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September Surrender: Day 14

What I’m Letting Go: Ride to Nowhere

I’m feeling pretty let down by this city lately. That shouldn’t be a surprise. I’ve written about it so damn many times. But today it hit harder than it had any right to. I know I’m an emotional wreck over the situation with my mother, so that didn’t help. But this was on an entirely different level though, as it seemed everywhere I turned was just one disappointment after the other.

I hopped on the subway after work because I had to go to NoHo for a second. I’ll talk more about that later. The second I got into the car I knew things were weird. I saw so many people in masks. Like moreso than usual. Young people with heavy-duty KN-95’s. Why? What in the world is happening? I really kept my disgruntled stares to a minimum, but it was hard. It’s creepy when you’re only greeted by the eyes. I didn’t futz around on my phone like everyone else was doing. So I looked up at the ads that run above the seats. The entire car was adorned with a new Dove campaign. They want New York to #FreeThePits. It’s to make ladies feel better about their underarms. Apparently 6 out of 10 “of us” admit to judging another woman’s underarm situation. It was just woman after woman with her pit raised. I just didn’t understand it whatsoever. A migrant woman selling snacks walked by. It’s hard not to acknowledge someone trying to make a buck, but I just can’t with this self-inflicted situation. So I turned my attention elsewhere to notice a relatively cute guy standing over me. He didn’t have airbuds in, which was a nice change of pace, but my surprise turned to shock when I noticed he was wearing a Hillary 2016 campaign shirt. In 2023. Sigh. I just literally cannot even.

It really came to my attention today that no matter how much I have good thoughts for this city, it might still just be as steadfast as it’ll ever be. No matter what I want to happen in order to make things better, this may just be the liberal shtihole it’s always been. This coincides with the day’s discovery phase, but part of me has to let go of these thoughts I have that New York City will ever be great again. Or I have to at least acknowledge the city has a ridiculous road ahead. We can’t just Giuliani all that’s gone on here. Or can we? Hmm.

What I’ve Discovered: A Whole New World

I got off the subway and walked onto Houston street. As I walked east, I couldn’t help but verbally express my discontent at a sign on a nearby newsstand: “CAPITALISM IS THE PERVERSION OF OPPRESSED LOVE.” I read it out loud and then practically shouted “What the FUCK does that mean?!” I was in another world for sure, and I was only about fifty blocks south of where I usually hang out.

I walked up to where I was going, admiring how different things look in this neighborhood. If you’re not from New York or haven’t spent significant time here, you’re not really aware of just how varied each neighborhood’s personalities are. Some are more liberal that others. Or gayer. Mine’s just a hub where people pass through when they’re near Central Park. And it’s fine. It’s all New York. It’s all unique. I saw an absolutely stunning slate-colored building whose brickwork was laid out like siding on a counry home. Another standalone building had ornate carvings on each of its four floors. This city is a masterpiece, even as it crumbles under our feet.

As I travel the country with the hope of one day visiting all fifty states (thirty-three under my belt now), I realized just how diverse each state is. They’re like their own little countries, each with a character all their own. A dialect, a popular food or saying, monuments particular to the region. It’s nice knowing the place I’m from is like its own little microcosm for the rest of the country that envelops it. I can walk only a few blocks and be in another world with so much more to discover. Even below Houston Street, where you can’t tell if you’re on the east or west side of Manhattan, you can turn any which corner and find your new favorite thing. And even though this city has a lot of rough edges, I can see what makes it special. Now if I could only treat the other boroughs with such reverence, then I’d be on easy street.

What I Hope to Find: Hot Child in the City

I see pregnant women every where I go. It’s been happening a lot in the last few days. In a city of eight million people with the idea that roughly half of them are women, it’s not going to be the biggest shock in the world to find a pregnant lady walking around. It feels excessive lately, though. Like all the winter boredom babies are about to get the chance to spring into action. I’m trying not to let it get to me. It just feels kind of purposeful. Like I’m being mocked. I know that’s impossible and irrational, but it’s how I feel.

Each time I see a pregnant woman, all I think of is how I wish that were me. How I want it to be me. How I have no clue how that can possibly be me. But I’d like to find a better attitude about this. Because at some point in my life, I’d see all these coincidences as a sign of things to come. For now, I’m filled with jealousy. But maybe I won’t be soon. Maybe I’ll be just as lucky to be loved enough to carry a baby. To bring a baby into this world fulla a-holes so i can teach her how to navigate through it. How to appreciate where she comes from, even if she’s mad at it most of the time, or how she doesn’t understand all she sees around her.

I can’t feel let down anymore. I have to bring myself back up. It’s my choice to slip into despair or envy. I’m better than that. Just like I’ll always think New York is better than this.

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