we've been on the east coast for four years and a few months. distributed evenly, that means that i've been a new yorker for one day of every week i've been alive. it's gotten under my skin, that day: as we drove south on the freeway this weekend, i wanted to speed ahead and weave through traffic in the same way that i muscle past packs of tourists on foot in times square. on strolls along the beach, i find myself trying to calculate what homes would be worth per square foot as rental properties (as if orange county mcmansion owners would stoop to accepting tenants - ha). i see little knots of posturing teenagers at the mall and want to sneer at them: you think you're hard? i live in hell's kitchen (admittedly, that hasn't been impressive for about a decade - now it means i have a lot of thai options for dinner)! what is it about new york that tints one's world view so quickly? it's a singular place, but so is southern california, and i spent twenty years here - and i don't go on about how much ska-pop i had to endure back in the day, or how if you want gridlock, man, you should try getting past the el toro Y on a friday afternoon. on the reflexive comparisons, it could be that since i've gone through Big Life Changes in nyc (getting married, beginning a real career, thinking seriously about buying property) and started putting down roots, i pit it against other places to assure myself that i've chosen wisely. or there could be a goblin in my chest who's super excited about becoming one of those people who uses the city as an excuse for being rude ("i'm a new yorker, we're just direct"). they are mysterious, these regional tics. does this happen to you, too?
on a california thing that has stuck with me: joe and i went to the gypsy den last night to play scrabble and visit my favorite painting. i found the den, a shabby coffeehouse full of mismatched furniture and vintage colored glass, when i was fifteen, and i've coveted that damn picture (a nondescript portrait that, for most intents and purposes, is interchangeable with the dozens of pieces around it) ever since. various employee friends have assured me that the den never sells its art, but i fantasize about winning the lottery and making the owner a ludicrous offer she can't refuse (though, knowing hipsters, she'd value the refusal anecdote more than a pile of money). joe is neutral, but he knows how strongly i feel and is cool with it for my sake; me, i practically lose sleep over the thing. my questions to you, internets: what do you think of this painting (please excuse the crappy cameraphone photo)? why on earth does it haunt my dreams?