OK, I'm Here

Be careful what you wish for they'll tell you; you just might get it.

I wished, I pushed, I plotted, and planned and I'm here. Now what? I came here to write, and I write. There are eight million stories in the naked city.

I came here to find a publisher for my book and a book contract for the next one, already written in my head. That ain't gonna be so easy. Maybe I'll self publish.

I came here to get away from car dependency, and that I've done. And I'm lost (although I'm learning fast). I'm lost in the subway, lost in the streets. The way that seemed so clear to me before, doesn't now...

The restaurant food is so expensive--as it is most anywhere--and I've got no kitchen, no fridge. But the "street" food is pretty good. The hot almonds, the falafel and rice, the bagels, the fresh fruit...sold on the street- the Brooklyn pizza! The rents are so high, and so many people who live here are struggling to pay their rent. How am I gonna find an apartment I can afford? A woman, sitting on the sidewalk outside the Manhattan main library, says she's lived in Manhattan all her life. Now she's living on the streets.

This Thanksgiving was the first I wasn't with family. This is not a good thing.

It wasn't a good thing for the young guy sitting under scaffolding on Fifth Avenue, either. There he was sheltered from the drizzling rain, but not from the cold. According to his cardboard sign, he is alone and broke, and wishes for a family. I gave him a dollar and left him alone. And I wondered: how can someone so young be alone. Where are his parents?

I too was alone in this great city I love-- have always loved. I don't care about turkey. I've been a vegetarian for at least ten years. On Thanksgiving you're supposed to be with people you love, who love you back. I love ya, New York, but you are not a person, and we've been apart for a long, long time.

Like distant relatives you visit once or twice a year, but you wouldn't live with. Like boyfriends or girlfriends who were bad ideas. Maybe our time together has passed, New York, and should stay in the past? Maybe.

You, New York, are full of people like me: writers, musicians, artists, dancers and poets who have a need to use the expression of their talents and abilities to contribute to the world. They need somebody to take a chance on them, and I need somebody to take a chance on me.

It sounds like I'm trying to talk myself into something--or out of something. I know I don't want to go backwards. Backwards doesn't work for me. Once I've learned its lessons, I don't relive the past.

So what's the deal, New York? Will we be living together, or is there something else ahead? I left Florida because I don't do well in the heat--hate humidity--and it hates me. I'm not young anymore, and that, unfortunately, counts for a lot. For one thing, resilience is a youthful trait. So is idealism--although too much idealism can be an impediment; it can throw a veil over reality. Idealism without sustained and focused action is just another drug. And I've got the battle scars to prove it.

Today it's warmer, sunnier. I visited Strawberry Fields, which as most people know, is a section of Central Park that's dedicated to the memory of John Lennon. My reaction there surprised me. I became emotional, struggled to hold back tears.

John Lennon was an outspoken advocate for peace. He practiced what he preached: love, tolerance, peace. For his efforts, he was murdered by a deranged gunslinger. Maybe that's what made me almost cry. The naked injustice of his death.

At the Park entrance, there was a guy playing guitar, singing John's songs. Along the path leading into Strawberry Fields, a vendor's cart was set up, selling political buttons bearing slogans like "No War" and anti-Bush propaganda. Not that I voted for him, but this is not a political blog.

A few years ago, I would have been drawn to this. Not only did I buy political buttons; I wore them. I couldn't pass a picket line without picking up a sign.

Slogans and causes are everywhere. You have to choose your fights and causes. Consciously and mindfully. I know what's important, and it's completely non partisan. John knew too, and he demonstrated it every day in the way he lived his life.

I'm not on drugs, and I have no illusions about bright lights and big cities. NYC doesn't know I'm here and doesn't care. And why should she? What have I done for New York lately?

You, New York, are a great and beautiful city. Your energy is magnificent, and many good people live with you. I like you; I just don't know if I can live with you anymore. If there's a way for me to live here with dignity, I have to find it --and soon, very soon

I'm not young, (I'm a very proud grandma) and thus, I don't have forever. And I long ago gave up the notion that struggle is somehow romantic. I have struggled, and I've paid my dues-- literally-- in blood, sweat, and tears. Now, finally, I want some recognition and some rest. (But not too much rest)

On the way to the sirport a song was playing on the radio. The words went like this:
"So come on and let me know, should I stay or should I go?" (The Clash)

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