The last two and a half weeks have been surreal. I can’t believe I “live” in New York now, because… well, I don’t. I float around New York as if in a daze, lighting upon food and trinkets and trees in wonder and delight and confusion. Today, I eat lunch at a Vietnamese hole in the wall called Lotus, with my new friend Lucas—someone who interns at 826NYC and StoryCorps. We exchange stories from the upscale food industry and discuss oral history. He advises me to visit the “Cloisters” and tells me about the scandals behind Prospect Park and its architect Frederick Olmsted. We scarf down our banh mi sandwiches (mine mild on white baguette, his eye-watering spicy on whole wheat) and go off for a brisk walk in the park amongst the leaves and fallen trees until a municipal official, clearing debris, orders us out.
I head back down Flatbush Avenue, as usual not knowing where to go, but wanting to go everywhere. I wander in and out of hardware stores, cafes, thrift-shops, and other store-fronts before finding a small black lamp abandoned in a pile of rubbish on the street–perfect for my bedside table. I take it with me to Chase Bank, where I inquire as to why my new credit card hasn’t arrived. I carry it with me into a costume shop and wander around awkwardly, looking for an outlet to plug it into. I hold it with me as I poke into Crunch Fitness to find out if their classes are back running post-hurricane. I haul it through a hardware store with me, where I contemplate purchasing over-priced votive candle holders and a feather duster before wandering back out. I walk into a small houseware store and ask the man there to test it out. He does, and it doesn’t turn on despite giving off a flickering electric current. He says it will take him ten bucks and an hour to fix it, and to come back while he helps other customers. I wonder why people these days don’t help people in the order they came, and decide that we live in a society with A.D.D.
The man in line next to me looks homeless and smells overpoweringly of urine, so I leave the lamp– unsure of whether or not I’ll come back for it– and amble back down Flatbush. I call Christine to hang out, and tell Donna I can’t babysit. Christine comes over and we drive to Target, where I spend three hours anxiously shopping, and listening to Christine complain about New York. I buy two black plastic picture frames, a clear plastic set of drawers, another bunch of red plastic hangers, a 6 foot extension cord, a set of crappy glass dishware, and a bag of double-chocolate Milano cookies. Christine drives me home in her roommate’s car, cursing traffic, pedestrians, and her roommate. We go out to dinner at a local Spanish joint with Alon who’s just returned from Seattle, and are joined for about 5 minutes by wild-eyed Benji—who announces he is leaving shortly after arriving, to ride to Manhattan to explore the flooded subways. I share a chicken Caesar salad and Mozzarella sticks with Christine, and drink chamomile tea. The smell of poop wafts by me throughout dinner.
I shop, I eat, I wander. Such a weird existence. Ellie and her Israeli fashion designer mother, sister, and platinum-record selling Israeli stepfather are downstairs now watching Indiana Jones on our new projector with Alon. I hear no sound effects, not even voices. My throat itches and I feel exhausted. I brush my teeth, hang my newly-framed photos of Japanese cherry blossoms, rearrange my closet while listening to the Dead, talk to my sister, dad, and Niran, and am now going to sleep. Another day in New York, another eternity in the no-man’s land that is age 25.