After Ainsley and I finish the tour of the apartment complex and go through the finances/rental agreement with the rental agent, we decide to walk to the waterfront, with Manhattan in full view. “What do you girls think of Queens?” Padre, Ainsley’s boyfriend asks as the three of lean against a park railing. Midtown East rises in front of us. We hear the cawing of birds and the East River lapping against the shore.
“I am not one of those annoying Manhattanites who says things like ‘oh I need a passport to go to the Bronx, Jersey or Brooklyn’. Overnight bag – yes, passport, no,” I reply. Padre slides his hand into Ainsley's and asks, “And babe, what about you?” “I like the apartment, but the rent is higher than I thought,” Ainsley says. “I thought that too,” I reply. A two bedroom facing Manhattan in this complex is $3300. I pay $1295 now, which is $45 more than what I paid last year. Ainsley pays about $1000 – but she has a roommate.
Ugh -New York is expensive. Which is why, sometimes I wonder what I am doing living here. I have moments when I miss nice people. This is not to say New Yorkers are not nice, they are. But these are very intense people who move and live at an almost inhuman pace. I can keep the pace, but it is on like Donkey Kong all the time. And it takes time to make friends and feel like you have built a home and a life. I am finally feeling like I have what it takes to make New York work. I definitely think New York is NOT for everyone. But I think, if I make some changes, I can make a good go of a Big Apple life. Work is challenging, too. Our project pipeline has slowed down. I get worried every now and then about making the rent. So moving into a more expensive apartment worries me a lot.
And then there is pesky problem of finding a boyfriend/husband/soul mate. I am funny, attractive, compassionate, caring, damn good cook. Yet for some reason the life of the single desi girl in the city continues. "What time is your date?” Padre asks and looks at his watch. “Noon," I reply, hoping this is a desi who can tell time. This is why I always carry a book in my purse. “Where are you meeting?” Padre asks. “Dos Caminos,” I reply, already salivating at the thought of tableside guacamole.
“You know that is not real Mexican,” Ainsley, the Texan, says. “Yes, I am aware. But tacos and nachos don’t disappoint!” I reply. “Your dates sure seem to,” Ainsley mutters. “I know I sound like a broken record – but I don’t think you should limit yourself to Indian men. In fact I don’t think you should date them at all,” Ainsley says, each word a little stronger, more emotionally loaded than the one more. “Babe!” Padre scolds. “What? I am entitled to tell my friend what I think,” Ainsley snaps.
“It’s okay,” I reply. Padre flashes a supportive smile, Ainsley gives him a look that says “see I am not in the wrong". “Einstein once said that the definition of insane is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Maybe I am just insane,” I suggest. The words are BARELY out of my mouth and Ainsley shakes her head and insists, “It is NOT you! It is New York, it is men, it is the men you date, and it is far more complex than simply you.”