When I lived in Minneapolis, I MADLY coveted Manhattan in the manner of a rock star/super model/sports hero. To say I was in love with Manhattan was an understatement. Against the setting Minnesota summer sun (while swatting at gnats and mosquitoes), I thought there was no better, livelier, vibrant, electric City than New York. Manhattan was where the strong thrived and survived, as the saying went, “if I can make here I can make it anywhere."
For the first nine months I romanticized everything about Manhattan --- it was sheer perfection. Because I had never liked snow, driving or driving in snow, I loved Manhattan for having public transportation. I loved that everything could be delivered and I could walk everywhere. In time, as relationships change, I wanted to call Manhattan out on her bad behaviors. Thanks for the subway, but can you fix the damn A train line. And really, at $4.79 per box, I don’t heart the price of Triscuits. Manhattan, I’d heart you more if I could afford an apartment with a washer and dryer IN my apartment. And stop with the rain and its cousin the wind already. Why did I have to lose another umbrella to the umbrella graveyard?
When I ride around the train and I sight the severely pierced woman with short purple hair and black clothes, and her preppy looking boyfriend, I am pleased that there is a freak bigger than me in the City. I am even more pleased that she found a beau. There is hope for me.
I love that I can tell friends that I am “on the grid” or “off the grid” and they immediately know if I am Uptown or Downtown. And I love that we talk in coordinates --- SE corner of 80th and Madison, or NW corner of 8th Avenue and 50th Street.
But the thing I always heart about Manhattan is, no matter my mood, I can get lost on an island that is 13 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. My favorite book and I can take a journey to the West Village and not notice a single solitary soul for 40 minutes. I can put on my IPod and a relay of my favorite tunes becomes my companion. I can lay around on a blanket in Central Park. I love that on a super crowded rush hour subway, I am alone. Unnoticed. One of millions. And I no longer feel like a Midwestern misfit killing time, but somoene who finally belongs.