lonely lovely city

lonely lovely city

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Smaller living. Bigger thinking.

One of the great things I love about living in a small space is seeing where everything is and how it belongs in its own place. Somehow, it feels cozier and tight, like I am protected. That is what I love about being a New Yorker. I totally get how those of us that manage to stay and live here do very well with how little we are given.

It's weird. The older I get, the less stuff I want. I look around to my left and right and to the center of my studio and feel grateful that not only do I have a little home to call my own, but that it is designed to my taste. I am free from the pestering roommate syndrome. I am bound to do whatever I want when I want to. And, I am free to invite whomever I chose at any given time of the day. Yes, I have to pay and do everything on my own in order to sustain my apartment, but the payback is far greater than the hefty check I digitally send to my landlord on the third week of every month.

I am what one would call a minimalist. I like everything to be modern and clean and cohesive. Clutter is not an option. What I strive for in my smaller space is for things to make sense. I don't feel it is necessary so much to rely on additional items to make my existence worthwhile. Do I really need two televisions or two microwaves or two extra pillows or even extra stuff that doesn't have a function? No.

I think the bigger picture pertains to living with less and being grateful for what you have. I see so many running around like a chicken so that they can get another leather couch or the newest computer or more things in their tiny houses so it can collect dust and be forgotten.

The other thing that comes to mind is remembering when I had to tolerate horrible living arrangements and how it felt I would never find a place of my own. Well, I did. I am grateful for all of it: running water, a toilet, two sinks, renovated wooden floors, two large windows that serve as the eyes of my home, and the nice furniture I've accumulated. I am grateful to come home to a calming oasis that serves as my sanctuary from the madness of Manhattan. I love when I am about to sleep at night in my magnificent bed where I can still hear the quiet of my flat, yet the cabs and people four flights down from the street. Hearing their roar makes me feel safe because life is around me at all times. Without street noise, I suppose I would feel naked.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Random asswipes

I encountered a major asswipe today en route to an appointment. Total New York moment where you had to be there to witness the insanity. I thought I had the right address when arriving for an academic appointment. The lobby looked quite familiar. I went up to the security guard and asked for the office I was going to. At first he just looked me and shook his head. Insisting I had the right address, this middle-aged, middle eastern bald headed man gets irate as if I've broken a law. Raising his voice, he says...

"Don't waste my time man. You've got it wrong. You understand?"

"Look, can you just check? Please."

"Absolutely not. Get lost."

"You're a sarcastic guy. All I did was ask if you could check."

He then got up and demanded to see my ID. When I showed it to him, he literally grabbed it out of my hand and stared at it. I felt like a criminal. I took MY ID out of his hands when he started to examine my details and placed it back into my wallet, stepping back so I wouldn't be inclined to do something further. He then demands to know the nature of my visit and that I am "abusing" him.

I call him an asshole and get into the elevator, thinking that someone civil will help me find my suite. People just stood there and said nothing as I wanted to exit. When I go to the front desk of my school on the third floor, I am notified it is down the street. As you can imagine, I feel like an idiot. I dreaded going down in the elevator. He waits for me with his phone in his hands standing next to the wall. He takes a picture of me with it and warns me that a camera near the door is in place and that I better watch my next step, that he will take the appropriate action. I tell him to fuck off and walk away. My heart raced. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I have not had such a random encounter with a stranger like that in recent years. I can't remember the last time I clashed with an asswipe who felt that he owned the building. While in the end I had the wrong address, I didn't deserve his rudeness. As there ever been a time in NYC where you dealt with a asswipe?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I actually keep track of the day I moved to New York City. November 1, 2000. I know, I am a dork. I was a bright-eyed, naive, younger man who had just spent four, long years in Los Angeles. I had transported myself with two suitcases, $2000, one contact, no friends, and a stomach full of knots.

I rented a room for $500 in the top floor of a bed and breakfast in Staten Island. I'd take the ferry every day on the murky, frozen atlantic and commute to my corporate job in Midtown. During breaks, I would go out and and ponder and gawk around all the towering skyscrapers, listening to the sirens and cab drivers screaming, and take in the smells that seemed so foreign to a west coast transplant--a kid basically--who was in the middle of mid-twenties panic.

After several roommates, insufferable commutes on thousands of subway rides, unpleasant exchanges with strange people, dozens of jobs I hated, droves of horrendous dates (don't ask about Tony) or the umpteen times I fell on my ass, thinking I'd never get on my feet again and move forward, I kept going. So many dark moments have risen, yet, I go on like nothing happened. There is something nourishing about living in NYC in that one is allowed, if not granted the opportunity to re-invent themselves whenever and wherever they want. If a neighborhood, job, or relationship isn't working, you pick up and transition by moving to another borough, creating a whole different path with a interesting set of friends.

So many moments I've said out aloud as I've walked into a puddle of water on a dirty street or getting pushed out of the way by oblivious party kids on my block, that I can't wait to leave. But, then I get up in the next morning, revived, thinking, I can't imagine living elsewhere. In my humble opinion, NYC is the only livable city in America.

I look back eleven years later and question the progress I've made along with the personal success I've tasted. Much of what I thought I'd do or who I'd become didn't happen. But, the parts of myself that I thought never would surface, did, in bountiful ways. I feel stronger, mature, more content and comfortable in my skin. I stuck it out even if I was down to my last dollar. My intuition is growing. Perhaps, I sound trite. Whatever.

Some people ask where I am from. Originally, I mention, with reluctance, that I am from Nevada. But, I then preface it with saying I am a New Yorker. I feel I've at least earned that after being around for over a decade. I often wonder what keeps me here. Its not like I am ensconced in what I imagined I'd achieve. A lot of what we all crave forms as you plan it. Whether that pertains to a relationship or career or even state of mind, I think all of us go out there, well at least some of us, and attempt to demand more.

I don't question if I can't make it. I can and I have. If I were to move to another mecca, I wouldn't worry about survival. I think in staying so long without much of a support system, I've acquired life skills. What makes you stay in a city like New York for so long?