I am living in an apartment devoid of furniture. Well, not quite. There is a blow up mattress, two camp chairs and the drawers that used to hold up our bed in the van.
A lot has happened in the four months since Texas. A lot, and also not much. I feel quite at home, and still not. Yesterday my oldest friend J was in town on business. It was such a relief to talk to someone who just knows who I am, culturally and personally. Life here is great, and terrible and lonely and fabulous all at once. That is hard work. And who knows whether it is all worth it? I trust it will be.
But anyhoo. We rented an apartment. A proper one. A big one! With four windows that overlook Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. Despite having no furniture, I have sat and eaten breakfast each morning looking out at squirrels and robins and greenery. This just might keep me sane in this city! We had actually planned to have some furniture in it before moving in, but the thought of getting $600 back on our sublet if we left early was too good to refuse. So we impromptu moved on Monday and I find myself camping in NYC – ironically, we have quite enough camping stuff to get by with. And I say I because A is living it up in an airbnb in Rhode Island – no empty apartment-living for him.
I do finally feel like an adult. Is it because I live in an apartment in NYC? No. Despite everything I have done in my life – bought three houses, married, divorced, sat by deathbeds, travelled, moved across the world – the thing that finally made me feel like an adult was buying a brand new sofa! Not a hand-me-down, not one we compromised on because a cheaper one would really make sense if we’re only here for a couple of years, not one we found on Craigslist. A brand new, lovely sofa. And now I am an adult! After a brief panic that it wouldn’t fit through our doorway, it will arrive on Saturday and I will be so happy to sit on it!
To balance my newfound adulthood I have developed an obsession with manhole covers. New York streets are full of them. They have all kinds of patterns and sizes, but the round metal-ness of them intrigues me. As does the fact that they all seem to be Made in India. Why would these things get shipped from India? What do people think when I stop in the middle of the road to photograph a new one?
You know what they think? Nothing! This is NYC and every next person is crazier than a cut snake and doesn’t give two hoots what the hell I am photographing in the street. And I love it. But I can’t quite relax into it yet.
Top three things that drive me crazy on a near-daily basis:
- one tap for both shower and bath that never works the same way as the last one I used – can you not afford separate taps?
- the 10 cent coins are smaller than the 5 cent coins and I always get it wrong
- having to choose all the ingredients – if I wanted to do that I would have made my own sandwich, just let me order your sandwich specialty
Tempered by all the awesome things:
- there is always something on – Joss Whedon and Mark Ruffalo talking at the Tribeca Film Festival, ex-Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Noam Chomsky talking about neo-liberalism and who really holds the power in Europe, Jon Krakauer at the local library
- visiting the Frank Lloyd-Wright room at the Met and choosing to pay only a dollar to get in
- cycling to work up the Hudson river every day – pinch myself
- catching the train an hour north to spend all day hiking
- ice-skating in Central Park/Prospect Park/Bryant Park
- drinking picklebacks in our local bar
- sleeping through Broadway plays
- watching squirrels from my window
- walking through Central Park in the snow
- finding the David Bowie memorials
- crazy people who don’t give a damn
- the man that sets up a table on the corner of our street to sell plastic dinosaurs and fake dog poo
- the awesome acoustics in our empty apartment
- that it is only April and light until 7.30 already
That’s a great list. I will try to remember it next time when I am feeling anxious and lonely and that it is all too hard!
One thought on “Camping out inside”
Enjoying your emails, I was going to reply after your last one before Christmas but was quite upset reading how homesick you were and feeling quite emotional myself for my first Christmas without Uncle John! This year is feeling a bit better, getting used to the idea of life without him, keeping busy with work and family. We have had a beautiful autumn with lots of still, warm and sunny days. Today feels like winter is coming, thunderstorm early am and lots of rain and wind today but I still managed to cut the grass!
Just sent a happy birthday message to your Dad, hope they are having a good time in Istanbul, John and I loved it when we were there in 2010. I am planning on going with a girlfriend to Portugal in September, so looking forward to that! You are heading into summer over there so enjoy!
Love, Aunty Liz xx
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