With Apologies to New York...

If a place can be said to have complexion, New York City has a color all its own. There's a complexity to New York that perhaps only natives can understand. The city is full of nuances, unspoken rules and contradiction.

On our last trip before leaving the East Coast, we emerged from Penn Station and headed towards Times Square. Elmo was there. Cookie Monster, too. Mario...Mickey Mouse...even the Statue of Liberty greeted us, posing for a picture before requesting a tip.

On Fifth Avenue, a man leaned against the side of a building, a cardboard placard in his hands. There was a supporting length of twine knotted at either end of his sign, giving his arms occasional respite: Why lie? Need money for weed.

We passed a man wearing a bikini; a man digging through the trash; another man with green hair and a bird perched upon his head, pushing a stroller piled with blankets smothering a poodle. Before I could fix his picture in my mind, he disappeared into the throng of people.

Because New York is fast, too. Before I can wrap my head around a moment, the moment disappears.


In Central Park, a man played an erhu. As my daughter paused to take a picture, he looked at her and smiled. He saw her. She saw him. For a split-second, they connected. And I realized what I've been missing in our ten years on the East Coast. I miss my connections; I miss the context of my life; I miss being seen and understood without having to detail my backstory.

I miss family holidays and get-togethers with friends. I miss listening to the Indians on the radio. I miss the shared understanding of I480, the Cleveland Browns, and the West Side Market. I miss walking on my parents' farm, studying the details etched upon the bark of a tree; examining the soul of a handful of soil teeming with minerals and insects and a simple, beautiful complexity all its own.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was color.







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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: With Apologies to New York...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

With Apologies to New York...

If a place can be said to have complexion, New York City has a color all its own. There's a complexity to New York that perhaps only natives can understand. The city is full of nuances, unspoken rules and contradiction.

On our last trip before leaving the East Coast, we emerged from Penn Station and headed towards Times Square. Elmo was there. Cookie Monster, too. Mario...Mickey Mouse...even the Statue of Liberty greeted us, posing for a picture before requesting a tip.

On Fifth Avenue, a man leaned against the side of a building, a cardboard placard in his hands. There was a supporting length of twine knotted at either end of his sign, giving his arms occasional respite: Why lie? Need money for weed.

We passed a man wearing a bikini; a man digging through the trash; another man with green hair and a bird perched upon his head, pushing a stroller piled with blankets smothering a poodle. Before I could fix his picture in my mind, he disappeared into the throng of people.

Because New York is fast, too. Before I can wrap my head around a moment, the moment disappears.


In Central Park, a man played an erhu. As my daughter paused to take a picture, he looked at her and smiled. He saw her. She saw him. For a split-second, they connected. And I realized what I've been missing in our ten years on the East Coast. I miss my connections; I miss the context of my life; I miss being seen and understood without having to detail my backstory.

I miss family holidays and get-togethers with friends. I miss listening to the Indians on the radio. I miss the shared understanding of I480, the Cleveland Browns, and the West Side Market. I miss walking on my parents' farm, studying the details etched upon the bark of a tree; examining the soul of a handful of soil teeming with minerals and insects and a simple, beautiful complexity all its own.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was color.







Labels:

23 Comments:

At April 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM , Blogger lumdog2012 said...

I really identify with this. I love the "color" of NY but after a while, I'm ready to be somewhere else. Great piece of writing.

 
At April 18, 2013 at 1:00 PM , OpenID kdillmanjones.com said...

Nice job capturing a love of place!

 
At April 18, 2013 at 1:14 PM , Blogger November Rain - k~ said...

It took me a while to create that feeling of familiarity where I am, but I have it here now.

The yearning to be "home" starts slowly and builds in people, who have traveled farther than their Sunday drive allows for a revisit, as they get older. Sometimes it is not so much a returning to the place they grew up, but to the people they grew and loved around them.

You captured the moments nicely, bridged between a city state of mind and the country.

 
At April 18, 2013 at 3:28 PM , Anonymous steph said...

I miss being seen and understood without having to detail my backstory... that's a great line. I wonder if I've ever had that experience. I don't mean that in a pathetic, I have no friends way, but we all carry around so much "stuff" that it's hard to shove it aside, and really see another person. What a gift when it happens. I want to be high on a place like you are in your move. You've captured that beautifully.

 
At April 18, 2013 at 3:39 PM , Anonymous shannon said...

I live in Cleveland and somehow you managed to make me feel nostalgic for the world right outside my window.

 
At April 18, 2013 at 4:01 PM , OpenID natalieamatera said...

Wow. This is incredible. I hate, loathe and detest cities but you almost made me fall in love with NYC then ....! Great weaving of tiny encapsulated unrelated moments into a bustling intriguing narrative description. I like.

 
At April 18, 2013 at 4:03 PM , Blogger Sandra Tyler said...

Oh, Penn Station -- right near my second to last apartment, on 29th st and 8th ave. A dive but it had a working fireplace! I lived in NYC for almost 18 years and miss it! You captured it brilliantly!

 
At April 18, 2013 at 4:26 PM , Blogger paula j said...

Your details of description are great. What a picture.

 
At April 18, 2013 at 5:44 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

You put it so well - The color is neat and fun to enjoy. But man, when I leave, I'm exhausted. Thanks for reading.

 
At April 18, 2013 at 5:44 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much for reading!

 
At April 18, 2013 at 5:45 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, K. I agree - you can return to a place or to people. Luckily I'm returning to both.

 
At April 18, 2013 at 5:45 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks Steph!

 
At April 18, 2013 at 5:45 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

I'll be there soon! Thanks for reading!

 
At April 18, 2013 at 5:46 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

NYC is fun but exhausting. Thanks for reading!

 
At April 18, 2013 at 5:46 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Sandy! It is a neat place to visit, but my husband's been commuting there (3 hours round trip) for 10 years.

 
At April 18, 2013 at 5:47 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much, Paula!

 
At April 18, 2013 at 6:41 PM , Blogger Trifecta said...

This resonates with me. Hong Kong has a bit of color, too. I love it, but trading it in for a sleepy beach every summer is an absolute necessity.

 
At April 18, 2013 at 6:50 PM , Blogger Draug said...

You painted a beautiful portrait of the city.

 
At April 18, 2013 at 7:31 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

I can't imagine Hong Kong - Thanks so much for reading!

 
At April 18, 2013 at 7:31 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks Draug!

 
At April 19, 2013 at 1:16 AM , Blogger Atreyee said...

Loved the line,"Before I can wrap my head around a moment, the moment disappears."An insightful piece about how "home" is never where we live physically but where our hearts are-where ever we go,we can never forget or forgo pour roots & the yearning to return keeps at us in the form of nostalgia-loved this Kelly:-)

 
At April 19, 2013 at 3:28 AM , Blogger kymm said...

I really hear ya, Kelly. NE beach town girl eternally out of place and disoriented, not only in a city, but in another language, culture (Hi, Lisa).
Also, your picture of NYC is mine - small doses of overwhelming!

 
At April 19, 2013 at 4:40 AM , Anonymous Pirate said...

You make New York sound wonderfully atmospheric! Thanks.

 

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