Friday, June 13, 2008

I Hate New York. Today.

If nothing else, I think I am pretty self-aware. I know about most of my many, many flaws. One of the more prominent ones is that no matter where I am or what I am doing, I would always rather be somewhere else and doing something different.

Recently, I was in the position of possibly losing my job at the end of June. All signs pointed toward my present employer not renewing my contract, but bee-Aitch, I was offered a nice renewal at least until the end of the year, a rather sweet deal actually. So how do I feel? Relieved? Happy? No. Now I am disappointed that I have to postpone that long, overseas vacation that I've been dreaming about. If my contract had not been renewed, I'd be sweating over the lost income, even though I'm financially prepared for a break in work time. I'm never happy. Never ever happy.

For the five years that I was married, I lived in a medium-sized community outside of New York, or, as we egocentric Nuyawkuhs like to refer to these places, "Out-of-Town." I was pointedly miserable for the first year or two, missing my relatives, my friends, my lifestyle, the kosher restaurants, reasonably priced kosher food, etc. As I got more settled in Out-of-Town, made friends, started enjoying my job, got very involved with the Jewish community, etc. I started to reluctantly like Out-of-Town. By the time I had to leave, I had a thorough appreciation for Out-of-Town, and didn't want to come back. But the divorce didn't really give me much of a choice, as the frum single forty-something guys were all here in Ir Hakodesh, and my family was here, and it seemed very important to put many miles between me and The Ex. In retrospect, it was a good decision.

Doesn't mean I can't complain about it. I'm never happy. I'm never, ever happy.

I just spent Shavuos in a different Out-of-Town community down South, with some family members. Whenever I spend some time outside of New York, it always takes me about two weeks or so after I return to stop hating New York. I expect it. At this point, even my friends expect it. My roommate said to me "how long are we going to have to hear you bitch about New York this time?" when she picked me up at the airport. I laughed, because she hates New York even more than I do. Actually, almost everyone I know who lives here hates New York just a little bit, on some level, even my fellow native New Yorkers. We all seem to be here for a good reason, whether it's for family, custody arrangements, dating, work, etc. No one I know is in New York because they love it and want to be here. At least, no one admits that. In Out-of-Town, I've met tons of people who have just picked up and moved because they love Out-of-Town. They truly love it. They love the lifestyle, the slower pace, the easy traffic, the cheaper and larger houses with the enormous rolling lawns. They love being able to have their children play in the backyard without worrying about predators. They love that their morning commute to work is 13 minutes, with traffic. They love being able to wear a nice sweater and skirt to shul and not feeling underdressed. They love the fact that people don't behave like animals when they drive. There is a lot to love about Out-of-Town.

What don't they love? They don't love the lack of a really strong art-culture; there is no where to go on Sunday afternoon that you haven't really gone to three hundred times before. They don't love the lack of kosher restaurants. Out-of-Town had maybe four decent kosher places, whose menus I had memorized, having been to each of them at least a thousand times. They don't love the lack of nightlife. In Out-of-Town, if you didn't like bars, the nightlife consisted of a movie and Starbucks. Period. Nothing else was open past 8 except for Target. They miss not having a substantially sized religious community, which is ironic, because that's also what people hate about New York. But with size comes choice, and sometimes choice is nice to have. New York is also near many other communities, while Out-of-Town communities are often geographically isolated, and so even living in New York, I have the choice of spending my Shabbos somewhere else without getting on a plane, and can drive back in time to make it to work on time next week. I have the entire East Coast in my reach.

Today, I hate New York. I do. It's smelly and noisy and I hate driving on the Belt. Gas is $4.20/gallon and people act like boorish idiots.

But by the end of the month, I'll be okay again. I'll probably spend a Shabbos or two near the beach somewhere. I'll probably eat at a few five-star kosher restaurants once or twice. I'll see my family and I'll probably buy something at Eichlers when I'm in Brooklyn. I'll take one of my nieces to MOMA and really enjoy it. And I'm sure I'll go out with friends for some late night sushi on Thursday night. And I'll begrudgingly admit that it's not so bad.

1 comment:

starchild said...

I really do not know why people say they hate the big apple? having been born here and lived most of my life here, I can't think of living anywhere else.

I always thought I could not leave NYC b/c of the food, i.e. pizza, bagels, deli etc. but now that I keep Passover 365 days a year, meaning I live a gluten free lifestyle due wheat allergy not CD, I can now leave NYC and not worry about bagels, pizza etc...

Oahu here I come...