up ;)