I’m home from a weeklong trip to New York and Washington D.C. It was a good week. I got to spend time with people I like very much, doing work and learning new things and just playing a little. In New York, the first day I was there, I decided I wanted to actually go into Macy’s on 34th street. I tried in N ovember, but the crowds were overwhelming, so I left. So, on the first morning in Manhattan, I set out for a long walk. I put on my raincoat and scarf and my iPod and headed down Fifth Avenue. I set the iPod for “Shuffle songs,” which has such a nice effect. It plays whatever I need to hear in the moment. A little Arjona, Martina, Patsy Cline, Paul Simon, some Abraham and Rhonda Byrne (the Secret), followed by the Beatles. Like a cosmic playlist. I just felt like I was in a little cocoon of my own making, present but not part of it all.
On about 42nd Street, I witnessed a fight between a couple out on the street – a little shoving which was quickly ended, then lots of screaming. She accused him of being a Fucking Guinea, and he just yelled “Fuck You!” They were probably back home together by evening. (What’s a Guinea, anyway?) He was white and she wasn’t. Don’t know what she was, but his whiteness seemed pivotal to her. When I came upon it, on the shoving, I wondered if this was one of those situations where some stranger (me) has to tell someone to quit shoving someone around. But that part ended and they left in separate directions. New York could easily bring out strong emotions, I can imagine. The intensity of such a densely populated place has a power unlike what I’m accustomed to here in Chico where one can still park right in front of the airport.
Now that I’m home, I have to resituate myself within my life. When I am away from home, I remember it different from how it actually is. In my memory it is how I’d like it to be, not necessarily how I left it. That has drawbacks. It is discouraging to come home to all that needs to be done to make home match the image I carry of it. The idea of resituation is one that compels me to do something different, something to create the safe haven I carry in my mind. It is also about remembering where I fit in my life. My work, my friends, my goals and dreams. It seems that being away, living in the moment – walking on Fifth Avenue with my Cosmic Playlist – leaves all the uncertainties on a shelf back at home. Now I’m home and must pick it all up again. I’d like to do so with some measure of grace.