While I tell people I’m from Los Angeles, I’m actually from Orange County. And the thing about Orange County is that life is easy. Too easy. The only thing that’s actually hard about it is that it’s hard to get out. So one day I told myself that if I ever did get out, I would celebrate with a bottle of wine. I would toast no one in particular…just a symbolic gesture of my hard fought emancipation.
I’ve finally made it to Manhattan, city of lights and apples, bagels, galoshes, and rancid subway stations. I kept the promise to myself as I christened my dorm with a bottle of Chianti Riserva circa 2002. I turned on the tele and thank God…I have HBO. Problem is, I don’t have a remote control and I can’t manually change the channel. I’m fully at the mercy of the Divine comedy.
(Note: I use “Divine comedy” a bit tongue-in-cheek. By divine comedy, I don’t mean Dante… I mean to say that there are certain moments in our lives when you feel like you’re the star of the Truman Show. A moment so perfectly contrived that it’s as if someone is writing the script to your story. I absolutely LIVE for moments like these.)
So I turn on the TV, and it’s Sex and the City.
At first, I laugh to myself…thought I’d maybe turn it off and read. But then I realized that turning it off was tantamount to sacrilege. Who was I to defy the almighty will of the Divine comedy? Some cosmic force sent these women, Samantha, Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte to welcome me into their city. Of course I had to watch. So I said to hell with it. I spent my first night in New York with a bottle of wine, cursing Big’s selfishness, admiring Carrie’s exquisite wedding gown and celebrating the enduring bonds of friendship.
All in all, a very fine evening indeed. The movie pretty much delivered on its name too. Plenty of sex, and more importantly, plenty of the City. New York City.
New York City. I get it all the time. What’s the difference between LA and NYC? Which is better? I always say that the city you’re from (love it or hate it) is the best. But unless you’re from Alaska or somewhere in the Midwest, you know that LA and NYC couldn’t be more different. Here’s the un-authoritative list:
You know you’re a New Yorker if…
- You DON’T look both ways when crossing the streets. New Yorkers use their peripherals to sense oncoming traffic and if you tilt your head too far in one direction, you lose membership to the “Muthafucka, I was born and RAISED in Brooklyn!” club. If you look both ways, you haven’t realized that streets run one-way. At this point, you should just make it official. Don your “I Love NY” T-shirt, eat an onion bagel and take a picture on top of the Empire State Building.
- You can sleep standing up.
- You’re a woman who can lift twice as much as any other average woman in America. This isn’t to say that New York women are grotesquely mannish. It means that they don’t have cars to pile in their groceries, clothes, bags, and children. And since most New York women are career driven, they don’t always have the functional accessory known as “men”. Instead, they carry heavy bags from store to store and to their homes. If you try to help them, you run the risk of being maced in the face.
- You’re a pedestrian and you better remember one thing. You never have the right-of-way.
- You get a sparkle in your eye when someone asks you for directions. Besides brunch and going to Soho, a New Yorkers’ favorite pastime is to recite for memory as many routes to one destination as possible. I’ve had to ask for directions once or twice so far, and each time, I’ve received four sets of different routes. Not only did I get subway connections, I got bus transfers, ferries, horse and carriage routes, and flights out of La Guardia. It’s their badge of honor.
- You know how to layer clothing as opposed to having layers of clothing on.
- You can operate comfortably in small spaces. I went grocery shopping and I lost my cart. How? In the two minutes it took to assess fabric softeners, people who saw my cart as an obstruction took the liberty of moving it into the produce aisle. On the subway ride home, I was so close to one gentleman that I literally counted his curly back hairs against his straight ones. On the elevator ride up to my dorm room, I asked someone to push 10 but sadly, no one could move their arms to reach. And when I got home, I realized just how badly I wanted to sprint naked on a beach. Or fly naked through the air. Just Something…naked.
- You hear a different nuance to sentences: “That’s a nice landscape.”… “Did you notice the different kinds of chairs?”…“You can get that for $2 less if you go 56 blocks downtown.”… “Inside? Why would I want to eat inside?”…
After I watched the movie, I took a stroll around my new neighborhood. And in one more shining moment of Divine comedy, I set my Ipod on Shuffle and before I knew it, I was humming along to Sarah McLachlan.
“I will remember Yoouuuuu…Will you remember me? Don’t let your life, pass you by…Weep not for memoriesssss.”
And that’s when I knew that someone up there wanted desperately for me to fall in love with this cramped, hostile, energetic, absolute joy of a place. It doesn’t make much sense, I know. But my homegirl Carrie says it best.
“It wasn’t logic—It was love”