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Clashing Worlds: Southern Homemaker in New York

I’ve been back from New York for several days now, and the abject disparity between the two places still finds me reeling.

Just like I described last year, this trip is like living someone else’s life, and in doing so I always gain a greater perspective on who I am, who I am not and who I would like to be, not necessarily in that order.

As I land in La Guardia, I always feel so small and anonymous while at the same time feeling a part of some important, whirling world.  It is sort of like stepping off the quiet sidewalk of my life into rushing traffic of people, sounds and smells so unfamiliar, yet so intoxicating.

My own life has its “busy-ness,” to be certain, but it is filled with a frenzy of food prep, hunting backpacks, calming the screaming, wiping noses, measuring supplements, juggling therapy schedules and shuttling van-loads of children back and forth between sporting activities and social skills groups.

In contrast, my week in New York is spent trying to hold down frighteningly rich lobster bisque in a rocketing taxicab after drinking one two many glasses of exceptionally nice cabernet.

And learning not to order giant prawns.

It is also spent attempting to tape large vinyl signs to concrete block, loading trade show furniture into a panel van and driving that from NJ to Manhattan, and trying to assemble said furniture without directions or proper tools.

This is my friend riding in the back of the van with multiple boxes.

Yes, we got stopped by New York’s finest, and yes we cried but got out of the ticket, miraculously.  Sadly, I have no photographs if that event but you can use your imagination, I’m sure.

Don’t you love how we employed the broom to mash down the double-sided tape?

The fun part of the week is spent chatting with stationery store owners, explaining trends in bridal and baby invitations, and encouraging buyers to try my friend’s line.

This was my fourth year to take this trip, and I have achieved a few minor milestones.  I no longer feel self-conscious hailing a cab, and I have perfected the proper, casual way to hold my hand while doing so.

I am no longer driven to don heels as I walk around the city in a vain attempt at disguising myself as a tourist.

I finally realized that most of the people wearing heels with jeans as they traipse about the city were the tourists.  Everyone else enjoys sensible flats, boots or flip flops.

I can walk purposefully down a busy sidewalk while clutching a Starbucks and talking on my phone.

I never make eye contact with anyone.  Never take a flier about an upcoming band or play performance from anyone, and never, ever acknowledge someone who furtively approaches with the promise of “Purses, Dolce, Rolex, Cartier, you buy!”

I still can’t stop myself, however, from lunging out toward the tiny toddlers running along the sidewalk parallel to whizzing taxis and buses.  I suppose these children grow up with this second sense of permanently remaining on the sidewalk no matter what, but if I ever took my three to this city, I’d have to strap them all to my body to keep them alive–especially Edward.

While I’m in New York I see myself as a sort of a lone catcher in the rye.

This was particularly hard for me this year because our apartment was located right next to Bleecker park!

The tiniest of tots would whiz by on their scooters or even tricycles and then abruptly stop right before the cross walk, their parents leisurely strolling several feet behind, often pushing a smart perambulator stuffed with an even tinier sibling.

Yet today, back in the South, as the screams and shrill whines of three walkie talkies in unison fill my brain and I watch dripping children streak about the house clutching over-filled water balloons and tracking up my once-clean floors, I am thankful to be home.

I think.

Posted on 1 June '10 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany.

7 Comments to “Clashing Worlds: Southern Homemaker in New York”

#1 Posted by Jen (02.06.10 at 06:03 )

Lovely photographs, I felt like I was there with you. It is great to experience a different way once in a while, I am glad you had a good week:) Jen.
.-= Jen´s last blog ..The Gallery – Still Life =-.

#2 Posted by kim (02.06.10 at 20:31 )

It sounds like a lovely trip and great weather
I love the Prints Charming booth – it looks adorable!!!
Enjoy the summer
.-= kim´s last blog ..Shred day 20 =-.

#3 Posted by Patty (04.06.10 at 08:50 )

I have similar feelings when I am in Chicago. I miss the hustle and bustle, and in a way, I feel like my identity is inextricably linked with the Windy City. At the same time, I don’t miss the terrible traffic and crowds. I have never actually taken my kids downtown, because I too would be way too nervous to enjoy myself.
.-= Patty´s last blog ..The Incivility of Yardwork =-.

#4 Posted by the domestic fringe (04.06.10 at 15:13 )

I love hearing another’s perspective on the city!
.-= the domestic fringe´s last blog ..Pizza Night Made Crazy =-.

#5 Posted by mrsbear (04.06.10 at 23:33 )

It sounds like a fantastic getaway. Though coming from a major metropolitan area, I can honestly say, avoiding eye contact and ignoring strangers is second nature for me.

I love the name of your friend’s company, btw. Very clever.

Glad you made it back safely, nothing like some time away to appreciate your little sanctuary, as bustling as it may be in its own right. Missing turtles and all.

#6 Posted by Sofia's Ideas (19.06.10 at 13:59 )

All this post did was make me miss NY that much more! Dont get me wrong, I live in a beautiful village in South Florida, but I do miss NY so much at times.

Thanks for sharing these snippets!
.-= Sofia’s Ideas´s last blog ..A Sea of Change =-.

#7 Posted by Elle (02.07.10 at 00:07 )

I’m so glad you went and had a good time. I’ll have to ask for some tips if I ever get the chance to go to NYC. How did the kids, especially Edward, do without you??

Oh ya, I love shrimp, but those prawns? Nasty!