Some prose; some thoughts.
In New York City, or anywhere, a new morning can be anything.
But here, it’s where I live, and I realize a treasure chest of jewels waiting to be unearthed exists outside.
I sit inside my apartment, or traipse back and forth across the floor listening to the sounds outside and how they echo my thoughts or mood. The cars, the horns, the sirens, the engines of vehicles speak volumes in a city where one doesn’t have to sleep. The movement of traffic is a testament to its rhythm: we all keep moving. If we want.
Hearing the noise comforts me. I remember living in a rural country village 12Km from the Demilitarized Zone of South and North Korea and being chilled by the abundance of silence; by the buzz of the flies against a quiet backdrop of cascading hills and red-sky sunsets. The single time sirens entered this space it felt familiar.
But I’ve led you astray because the joy of New York City isn’t the noise, nor the traffic, nor the cacophony I introduced you to here, but the sheer question mark that befalls us each day we wake up. The fact that today can be anything once we walk out that double-bolted door.
Inside it’s quiet. It’s safe. Some may say plain, or even peculiar. You can sit in solitude reading, writing, watching television and the misery or joys reported by the media. You can play your guitar that’s gathered a layer of dust. You can spend incalculable moments on Facebook or perusing the menu of the restaurant you’re pining to visit for brunch. Goat Town. The point is, you can do anything from inside and still rest inside a fairly quiet space. A safe space. And yes, perhaps even a plain or peculiar space.
Nora Ephron said, “I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.”
From inside, it’s like this. Outside, boy…once you step beyond that door you can live this scene. And there’s only so much shelter you can wear. No raincoat, nor fur coat, not even a glazed-out look and Dr. Dre headphones while you walk to the beat of some deep bass can completely isolate you from the treasure chest of jewels that New York City keeps in the shadows of tall buildings. In the light of neon signs and sunlit patches on sidewalks. No, once you’ve left your apartment it’s nearly anyone’s game.
But you give four quarters to David in the deli who knows you by face so you don’t have to wait in line and leave with coffee in hand. Made just perfectly. And you cross the street just as the signal is counting down from 30 seconds and reach the other side. With seconds to spare. There’s a moment of panic, thinking forgetfulness invaded your mind this morning as you wonder where your subway card rests. It’s at home. It’s in another bag than the one you’re carrying. But you wrestle with the contents of what you have and the card emerges. You’re relieved.
And this is how New York City greets you. Every morning. Every day. And you love it.