This is the 19th in a series of posts about New York.
There are very few things I know for certain.
I came to New York because it Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time; because This Was Where We Found Jobs; because because because. It never occurred to me not to want to be in New York.
I stayed, sometimes, because this was where I was qualified to practice law and the thought of taking another exam or facing the prospect of not being able to fully call myself a lawyer felt too daunting. Other times, I stayed because I no longer knew my way around the places I had been before. Los Angeles had grown too rapidly and I couldn’t find my way around any more; Washington felt so comfortable but quickly became claustrophobic.
I stayed, too, because I love it here, and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
I’ve done all those crazy New York things you’re supposed to do – and more. I’ve lived alone and with others. I’ve kissed the wrong men in all the right places; I’ve had the best meals money can buy; I’ve danced in the clubs that no one ever gets into in a city where smoking was banned in the mid-2000s but if you have enough money for bottle service, the waiter will light your cigarette for you; I’ve been serious and silly and funny and strange. I’ve run the marathon multiple times; I’ve raced in all five boros. I’ve witnessed births and deaths and everything in between.
At the end of June, I flew back to Los Angeles and got lost leaving LAX. It was a drive I have done hundreds of times, in every possible way, on every exit, and every surface street. But somehow, I couldn’t find my way from La Cienega. And there I was, driving around Crenshaw at 11pm, frantically googlemapping myself out of deserted streets and cursing my inability to find my way on to the 405 – which was directly next to me.
I did not intend for this, you know.
It is one thing to come to New York with the intention of becoming a New Yorker, like an earnest girl fresh out of school who read Slouching Towards Bethlehem too many times. It becomes an entirely different ballgame the day you wake up and find you have actually become one.