[Behold, a post with actual content! I know, I'm as shocked as you are.]
So every once in a while I will experience what I think of as Holy Crap, I Live in New York! moments. Sometimes they're big, like cramming onto Mercer Street with thousands of other people for the huge HP7 release party at the Scholastic store, screaming and cheering when the clock finally struck midnight. Sometimes it's tiny things, like threading my way through the purposeful chaos of Chinatown to what I've come to think of as "my" cheap-but-awesome soup dumpling place. These moments, I've noticed, often involve bridges. They happen with less frequency now than they did when I first moved here, but they're just as necessary for my sanity. Today is a good example.
It started with a dress. This dress
, to be precise, and a fabulous chunky white-and-clear-lucite necklace that used to be my grandmother's. This dress, and I say this with all due modesty, makes me look hot
. It is sometimes hard to remember, in this time of dinners for one and quiet nights in with my kitty and an exclusively female social circle, that I in fact have a body many women would kill for, thanks to good genes and a high metabolism and let's not forget the boob-enhancing wonder that is hormonal birth control. And today, as I fielded sly glances and outright stares from passing men and compliments from coworkers with whom I've barely exchanged two words, it hit me suddenly that I am, in fact, pretty.
I've also, finally, begun enjoying my own company again. It took three weeks of near-constant presence of other people (my favorite ex-boyfriend came to town and stayed with me for a couple nights, sparking all sorts of thoroughly boring existential angst; then girlunravelled
and I had our Great San Francisco Adventure, which I may or may not eventually get around to writing about; and then
my darling, exasperating mother came to stay for
six days) to remember that not only do I enjoy being alone, but much of the time I actually prefer it.
And so today I walked from my pharmacy on 23rd Street to Union Square, picked up a chocolate chip cookie and some cat grass at the farmer's market (Polly seems less than enthused thus far, but I quite enjoyed my cookie), and plopped down at Starbucks at a coveted table next to the window to enjoy a free iced coffee and a book (The Friday Night Knitting Club
, which is total predictable chick-lit schlock, but it's total predictable chick-lit schlock about knitters
, which somehow makes it more enjoyable). I didn't have to worry about making conversation or limiting my time because of other commitments. I didn't have to consider anyone's needs or desires or convenience except my own. And when I'd finished my coffee and eaten most of my cookie and read to the end of the last chapter I felt like reading, I hopped on the Q and watched the sun set behind the skyline as the train skimmed over the Manhattan Bridge toward Brooklyn. (See what I mean about bridges?)
I arrived home to find a summons to jury duty at the end of this month, my very first. It's at an inconvenient time and I'm entitled to a postponement, but I think I'll probably go. I find myself strangely excited to Do My Civic Duty. And it means, somehow, that I really live here, that I'm in it for the long haul, that I'm enough of a citizen of New York City to sit in judgment as part of a jury of my peers. Setting aside for the moment the inconvenience of having to miss work so I can dress up, arrive at court at 8:30 in the damn morning, and probably waste half the day waiting around before someone tells me I can go home... today, jury duty feels very much like a Holy Crap, I Live in new York! moment all by itself.