|Putting the 'family values' in 'horrendous, unstoppable nuclear apocalypse'|
This is not to say I don't love it here, cause I absolutely do. I'm usually the first to jump all over out of towners, pointing out that we have culture and shopping and taxis and comedy and theater and a park. I love bragging about how I don't need to leave the block to find every single thing I need to survive and how I can have pizza, laundry, and a questionable Craigslist masseuse delivered to my front door without even having to put on pants. Practice note - Dear Lonely Planet does not condone eating pizza without wearing pants: mangia at your own risk.
But this past weekend, I broke free of NYC's gravitational tether and took a road trip with the 'rents down to the University of Virginia. My lil bro was graduating, so I went to go support him and yell inaudibly as Pomp And Circumtance blared through hastily assembled towers of speakers. Truth be told I also went down cause I knew I was gonna get in a night of college-style fun, but ostensibly it was cause I'm an awesome brother. During my hours of down time, strolling through Monticello and learning from my father what ginko biloba leaves look like, the wash of calm that exists in nearly every non-gotham washed over me. Stress melted like so many shreds of mozzarella on the slices I wouldn't be eating at 4 a.m. that night; anxiety flowed down like the trash water I wouldn't have to jump over to cross the street.
What was this strange sensation I was experiencing? Could it be...peace? Could I actually live in a place outside of the East Village of Manhattan and not go crazy with boredom, finding instead the simple pleasure of, oh, I dunno, dog ownership? Might the two grand a month I was spending on rent be put towards an actual house that has a yard and a bbq out back that will most likely not be peed on by a homeless person someday? Good lord, I thought to myself, New York is killing me!
Don't start hatin' on me or say "oh Eric, now that you're thirty you're slowing down." I'm just as ridiculous as I ever was! I've attacked the work hard / play hard dichotomy with aggressive zeal ever since I found out you could drink and still get good grades my Freshman year of college. Well, Bs, at any rate. But it was once again made clear to me that I really don't have to do that! Sure, the Onion covered this territory a while back with their aptly titled "8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live" but I needed to see the forest for the trees for my eyes to open.
I'm sure after a few days I'll start thinking about how I'm happy I don't have to drive places, knocking out my current thought that I wish I had a car with a/c to get around town. After two weeks I'll tell myself I couldn't live without walking to a comedy show, a burlesque show, three happy hours, a Cuban sandwich place, and an all night diner without turning off of Avenue A, but for now I'm just annoyed that I have to pay 7 bucks for a beer while I'm doing it.
In a month, I'll probably regret ever claiming I wanted to leave this place. NYC is my home and I do love it, but I gotta wonder if it's only cause I'm not living more than 120 miles away.