It really is easy to forget that I live in New York City. That might seem hard to believe, but even when I was living in the Financial District for an academic year, it was not difficult to get completely caught up in life and the rush and forget about location. I can remember coming out of my apartment one day when I was leaving with enough time to go slow and I looked up and saw the buildings towering over me and it slammed me hard. I am living in New York City. Another time I was going through a scrapbook of sorts from my senior year of high school and in a completely forgotten entry I spoke about a visit to NYC and how I wanted to live there some day. I couldn’t breathe. I was living past Michelle’s dreams and hadn’t even known it.
New York is commuting with different people every day in packed trains and silently cursing the assholes who wear backpacks when they should take them off. It is normalizing what my mother sees as constant danger – I could be stabbed waiting for a train, someone could push me onto the tracks, a shooting just happened at the Empire State building, a crane collapsed, a building exploded, a hurricane is coming. Where are you? Are you home safe? Are the questions I answer most often.
New York City is knowing that as a person just above poverty with barely one foot in the middle class that decent housing is hard to find, and that the majority of my paycheck is going to a place that I will never own while buildings with glass walls and dozens of floors are built for people who will only visit the city now and then. It’s mice and roaches and rats and supers that don’t fix anything.
New York is also weird pop-ups and holding hands while walking down the street. It’s major political rallies, Porn Festivals, Comic Con, and soccer games. It’s coming out of the subway and being able to smell the oncoming rain that no one else seems to notice. It’s having an understanding with your roommate that when it’s over 85 degrees you are both allowed to walk around in just underwear because it is too fucking hot and AC costs too much money. It’s making Mexican hot chocolate with booze in it and curling up on the couch to work on long ignored writing. It’s not having enough space for a couch anymore and whining loudly to The Boyfriend about it.
Life is hard, so is New York, and you can forget it. I cherish the time I spend in DC with my sister and in Central New York with my parents because the world slows down and the tension in my body decreases. I work hard, play hard, and never slow down.
Every day no matter where you live is an adventure. Make the time to see that and enjoy it.