There’s a lot of things you don’t realize about New York until you leave. Like the obvious, how crowded, dirty, and noisy it is. How there are traces of pigeon droppings and gentrification on every block. And how people in New York literally don’t give a fuck. In fact, I have a prime example sitting next to me right now.
I’m at the local (crack head) coffeehouse here in Brooklyn and was thrilled when I spotted a decent table in the corner that I immediately grabbed, thankful that no one else had taken it. But then I realized why no one had taken it, there’s a crazy lady sitting just one table over. She’s wearing gloves and sucking her thumb and every now and then she pulls out a giant tub of Vaseline and applies a generous, unnecessary amount, to her lips. There’s a man with her too. He’s wearing some kind of Jamaican cap and I’m pretty sure he’s hiding drugs, a raccoon, or a shit load of cookies in there… I’m not sure I want to find out which one it is either.
About four months ago, I sat in this exact same coffeehouse. It was a disgustingly, humid August day and I was brainstorming ideas for my blog. I’ll admit, I had no idea what I would write about but I knew it would somehow be linked to my caffeinated lifestyle. It feels almost surreal that I’m back here and currently writing my 22nd blog post. After a lot of rambling, crying, laughing, and shaking fists in the air, I finally feel a sense of clarity in my life. And writing is greatly responsible for that.
Its been surprisingly easy to step back into my habitual, New Yorker life style. I walk to the deli and get coffee, I take the train everywhere, I take selfies in the elevator, I eat about five different kinds of ethnic food a day, and I most definitely do not smile at strangers. I’m doing all the things I used to yet it feels different, I feel different.
When I was in Wisconsin, I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing out on something. It also didn’t help that people looked at me like I was mentally ill or in an episode of the Twilight Zone when I told them I had moved from New York to Wisconsin, the responses usually included:
Wisconsinite: “You’re from New York?! Oh my God that is soooooooooo cool”
New Yorker: “…Where’s Wisconsin?”
But being back home has shown me that the only thing I’ve missed is a new Dunkin Donuts and a family of sewer rats that moved into the affordable section of the train tracks. New York will always be a place that breeds familiarity and comfort for me and I now realize that I don’t need to always physically be here in order to consider it my home.
However, what really validated this realization was when man at the deli remembered my coffee and bagel order after several months. It’s nice to know that when I return, I’ll always have a smiling face and a cup of coffee to come back to.