Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Well, I will say this for NY- there are a lot of attractive tall men wearing very tight pants.

The only thing better than men is tall men. The only thing better than tall men is tall men in tight pants.

For the briefest of moments, the BRIEFEST of time capsule split second zings, I LOVE NEW YORK.

But I refuse to buy the Tshirt on multiple principles.

I did get my nose pierced though.  Twice. To celebrate being unemployed (and mostly because my friend was running late and the piercing shop happened to be next to our dinner destination).

New York.  It overwhelms me.  City of fantastic leather boots and iphones and headphones and squirming merging crowds.  New York, the city that glitters and moans and mobs and is hope or hell or home for millions.  New York, a hybrid crisp of a juicing apple, enchanting and repulsing, maybe its like Africa, maybe once you bite the apple, it gets in your blood stream, under your skin and in your heart and skyline haunts your dreams.

 New York - to me it represents the best and  worst of America.  The roaches and the skyscrapers.  Wall Street and the homeless, leather briefcases and cardboard signs sharing the same side walk space.  Is it easier to march through a rat colony in high heels?  Is it easier not to make eye contact in sunglasses? Is it easier to be rude if you are reasonably sure you'll never see that person again? 

Sitting on a slatted wooden bench, hard and scratches and smoothed by thousands of jean pockets, a quintessentially "dapper" old man (if you will)  with cartoon red rimmed plastic glasses and a purple knit hat, "Missed that train by a whisker,"  he laughed. 

"You know that expression? They say it in England."

Speaking with an accent that wasn't English but decidedly foreign.  Danish, perhaps? I smiled at him.

"In England? Where are you from?"

 He stiffens and the electricity in the grey changes and...

"You can't just ask me that. You can't do that here. No hi, my name is... No introduction.  This is New York!

Actually, I'm on my way to being a millionaire, I write encyclopedias on garden flowers from A-Z,  I am here trying to find a publisher.

Where am I from!! [scoffing] you can't ask that. It doesn't work here."


I am a long way from Alaska.

After just a day, I'm a long way from me. Already wishing I wasn't wearing mud boots, already breaking my rules - the people on the street, busking in the corner or on the subways, shaking plastic cups of change, red and ringing Salvation Army bells, I walked past every one. I didn't have cash, but I never stopped. I was too afraid of what New Yorkers would think of me.  I, who have everything. The disease of caring more about what a stranger would think than if I stranger would live.

And the subway, rubbing shoulders out of necessity, hanging on the silver barred hand holds, sitting side by side in burnt orange and yellow plastic seats, strangers that make it look effortless, the art of being perfectly attuned to everyone and everything around you while managing to never look at or acknowledge anyone. Is it human nature? Preservation? Culture? A normal human response to such caged and prodded and crowded yet wild and pulsing surrounding? The length of one subway journey, I have been ignored, cursed, and laughed at.  Or would we be meaner? We the good neighbor and smll towner who pride ourselves on friendliness and community? The very nature of small town life provided checks and balances and very real consequences for nasty behavior. The answer is probably much less pseudo philosophical- I simply don't understand New York.  Being in a place for three days hardly qualified me for cultural commentary. But I can't help it. Just take my silly judgements with a grain of salt. It has to be humanity.  The study of how we behave based on our environment. 

I think we all do it.  It's survivalst. It's basic.  All those silent ones on the subway have friends and loved ones and people that would make them grin and cry and dance and shake. I guess it's not wrong. I just want to live in a place where the mask is a little more unpeeled is all.  Where I can smile at the person I pass on the sidewalk. 

 To be honest, if I lived in New York, I'd probably change too. I might not go out in sweat pants.  I might buy Michael Kors sunglasses and tight skinny pants and fabulous knee high leather boots. I might wear fitted gloves and vintage dresses.

"I had to buy a whole new wardrobe when I got here," she said, "you really have to up your style if you want to make it here."

 So would I conform? And if I did. Would that be wrong? The me fresh from Tchad would say yes, YES, it's wrong to buy nice clothes when people are starving.  The me now wants the person back that said that. 

She did look truly fabulous. Glamor and grunge and dark bouncing curls.  This girl I hiked the Blue Ridge Mountains and cooked over an open fire with grown into a goddess. And I am here to interview with MSF anyway.  Trying to talk my way back into the raw way to live.

"I'm waiting for my third mission now," my interviewer smiling, eyes shining, "it gets addictive."

 I know that drug.  Give it to me please. I 'm already addicted.

I think it want well. I'll hear in 2-6 weeks if my application is " moving forward."  This would mean they are serious enough to check my references, background, and liscensure, to invite me back in February for Information Days.  Fingers crossed and all I can do is hope and believe. But I have not one regret. I was so prepared, so professional, and I gave this my all.

And I can't wait to leave New York. 

My wonderful friend Angela who journeyed here
 for moral and navigational support:)

Standing in front of MSF
headquarters in NYC

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