Friday, April 3, 2009

Back down to earth

It is was one of those weeks -- nothing disastrous, no triumph, but a bit like the moment in the Loony Tunes cartoons where the coyote speeds of the edge off a cliff and momentum carries him forward, until he notices he is standing on thin air, pauses to reflect on it, and then goes crashing down. Well it's like that except that rather than being poised on thin air above a Grand-Canyon type cliff I've been about 30,000 feet off the ground, more or less the height of a commercial jetliner flying between cities...

I've always known that I couldn't sustain my pace of travel over the last four years. It's true that eventually I have adapted myself to it, if not to enjoy it. Champagne and films helped to cure the transcontinental blues when I was flying from London to New York and the view of New York from the Triborough Bridge dispelled any doubts about coming back to New York every weekend from Boston.

But in every dimension you can measure it (social, mental, physical, and indeed financial -- that least delicate but inescapable fact of life...) I knew I couldn't keep it going forever. It was yesterday that I had my coyote moment.

In many ways I'm glad it's come because it would do me good to be in one place longer. When I lived in Boston full time as a student, I did really love it. And even if now New York always beckons I can at least come to like Boston. I'm thinking in terms of a 10-step program, gradual reduction, rather than cold turkey. Perhaps every other week initially, until I can work myself down to once a month.

* * *

The problem is giving up New York weekends. Many of my weekends here are quiet, neighborhood weekends, which I really enjoy. But that is the kind of sustaining pleasure which you think would be just as fine every month rather than every week. But now and then I have a weekend like this:

- Thursday arrive in New York. Join my friend Nuria at jazz club.
- Friday work from home. Join my friend Max for a quick bite, followed by an uptown jazz club, followed by a late night jam at another jazz club.
- Saturday, overdose on Chelsea galleries. Evening catch up with my friend Flo at a new place downtown. Just as I'm heading home my friend S calls and we decided to catch up over a quick drink. Just as I'm heading home my friend A calls and decides we should catch up since he's leaving town.
- Sunday morning, delicate. By the afternoon though I'm ready to hear the visiting orchestra from London, and then catch up with a friend who's in the orchestra. But then it's time for dinner with 5 friends who I haven't seen for a few months.
- Monday morning get up at 5.30 am, catch the shuttle, and in my Boston office by 8.15.

This was last weekend. Now before you think I am mad, I should note that this isn't an utterly atypical New York weekend, although nor is it typical. When I lived here full time, I would have these kinds of weekends every now then (once a month?), one of those weekends when you plan on it being quiet, but everyone you know is suddenly calling, and everyone decides to hold a party or a dinner on the same evening... These are the kinds of weekends where you feel yourself living on every dimension -- artistic, cultural, social, culinary, and of course having fun.

* * *

But then perhaps I'm getting a little too old for all of this. I really do love my quiet weeks, sitting at home with a book, a glass of wine, a film waiting in the DVD player...

* * *

But then I've just been noticing that if I use Amtrak, and time my trains correctly I could probably still manage to be here every week....

Will the coyote live again?

BB

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

considering i have had two weeks of beige, meaning nothing eventful has really happened (although i have been leaning towards pink...) my friend told me: "ah do enjoy the beige, sometimes it is just nice to re-charge your batteries". true. and i have been able to read more, watch some films and meet with friends...but with that said....i do envy your "out and aboutness"....

and you have inspired me to wear my hot pink japanese tights tomorrow...because beige is a colour that never quite suited me....(although shades of grey....that's another story)...

;)) nancy

Bombay Beauty said...

Well done! Leave the beige behind for sure -- And I quite agree: grey trumps beige... BB

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