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Going places

The quickest route from central Connecticut to Westchester County, New York, is the Merritt Parkway, a winding, hilly course carved into more than a few forests, through one hill and over one "infamous," soon-to-be-replaced metal-grid bridge. I've driven it since I was 16, after my parents and I moved from Westchester to Connecticut and my orthodontist didn't. Friday afternoons, every three to four weeks. Inevitably, I'd find company with someone else who hit 80 when the traffic cleared up and didn't spare the gas or the brake to get around the ocassional left-lane clot. By the time I had my braces off I knew all the bumps and grates in the curves and where I had to slow the old Volvo down to keep the tires from slipping.

Part of me sort of misses those drives, but not really. The curves have since been repaved — and the parents' Volvo replaced with one considerably more agile — but driving down to New York last Thursday evening all I could think was that, despite how bored I was tracking steadily south at 65-70 mph, I simply didn't want to drive fast enough to make it more interesting. It doesn't seem worth it anymore, even when it works out.

So I made it to Manhattan. In some ways, New York City is still the mythical place I grew up outside of, where my older brother and sister both lived at one time or another and which I visited plenty but never comprehended. Perhaps, like other great mysteries of childhood, it will remain mythical (to me) forever. But it is what it is, too: a big, stinking, rumbling, screeching, flashing, glowing, sweating, teeming mass of concrete, steel, glass, paper, light, clothes, uniforms and, most of all, people, all of which you can walk in, through and around for hours (and days) and not reach the end of. Some of which I love, and some of which I don't.

This visit had its obstacles. The research libraries, owing to budgetary concerns, are now closed on Mondays. Security is everywhere. If, because the SIBL is closed, you decide to go the the SBA, you have to wait in line outside the building (26 Federal Plaza) for 5-10 minutes to go through a metal detector. Building lobbies in general seem to have been repurposed — instead of letting you in, they keep you out.

I went to New York to look for work; I found some new avenues to pursue, and ruled out others. But the city (and its job market) didn't paint a pretty picture for me; I've been trying to decide if I shouldn't just up and move there — which is one of two good options I have for the next half year — and push it until I make something happen. So far, the city seems to be saying, No, not now. But I gotta admit, I'm still not sure — it's risky, but it'd be fun to feel 16 again.

September 24, 2002 11:12 AM


Matt, ~you bastard~, how dare you come to New York and not look Anil and moi up?

Posted by lia on September 29, 2002 11:44 PM

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