New York State of Mind May 17th, 2010
There is the life I have. And there is the life I want. Much of the time they look a lot alike. But there are times when real life takes a back seat to dream life and I spend a handful of days contemplating something I wish I had. This happens every time I go to New York.
On Thursday morning GAP and I loaded up into a cab, said goodbye to IEP (who was much more interested in the presence of said cab than in the fact that Mama and Dada were leaving in it), and motored to the airport. Leaving my baby behind was difficult, but was eased by thoughts of a weekend of sleeping in, dinners with friends, shows, baseball games, and drooling over my favorite city in the world.
It’s not the bright lights that get to me. It’s the aggregated experience of a thousand little things that I love: The smell of street food, the brownstones, the pre-theatre menus, the way the park fills up on a sunny afternoon, the strollers everywhere, hearing more foreign languages than English being spoken around me, and the normalizing effects in being in a place where you are almost always in the middle of any demographic continuum.
When I’m in New York I feel like a child with her face pressed up against the glass of a beautiful window display. I want what I see, but it doesn’t (at least right now) belong to me. I imagine myself there, not as a vacationer, but as a resident. I dream up scenarios about what kind of life I would have. And I contemplate how serious I am about all of these daydreams.
And then I come home. I come home to my sturdy house, my affectionate dogs, and my perfect son. I come home to a city that is comfortable and familiar. I come home to a place that knows me as well as I know it. I come home to a life that is good and happy and satisfying. And I wonder if I’m being unreasonable. All this lusting after a life I’ve invented in my head, is it innocent or not? Living a life that wants for nothing, am I an utter ingrate to think about a life that might offer more?
I’d like to find some tidy conclusion to these questions. I’d like to say that I’ve thought them through, arrived and an answer and say The End. But I haven’t, and so I will end this post honestly by saying that I don’t know. I know what I think I want. I don’t know if it will meet my expectations if I someday have it. And I don’t know if I have any business wanting anything more than the life I already have. Wanting more is a tricky thing. It helps us strive. But it also suggests that the here and now aren’t good enough. And, at least for me, that isn’t completely true.
This post was inspired by the topic of “lust” as a part of Momalom’s Five for Ten week. I was a little late in getting my link for Friday’s topic of “Memory” posted, so if you missed it, scroll down or click here.