|Up: New York City||[Related] «^» «T»|
Wednesday, January 9, 2002
By Paul Ford
The tired lad.
I need to start over and move to New York. That I am here already and established in my small life complicates the need. But I want renewal passionately, and have no desire to find some other city for a home. Where would I go? Boston?
I want the sidewalks to feel new under the black rubber soles of my shoes. I want to start the friendships over - with the same friends - but as someone new, someone who isn't going gray so quickly, someone whose head is lifted out of fog. And maybe I could lift this gloom.
I'd live somewhere in Brooklyn Heights, start a Web site called Ctrain. I'd get a full-time job and work hard, and the banality of office life would be diminished because I would be working in New York, and every day would have a dramatic heft, a sense of value that days lost in other cubicles in other cities had lacked. I would feel history like an undertow pulling me along, bringing me into the narrative of the NYSE and the NASDAQ. The subways would be a tangled cord of mystery which I'd unravel every day (my God! This train goes all the way to the Bronx).
I want to rediscover those monuments that have firmly placed themself into the collective mind: the tree at Rockefeller Center, the entrance to Central Park, the towered apartments on the Upper West Side, the Chrysler Building, Madison Avenue, Park Avenue, the Brooklyn Bridge, coming across them not as familiar parts of the view but as I first did, like an archeologist digging up a Bible scene, as the structures inside myth rose up in front of my pale hands.
The Empire State Building becomes a fresh needle into the clouds; the scrap-heap tragedy of downtown becomes new and terrifying. The women no longer look like cheap copies out of magazines, and the voices, the accents, are fresh.
And me - I'd be excited, and exciting, spouting a thousand ideas a moment, an interesting ball of feeling coursing through the streets, worrying about getting into bars, wondering if I'll be dressed right for dinner, concerned about getting lost. I would feel the challenge of the city fresh.
But I am already here, lonely and cranky and uninsured, having just eaten take-out Chinese, my wisdom teeth creeping in and 3 hours away from deadline, writing dozens of pages to sell a product to strangers.
Time is the narrow pipe into which I cram my hopes and huge ambitions, and they never all fit. And the ones that always make it into the pipeline are those that will be followed by money. The rest of it splashes out into a void.