I vaguely remember when the city made me feel invigorated. I liked the pace, the theater, the restaurants, the clubs, the people watching, the fact that everything delivers – and I mean EVERYTHING, central park, Lincoln Center and the many venues to see live music. Mind you, I have never “loved” NYC but I have enjoyed many aspects that it offers. I also felt at 22, as I do now, that NYC can be one of the loneliest places in which I have ever lived. For a big city, it’s hard to meet people and if you are not a native New Yorker it can be tough. And I am pretty outgoing and can practically have a conversation with a wall but I have felt lonelier here that anywhere I have ever lived. Both then and now.
When I lived here during my first stint after college, I went through a banking training program (#1 at the time) and hated it so much by the end that I wished a bus would run me over on my way to work so I didn’t have to open one more checking account. Literally hoped I would get run over. I hated my job. I hated my boyfriend. We had broken up and he came over for dinner one night saying he wanted to talk. He hugged me and told me how much he loved me and had missed me. When I left his embrace and looked at him, I saw that he had a hickey the size of an orange on his neck. What a moron! “Think turtle neck” I yelled while screaming that he should get the hell out of my apartment. While we are friends now, many years later, at the time I felt like a knife had gone through my heart.
I also grew to hate public transportation at the time. I grew up in the burbs but I always found the subway to be an expeditious form of transportation as long as one of the homeless who walked through the cars yelling “I have lice, they jump” didn’t knock into me. Toward the end of my first and only year, I took the subway home during rush hour one day after working said job that I despised. The 6 train at rush hour, as some of you may know or have experienced, can be so crowded that you literally cannot move. When I got off the subway and looked down, I saw that some guy had jerked off all over my skirt and stockings. In shock and horror, I ran, or I should say sprinted, home stripped, jumped in the shower and poured rubbing alcohol all over my legs (yes I am a bit of a germaphobe) and cried.
It’s a lot of “hates” I know….but really I kinda did feel that way….
A day later, I was walking by a Club Med office at lunch and walked in and asked how I could apply for a job. It was quite an application process, head shots included, but three weeks later I had landed a gig at Club Med in Turks and Caicos. As a hostess. All I wanted was a mindless job before I went to law school. My father hung up on me when I told him but I still showed up at his house that weekend with a U-Haul and pretty much all of my belongings. And off to Club Med I went after requesting my law school applications. That had been my original intent after college until I got wrangled into the banking training program by my father. A banker. Shocker I know.
Well, last week I went to see a friend who happens to manage a restaurant in mid-town to talk about my career. Or I should say my sort of lack thereof as I finished 13 months of cancer treatment in December and cancer is a bit of a career killer for one who is self-employed. Anyway, as I sat there and told him that I felt the same sort of urgency to leave NYC as I did when I was 22 he looked me in the eye and said “You know Nik, I just learned last month that this exact space was the Club Med office.” Holy shit! I thought. He went on “and in fact, you are probably sitting exactly where you interviewed.” And I actually was. In this vast city with a population of over 8 million (http://www.google.com/publicdata”>www.google.com/publicdata) and God knows how many venues, I was sitting in the same spot where I started the end of my NY journey the first time. If that isn’t the universe telling you to get the hell out I don’t know what is!
I don’t hate it here. I am just done. Cooked. Well done. And when you know you are done you want to just get on with it and start living your life again. So I am done with cancer. Done with friends that I learned as a result of cancer weren’t really friends. I like to call cancer an “interesting experiment in human behavior” – you learn a heck of a lot about people. Some people you thought would be there disappear. Many in fact. And some people step out of the shadows and are absolutely amazing. It’s like being given a gift. I also now know why dogs are called man’s best friend. I couldn’t have lived without this little guy last year……………………… And now I have a blank canvas and I get to paint it. So what is my “Club Med” now….hum…..ideas? Thoughts? I am very open to suggestions. Thank God for the puppy!
PS – After I wrote this I was referred to Goodbye to all that by Joan Didion. A great read and I totally get it.