Tuesday, July 25, 2006

DAILY REPORT: Still A New Yorker - Monday, July 24

Well it is official. I am no longer a New Yorker. I have been living in Southern California for 5 years now so you would think that this statement is long over do and it probably is. So what is different about today? I got my California Driver's License and they punched a hole through my New York one. This should be totally ridiculous considering I never drove in New York. Why would you? Subways, legs, busses and cabs were my modes of transportation. So it is not like I am even remotely sentimental about the license specifically but it is this very official tie to New York. If you grew up in a place like New York City you would know it is much more like its own country than just a place somewhere in between the borders of America. It is my Home Land basically.

I have also just finished reading a biography, Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time, by an old college mate, David Goodwillie. We were in the same class at Kenyon College and hung out with the same people basically and were both in NYC during the same time. He is still there. Except for the last chapter the whole book takes place during pre-911. This is the NYC I know as a young adult. I of course know all the New Yorks that came before that as I lived there basically my entire life. That NYC of my 20's no longer exists. So part of me is sad because I am totally homesick but I also realize that what I am homesick for no longer actually exists. And the person I was back then no longer exists either. This is of course all very bittersweet. Every single restaurant, bar and club mentioned in the book, I had been to at least once if not on a regular basis. Vodka at Pravda, Petaluma, Florent after parties, Wax, Bar Pitti in the summer, 6 a.m. at Robots, Moules Frites at Lucky Strike with tons of cigarettes and so on and so on. David actually mentions how these places are sort of like markers in your life. I wish I could find the quote because I had to chuckle as it was just what I had been thinking while reading this book. I only ran into him once at fashion show hosted by GenArt for up and coming designers. He was working for the liquor company that was providing the much needed booze. Then I saw him at a few college parties. I am surprised I did not run into him more often. But with the mention of every place I know so well, I am brought back to all my old memories and they get all stirred up and brought right up front to the top of my thoughts. I read the book in two nights before I fell asleep. Well actually, Sunday I had complete insomnia after reading it; I literally never slept. All those memories swirling around along with reflections about what and where I am now compared to what I was then kept my mind to engaged to sleep. Taking a job to afford going out to all these places a young hip single woman wants to go to, hating that job so completely and getting another job that goes no where but gives me a glimpse of what could be, a new job with a lower salary, debt, way too much partying, working hard and getting 5 promotions in a year, depression, more shoes than I can count, lots of attractive men and quite a few very bad boyfriends. Those might sound like negatives and yes, they were but they were also my life which I actually really really enjoyed with all my friends who were going through the same stuff in our 20's. Read the book.

Then today I ALSO went to see The Devil Wears Prada. I really needed a couple of hours to myself and more than that I needed air-conditioning desperately. For a couple of years in NYC, I worked for a woman who was definitely nicer but almost as demanding as the character based on Anna Wintour's character. So it hits home. But more than the story it was the fact that is showed scenes of the city and many of them just a couple of blocks from where I grew up in SoHo. Of course, as I watch, I know the real scenes behind making the movie. I picture how incredibly annoying those movie trucks are when they descend upon the area to film some blockbuster movie. The day my moving truck was picking up all my 42 boxes and my Grandfather's desk to drive it all out to California, a big movie was being shot, Unfaithful, and my dad had to broker a deal to get them to keep a space on the street so my moving company could load up. All the while, piles and piles of paper and newspaper were strewn across the streets for the scene where she falls down and scrapes her knee and thus starting the whole plot line. But back to Prada, tons and tons of people on the street all rushing around. Subways and taxis flying by in the background, young people communing for drinks after a long hard day and so and so forth. The book reminded me more of the job while the movie reminded me more of the city.

So I basically had a big emphasis on NYC in the past three days and then they put that hole in my license. My husband was so glad I finally did it but I was not. I burst into tears. Homesick. Homesick for NYC and all that brings and Homesick for my family and friends. And it does not help that I am not going back there or to Newport, R.I. either this summer which is a horrid thing.

But I have my life here, a lovely little life with a sweet husband and two precious boys. I am making a home here. That idea always makes me twitch a little. Not the idea of making a home; the idea of making it here. I am a New Yorker even if I have a hole in my license.


Kalyn said...

I haven't experienced it myself but I understand how you feel. BTW, I love Newport RI, I have a good friend who lives there.

doodles said...

gabriella - may I share with you the very same story almost exactly to the wimpering tears. But my story went from west, California to east, Connecticut. I know from where you are coming and it was never easy. I was always saying my home is where my husband is. It was like my mantra....LOL
I laugh about it now but gads it was hard. Hang in there and if I can help give a holler.


Gabriella True said...

Kalyn, My mom has a house in Newport and we love to go there as much as we can.

Doodles - So I bet you think CT is a strange place. My dh is from West Hartford.

aria said...

hi gabriella, great post. your twins, they are adorable :) i'm from RI too but dont get back much...

Tanna said...

Home is such an amazing place isn't it. I was reading a blog yesterday and the woman was noting she had now been a mother longer than she had not. I find my self having been a mother over half again as not. I only lived with my parents 18 years, my husband for almost 40. I recently returned to a small town where I only lived 2 years (for a year at a time) my entire life but still consider that my home town where I'm from. When I was younger, I think home really was a place. Much like you describe being from NYC. The older I get, the more places home seems to be but it is always and really only the people I love. But all of those "homes" are now and will always be me.
Your jicama and beet salad sounds really interesting, I love to see it (recipe). Hope you find the mandoline. It actually pays to buy a big bag of potatoes and or carrots and put them through the mandoline - mastery is a comfortable feeling. That's why I pull it out for some fairly small jobs.

doodles said...

No CT is not strange at all just like anywhere else. Just not home

Gabriella True said...

Aria - Thanks! Another RI person

Doodles - Well I am glad it is not strange to you. Home is not Home.

Tanna - I made the salad tonight and it turned out so nicely. refreshing. Yes, even though I was in NYC for my whole life, I can understand how one would see a place they lived when they were young for 2 years as their "home". There are certain formative places that will always be a home to us. Thanks for sharing your story.

Paz said...

Hi there! Wonderful post! I can relate to many things you've written. After so many years, I still don't have a license. As you pointed out, living in NYC, you don't really need one with all the other modes of 24hour transportation.

I enjoy watching movies filmed in NYC. I recognize just about all the locations... They film a lot in my neighborhood (which can be annoying)...

I love to travel and visit different places, but I'm always happy to return HOME to NYC. I can't imagine i any other way.

It's nice that you've been able to adjust to life away from NYC and have a lovely family.


Gabriella True said...

Thanks so much for sharing Paz! I am so glad to have found kindered spirits in this!

I hate to drive.