New York City

I'm beginning my third day in The Big Apple. Saturday was mostly get here and visit, yesterday was light tourism, today I get serious, tomorrow I meet noders.

I haven't been in the City since 1989, my last appearance on Wright State's Model UN team. Back then I said that I'd love to live in New York for a year, if I had the money to do it right. Which is a lot more money than I actually have. I few into LaGuardia Airport and caught the M60 bus into town, riding down 125th street passed the famed Apollo Theater which seemed a lot cooler than it actually looked.

But the city is a great frolicking mishmash of cultures and ethnicity. Get on any subway car and you'll hear more than one language being spoken. You'll see people of every shape and color interacting. New York may have a bad rep, but in reality it is the melting pot we Americans claim to be. Here you get a Pakistani cab driver yakking with a Russian Jew and all is normal.

The supermarkets are so different than back back home in Ohio. They aren't really supermarkets at all, and they are defined by claustraphobia. Ohio markets are huge and open, here things are piled up to low ceilings with narrow aisles. Space is so much more at a premium, which probably explains why beer costs 60% more here than back home. Liqour is about the same though, so I think I'll stock up on bourbon. If I'm in Manhattan, I might as well drink them.

My brother and his partner Jim are really cool people. They have a nice little rent controlled apartment near Columbia. You can see the back of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine from near his house, and we walked across Central Park to Melon's, where I paid $8 for a cheeseburger. Pint tells me I can do better, but I do miss the Thurman Cafe. Still, it was good and full of the lively ambience you get here.

Yesterday I took the A train out of Harlem and uptown to Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters, the medieval museum. If you have never been there, it is a place you must go. They synthesized pieced from a few dozen ruined buildings, shipped them to New York and reassembled into one coherent whole representing the best in medieval art from the Romanesque through the Gothic periods. It is a place of great beauty, learning and captures well the flavor of a cloister where monks would go to sit in quiet contemplation of the mysteries of God. The park is hilly and rocky, with bridges and paths overlooking the Hudson River. There are many parks in New York, full of wonderful geographic features. But then if they didn't have parks, people would probably go insane here.

Unfortunately, my cat Boris is dying. My catsitter called last night. He won't eat, he's vomiting and his legs are rubbery. I had known Boris was fading, but hoped he'd make it longer. Saturday morning he sat on my shoulder as I took care of the last bits before leaving. And I remember wondering of my absence would send him downhill, He has slept in my bed for fifteen years and well, the house won't be the same without him. But Chris tells me the vet says it's time, and I suppose that when I return home the house will feel a bit emptier.

Riding The Bus

Just a thought for the daylog. I’ve been riding the Metrobus to my train station for the last couple of weeks. It’s kind of a long story why – my wife and son went to North Carolina because we’re selling our house, and it’s easier to show when they’re gone during the day. Anyway, they took our only working car, so I kind of had to get to know the bus system in a hurry. My nearest Metro stop, West Falls Church, is more than two miles from my house, so I needed to know when and where to pick up the bus.

At first I thought it was going to be a real pain, but I got the hang of it right away. I found out that the stop was right near my subdivision, and the bus came every twenty minutes in the morning. Even better, I found myself really enjoying the rides to the Metro station on the bus. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because it reminded me of riding the bus to school when I was a kid. Back when I didn’t have so many responsibilities, and I could just take life as it came to me.

You see, since I was a kid, my life went on this incredible ride towards insanity. I worked in a large DC law firm, and eventually made partner. But in the process, I found myself wrapped up in cases that just took my life away from me. There were literally days when every single minute I had, other than sleeping and showering, were accounted for and billed to one client or another. During trials, I used to walk outside in the morning and grab a cab to work – charging it to the client, of course – just to save twenty minutes of my day.

Well, ever since I found out last Spring that I was going to have a child, I did this major downshift in my career. I don’t really recommend it. It’s harder to step off the treadmill than it is to increase the speed. But I’ve got more time. Time to spend with my wife. Time to spend with my son.

And time to spend with myself. Which is what the bus rides are. I get to just sit there and think. Watch people. Not worry about where I’m going or when I’ll get there.

It’s a life I left behind years ago, but I’m trying to find it again now. Before it’s too late.

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