I spent last week in New York. It was a work trip that had been planned for a while. It wasn’t really good timing, and it wasn’t really a thing I wanted to do, really. I thought perhaps that it might distract me from some things which will remain unsaid. It was distracting, and it did put certain things out of my mind, but yet, the things that replaced those thoughts were perhaps not what I was expecting.
It wasn’t so long ago, visiting for another work trip at a different job entirely, that I thought that I could easily move to New York at any time. In fact, I even envisioned myself going to NYU for grad school. I didn’t even care what the field of study might be. The point was that I would be living the student life, probably sharing an apartment in an exotic borough, like the Bronx. I always thought of it as a sojourn. I felt that I would spend a few years in The Big Apple, but eventually the Bay Area, specifically the East Bay, was where I would end up for good. I have never felt that I belonged anywhere the way that I feel that I belong here at home.
As the years went by, it was a dream I sort of forgot about. I knew I wouldn’t lay down permanent roots somewhere else, so I just settled into my roots here, and forgot about moving away. I explored more of the world, even further outside of New York and the United States, and everywhere I’ve ever been, no matter how much I liked it, I always was happy to come home to California, to Oakland. I am more Oakland or East Bay than anything else.
So, it didn’t surprise me very much to find myself not really digging New York. I mean, strongly not digging. I could not wait to get the heck out of there. I didn’t want to listen to the endless honking, and I didn’t want to get bumped and jostled down the street. I had no desire to squeeze myself onto an overpacked rush hour subway train. I didn’t want to wear a hat, a hoodie, a coat, a scarf, and mittens. Every part of my body seemed to be screaming in protest to my surroundings. And at the end of the day, I was so tired.
New York City is exhausting, and it wears my soul out.
When I finally got home, and walked to work on Monday, the sun was shining, I was wearing a light hoodie, no one bumped me as I walked down the street, and I think maybe I heard one car horn honk. I am so happy to be home. Home, sweet, peaceful Oakland.