Wednesday, February 10, 2016

9 years ago today...

On February 11, 2007, I picked up and left for New York City. My only connection there a lady on Craig's List who said she had a room to rent.

What an experience those 3 years spent in NYC were! I've been back in Austin for 6 years now (since 2010)... I barely remember anything from these 6 years other than emotional and financial pain and crawling back amid great bland surroundings.

The 3 years in NYC (from 2007 to 2010), on the other hand--while also obviously financially painful--were simultaneously greatly beautiful and INTERESTING. I was completely, of my own volition, thrown into an utterly different environment... One that I'd experienced vicariously via movies and magazines, but never known on my own...

The result was: NYC was nothing like the movies or magazines. In fact, I was greatly dismayed by magazines like "New York" that published issues like "Reasons to Love New York City," which seemed to me more like small-town boosterism. ("You're NEW YORK! What're you so defensive about??")

What I miss most about New York: Seeing Joan Crawford movies at the Chelsea Cinema and at other cinemas around town. Getting to see the Klimt exhibit at the Neue Gallerie on the East Side (during a brutally cold November day). The walk from Joan Crawford's apartment on the East Side straight across to John Lennon's Dakota on the West Side. Hanging out reading a book on a bench one sunny afternoon at Aaron Burr's mansion in Washington Heights. Hanging out at Union Square for lunch during my 8-month tenure at a publishing company a couple of blocks away; seeing a bluegrass band at Union Square on a weekend, with a subdued Gilbert Gottfried right next to me. While taking a smoke-break on the sidewalk, seeing Elvis Costello walk by with his twins in a carriage. The utterly stunning view of the NYC skyline once I'd moved to Weehawken across the Hudson (only a 2-minute walk away), and how inspiring the view was...

So much in only 3 years... The ugly struggles with the first 3 roommates that I had in New York, then the utter relief at finally being able to get my own place, the beautiful place in Weehawken, where my Gracie-cat died April 15, 2009... I remember it so distinctly because it was "Tax Day" and because Sandra was in town, visiting her Sugar Daddy at a Cancer Center and asking me to come visit her in her hotel; I, disgustingly, internally wished for Gracie to die before Sandra arrived, so I could spend time with her in town... I fought on the phone with Sandra on the night Gracie died. When I woke up the next day, Gracie, who'd been wasting away gradually since mid-January, was dead on my kitchen mat.

That was traumatic. My first 2 years in New York were interesting. After Gracie died in early 2009, though, and after I began contact with Sandra in late 2008, things deteriorated. My heart wasn't in it. I was grieving for Gracie, who had been with me since 2000 (and who had been a good-luck charm in my life as a whole since her arrival), and I was TIRED of struggling for EVERYTHING.

Funny, what started out as a search for a New Beginning and a New Horizon with truly earnest and honest goals based on true admiration for the city and its possibilities turned into grieving for an old crush from a poetry class in 1987.

February 11, 2007, was warm and foggy. The taxi driver was curious about why I was going to New York City. It was so warm, he drove with his windows open. At the Austin airport, Gracie escaped from her carrier when an airport employee opened it to check for contraband. The same employee then chased after her and brought her back, so the trauma was lessened.

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