My out-of-sight-out-of-mind quandary from a few nights ago met its inverted match today. I took a seven-year-old on a picnic at Pier 45 and for a visit to the playground at Pier 51. The weather was perfect, as it has been nearly every day this summer–so much so that I almost don’t appreciate it anymore.
We played for a while in the sun and then decided to seek out an ice cream cone. We walked down to Christopher Street, and I realized that I hadn’t yet walked on Christopher from the West Side Highway to Hudson, which isn’t a very long stretch, but it was new and foreign enough to surprise me. And it was exciting. It was a new discovery that I haven’t had in a while. I pride myself on my extensive knowledge of this city in which I have lived for eight months (ha!), and I like to think there’s little I haven’t seen.
I know I sound ridiculous. I mean, I’ve only ventured to Brooklyn thrice, and I’ve never been above 142nd Street, so the majority of this city is still a foreign land, but I am getting to know the well-trodden parts of this town as well as any other newcomer ever has.
I moved here because I have always wanted to be here, but also because I’ve always wanted to be everywhere. I possess an insatiable desire to move, but also to know and possess the moved-to places. I want to go somewhere (i.e., everywhere) and conquer it (i.e., possess an navigable understanding of its subway map), and then go somewhere else (i.e., everywhere else) and do the same.
It’s a problem. It wasn’t too long after I got here that I began experiencing the all too familiar longings for Somewhere Else–San Francisco or Seattle or India. And now that I know this city as well as I do, I’m ready for a new challenge. For there are so many places I don’t yet know.
So, as greatly as I fear that I will always struggle to remain in love with what is distant from me, I also fear that I will be unable to remain in love with what is staring me in the face on the daily. No matter how beautiful or magical it may be.
I am in love with this place. And it’s different than the love that is awe-induced. It’s the love of familiarity and memory. It doesn’t appear on a whim. It isn’t fabricated. It doesn’t return in the morning without a good bit of prodding. It must be insisted upon.
I do hope I am insistent enough.
Streets Walked: Clarkson St. to West Side Highway to Christopher St. to 7th Ave. to Clarkson St. to 7th Ave. 31st St. to 6th Ave. to 59th St. to 5th Ave. to 118th St. to Home
Sights Seen: Big Gay Ice Cream Shop