summer '09 in a New York Minute... red wine observations

almost 1 am

& sitting out on the stoop (wow- not going to be able to say THAT much longer...) observing the nights events: raindewy remnant drops from a quite heavy mist the past few hours, cloudy sky w/lapses giving way to the black noir (still no stars- not 1 this entire summer), a VERY reduced rat population.

Was that due to that really heavy rainfall almost 2 weeks ago? Was it the massive amounts of rat poison & insecticides they must use in this city (I have not seen 1 ant in my flat all summer- or cockroach. Was it due to running around on all that dog piss from these leashed, trained when to urinate dogs that rule the Upper West Side? Hey, it kills the trees. Oh, here, right now a owner & his 2 dogs searching for a tree with a patch of dirt. It's something to do with their claws tap tapping on the pavement that fascinated me all this time I think. As I transport myself into the world of dog- as I would probably view it if I were a dog- I have decided that dogs don't like to walk on pavement. It is such a strange existence for these dogs of NYC. I don't know really.

I'm actually feeling a sense of loss due to the lack of rats. The rats of NYC are very different than the rats of Hawaii. They are equal in size. Do that rats like scavenging the streets (Oh! There is one right now!) or the jungle more? I think in the streets they don't have to worry about other animal predators- just toxins whereas the jungle rats have to worry about animals. I would think jungle food tastes better than city food though.

My New York Minute is just about up. Time is now on the side of the jungle. I can hang in the City- yes indeed I have taken advantage of every possible opportunity to live this City life. It is a parallel universe to my familiar existence in the Pacific.

I adore the subways. Their efficiency is unparalleled- yet it is absolutely necessary to possess an iPhone w/ ALL subway apps and maps. I have mastered the art of figuring out where on the platform to stand to walk the least amount of time in the subways. I have still to master the art of exiting above ground and knowing where north is when the avenues are very far apart and trees & buildings obscure the street #'s, or south of 14th where it all turns into whirled peas. I always complained how hot it was in the stations and how cold it was in the trains. I only got on the wrong train once when I was inebriated- very late at night so a lesson learned well & early on to realize to keep it together in these instances... I tried to always ride on the first or last car so I could watch the tracks. This was always fascinating. I am so fascinated with the network of lights, rails, cables, ambient lighting and how whenever I looked off into the horizon there were little nooks & crannies of history recessed in those walls. Sometimes sporadic sunlight beamed through from the world atop the earth. Sometimes images printed on the walls that reminds me that even, and most especially, ancient man chose to express their feelings as pictographs/grafitti.

I never drove once, or missed driving. I always found it amusing that I rarely see a 4x4 driving in the city- or even a small truck honestly. I have to laugh as I can't live without my 4x4 on Maui- it is necessary requisite behavior there as is a small car is here- if you're going to have a car that is & most choose not to.

I have certainly walked all of Manhattan, & some parts of Brooklyn & less of Staten Island. Oh yea, let's not forget Jersey. I did venture there twice. Queens & the Bronx got a pass this time around but I saw enough of Queens a few years ago while temporary stationed out in Jamaica.

Three months just isn't enough time to delve into all 5 boroughs. After all, that is simply a New York Minute. 90% of my time here was school-focused. The New School was the 'mothership' for me here. Feels so incredible- STILL- to have thrown myself back into academia. It has been extraordinary connecting with the minds I encountered. What I love about the 'family' is that we all have 1 thing in common in this graduate program- our passion for travel & cross-cultural encounters and how to use language, and language learning, as a means for expressing ourselves. Everything about me has changed, become challenged in the most meaningful of ways. Just BEING here was such a challenge; not having access to a prolific ocean full of passion & renewing energy.

Yes, this deficit was channeled into other endeavors. Last night, no 2 nights ago I woke up to that sound again- the sound of a crashing wave, which I still haven't figured out its source but almost positive it is due to a large crater over on Columbus Ave. at the corner of 82nd. Whatever the reason, I adore that sound. It makes me smile to associate this unidentified sound with an identifiable association in my mind.

So back to channeling my energy in alternative NYC realities. I didn't just look at things- I looked into them. I saw things, I made observations & picked apart unfamiliar concepts to get to their core and reason for existence: everything from making one's bicycle appear worthless by painting it white & chipping it in places so it won't get stolen (most had 2 locks, but many had 3- as well as seat locks, etc.) to going to the website that tells everyone where the open bars are for the evening- usually between 5-6pm. One of my favorites NYCisms that I became accustomed to when wanting to slink around in sky high heels was to wear my thin raincoat w/the big pockets (one of my best investments while here as it seemed to always be raining or sprinkling at night) and slip them in while I schlepped about town in the comfort of m

y havaianas. The requisite phrase to Lenys was as follows: "When we get to within 1 block of the club let us know so we can change into our stepping out shoes." I recall he didn't give us enough time while walking up to Therapy. Carolina Ballerina and I unleashed our furies on him for this fau paux...

It's now 1:45 am and the rat never reappeared. I think the entertainment as viewed from the stoop is over for the evening as now I just keep seeing cops in unmarked cars drive by. The sky has changed from cloudy to now just a muted puddle. How dull these skies are if you remove the architectural buildings from consideration. Strange but I can't even say I had a successful run at being a peeping tom- everybody's air conditioners seem to be in the way of proper viewing...