Friday, October 20, 2006

Recent Reminders of the Constant Passage of Time

Today it was cold when I got off work. The standing air was still warm, but I could feel a sharp chill in the wind. There is something about subtly drastic changes in the weather that make me very sentimental. I evaluate my life quantitatively, almost like a quarterly business report: where am I, what am I doing, how did I get here, where will I go, should I wear better shoes? I usually end up with more questions than I do answers. But that is refreshing in itself, I suppose.

I have an hour long subway ride home from work everyday. Today a rather large, older man sat down next to me at the 42nd street stop. He was whistling. The tune was excrutiatingly familial; something I recognized from my childhood, associated with my grandma. He was a beautiful whistler. His song grew softer and slower and then stopped completely. He lulled himself to sleep. Almost in tears, I wanted to hug him all the way home.

I was given a very tedious project at work Tuesday that took up most of my day. The instructions were simple: "use a paper cutter to cut down sheets of paper with the updated prices for the catalog, which would then be pasted into the catalogs. (Not by me. That would be sadistic.) Do this 2400 times." My eyes began to blur, my brain turned off, I became a machine. I went home in a complete fog. I don't remember the subway ride.

I read an article in this month's issue of Harper's on the subway yesterday. A woman was recounting the descent of her grandmother from an active being into an inert mass of flesh. She told passionate tales of Saturday night dances and dress making with sisters, which were promptly rebutted with scenes of delirium and terror when the grocery store, and her own living space, became unfamiliar. She slowly began to lose her vocabulary. She forgot her loves, one by one. Her life was erased in her own mind.

I have been very melancholy lately. I am extremely content in my new job and am generally happy all around. i just feel more aware of my surroundings. i notice the details that make my life unique from everyone else's life. i'm terrified of growing old, feeling like i've wasted my life and losing those i hold most dear. I'm not sure what it is about autumn that makes me feel this way. i think it could be the leaves.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Momma in the City

My mother came to visit me in New York City. She stayed exactly one week. I can't be sure if she'll ever come back, but we had a good time.

In front of my apartment. This picture was taken on the morning of her flight home. We look very tired because we are very tired. And it was early. I didn't sleep very well the entire time my mother was in town. She slept with me while Robert slept on the sofabed. I kept having nightmares in which Robert would leave me for another woman. After living hundreds of miles away from someone and adjusting to only talking to them on the phone, it is difficult to share the same bed for a week, no matter how much you love them. And yes, I understand that it is weird, but come on y'all, she's my Momma.

At Toys'R'Us in Times Square. Spiderman is in the process of saving us from an awful villan. No? But Robert did take a great picture, right? Yeah he did. And look at how afraid my momma is. That is REAL. My mother has no interest in toys, but I just wanted to show her that even though most of the apartments are tee-tiny, New York City knows when to go big. Inside the Toys'R'Us in Times Square one can find a fully functional, full size gondola ferris wheel, a massive lego cityscape, and a GIANT T-Rex that moves and roars (like in Jurassic Park.) Momma was impressed.

Under a tree in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Momma, like some other people from back home, only knows New York City from what she sees on TV and in movies. When calling home to talk, I would often hear comments like, "Don't you miss grass?" and "Do you have ANY trees there?" I showed Momma lots and lots and lots of trees. She agreed that my neighborhood is charming.

On the steps at the Met. Momma's first full day in the city. We walked a lot. She kept up. I was impressed. The Met was really overwhelming. We tried to pace ourselves, but only managed to see the Egyptian wing, European paintings, and a photo essay on the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. Completely exhausted we took a rest on the steps. The weather was nice.

On the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry is amazing. The view of lower Manhattan is breathtaking and it goes right past the Statue of Liberty. We rode to Staten at sunset and came back when it was dark, after the city turned on. The moment right before docking in Manhattan is really overwhelming. The city seems to be right on top of you.

First ride on the subway. This was exciting. Despite all the other differences, the people and the food, in New York, the subway was the most foreign to my mother. She studied people intently. She was perplexed by the subway map. She loved the crazies.

In lush, green Brooklyn. We had a fun week together. We argued about everything, like you do, but it was wonderful to have the opportunity to share this new, exciting part of my life with her. It was a very special time, and I feel very fortunate to be able to appreciate that immediately.