Every Spring, in rare moments of sunshiny bliss, I have to remind myself that I still hate New York City.
That’s right, I refuse to let myself be happy here, because if I do, that means I’ve become part of it. It, in my opinion, is an insane rat race, a herd of commuters pushing through turnstiles, rude women shoving you with their giant Fendi bags, slow-moving tourists, sky-high rent, homeless dudes asking if you can spare a hundred, and late nights in a cubicle on a day when you never got up to get lunch. It’s soulless and unhealthy, at least for me, at least currently.
So many complaints! But hear me out, because there is a point. In the winter, no one in NY seems happy. Everyone is downright miserable and frozen. No one goes out after work or wants to go anywhere on the weekends. We walk to and from work with wet feet, cold faces, and runny noses. We rock snow boots and broken umbrellas, and summer seems so far in the past, that we find it hard to believe it will ever come again.
Then suddenly, after half a year of misery, the flowers bloom. We have a rare day where it’s 70 degrees and sunny, and our hearts thaw a bit. We all sit outside in the park at lunch (except me because I effing hate pigeons). Restaurants bring their patio tables out of storage, we smile, we say excuse me and thank you to each other, and we wear skirts and heels and it’s so glorious we profess our undying love for this city of dreams. So diverse! So grand! So superior!
The next day it’s rainy and cold and we curse the world again, and this is exactly the fickle, bipolar relationship I refuse to accept. NYC and I have this on and off again “thing” that has been going on for over four years. I know it wants me to commit, maybe move to Scarsdale and bring my unborn children to its museums and hassle a stroller through a subway car. But just to set the record straight, I have wandering eyes.
I actually wonder if I miss my hometown of rolling hills, provincial minds, and no Starbucks. For my first 18 years of life, I wanted nothing more than to leave the country for the city. Granted, I had California in mind, but I didn’t appreciate what I had back then. There’s something to be said for silence when you sleep. Last night, I had to call security because the couple upstairs was screaming at each other for over an hour… at 3AM. And I mean screaming. I was actually impressed before I realized I was awake and listening to their fight instead of sleeping. I’ll also take gridlock traffic any day over standing elbow to elbow with smelly strangers in rush hour on a rickety PATH train with the conductor screaming at everyone to “stand clear of the closing doors” and “step all the way in!”
I like going to the grocery store in my hometown and running into five people I know, instead of standing in a massive check out line in Jersey City waiting for everyone’s food stamps to be counted. (I’m going to hell, I know, but I’m just saying.) I also love how the air smells when I get fifty miles away from New York… it literally smells like delicious oxygen which is something I didn’t notice until I came to NY and black comes out of my nose when I blow it.
I’m not saying I want to move home, just that I need more vacations or a relocation or something. I might be casually hanging out with NY, but it doesn’t mean anything. I’m either still in love with my ex-hometown or searching for something better. I also don’t want to identify with NY, because then I won’t be known as the girl in NY who doesn’t like NY. Why don’t I leave if I hate it so much? Because that would be too easy!
The 10-day forecast predicts rain and clouds in Manhattan and all is right with the world. But when that sunny day creeps in, I will say, “Step back, NY! It’s the weather I like… not you.”