Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Old and New

I was looking around the television yesterday and saw that Made was on. I like that show, the transformations and the work and all that uplifting yet embarassing stuff they show. This episode was about a kid who wanted to be a break dancer.

"Eh," I thought, and went to change the channel.

Then I heard the voiceover begin: "There's nothing special about living in Redmond, Washington....east of Seattle....home of Microsoft...I go to Redmond High School..."

"Guh?!" I said, in shock.

*I* used to live in Redmond! I went to RHS! Holy cow!

A couple years after I graduated, so all the shots of the school meant nothing; it's all pretty and shiny and soulless, like all modern school buildings. However, they showed the kid in his newspaper class, and there was Mr. Kimball! He was the yearbook advisor too, which I did!

Then the coach was eventually introduced: an original breakdancer from the 70s. Where is he from? New York, probably the Bronx (by the accent).

I'll be arriving back in the Seattle area next Tuesday night.

Later in the day, the Special Someone and I went to a nearby bar for drinks. Who do I see on a couple of the big-screen tvs over the bar? The back of Joel Piniero! The Mariners are playing at Yankee Stadium this week.

Okay, is this weird, or what? A New Yorker in my high school, and my baseball team in my new city.

Last weekend, we watched an adorable movie called Little Manhattan. It's about a kid on the Upper West Side who falls in love with a girl in his school and karate class. It's as much about young love as it is about the love of New York. It's full of street scenes and park scenery. The movie was cute and funny and very enjoyable. I loved the New York references. I loved seeing familiar places, like the 72nd Street subway station, or Central Park.

I always get a thrill when I see something familiar on tv or in a movie. I think to myself, hey, I've been there! I know where that is! I can tell you how to get there! etc. Most of the time, those places are in New York, because it's so popular and so familiar to so many people.

I've always heard you have to live in New York for five/seven/ten years before you can call yourself a New Yorker. I am pretty sure I won't be here much longer than three years. Do I even want to call myself a New Yorker? I don't love New York, but I don't hate it either. It's just here. I'd probably feel differently if I lived and/or worked in the city, like the Someone does. Then I could appreciate the energy and magic and blah blah blah. It's neat to walk around among the tourists and smugly think that I actually know where I'm going, and that I can (usually) confidently answer their questions and queries. I feel comfortable here now. It's funny to think that technically, I belong here now. But do I, really?

I must say, I love the money situation of living outside Manhattan. Produce in the Union Square market is twice as expensive as the produce on my block. My rent buys me three times the space for living. Can't argue with that.

When I go back to Seattle, it's going to feel like home...sort of. Things will have changed in the last year. People will have changed. My little sister will have grown taller. My little brother has already started going to class at UW. New housing developments will have popped up as stands of trees will have disappeared. The smog will be worse. So will the traffic. It will be surreal to be somewhere that is at once familiar and different. But since it's familiar and where I came from, do I really belong there, underneath wherever I am now?

*I* will be different. My frame of reference is now New York. My vocabulary and sometimes my accent has adjusted to New York. My educational experience in New York is most certainly different than my educational experience in Seattle.

When I'm here, I talk about there. When I'm there, I'll talk about here.


Where do I really belong?


Lady S said...

They say to call yourself a Vermonter, you have to have 3 (some say 5) generations in the ground.

I say you "are" where you feel the most at home.

Miss Browneyedgirlie said...

I'm asking myself that very same question as I contemplate where I want to teach.

I'll be getting my MA license, but do I want to teach here, or venture to uncharted territory - like Seattle? Or Charlotte?

I have no idea.

I was raised here, but never had a chance to explore Boston - until now. And yet, I'm contemplating leaving.

I can totally relate to this post - 110%.

hedgetoad said...

having lived in NYC for 8 years(!) and now living in western WA, I can say that it's really hard choice. While the produce may be cheaper, (and I will debate that) it is generally of lesser quality... the rents may be lesser (again, debatable) for more space, there is little that is convenient to that space.

Which is the worse commute? 3rd level of hell subway platform or sitting on I-405 for hour? Which is the worse Christmas shopping trip? Weaving through the crowds in Hearld Square or trying to find a parking spot at the mall?

I'm just sayin'.