Last Friday night, I went to watch a movie at my local AMC theater in Manhattan. It was a chick flick that started at 8 p.m. I went by myself. I am comfortable with going places alone because in my almost three years living in Manhattan I haven’t run into trouble and I most certainly had never noticed, quite so fully, my womanhood.
I sat down. Next to me a man, maybe in his thirties or forties, was reclining. He wore no shoes or socks. He had layered two graphic tee shirts. Balding. I thought he was waiting for his girlfriend, so I pulled my mouth into a false smile, took my coat off and sat down. Within a few seconds, the man looked at me and asked me my name in French. I don’t speak French, but I don’t think he did either. It appeared that it was the only thing he knew in the language.
One day, last summer, I was riding the Long Island Railroad back to my Aunt’s house from a training day for an internship. I felt like I was going to bleed out through the blisters on my feet and my entire body was throbbing like I had run a marathon. So, I put in my earphones and watched a woman put on her makeup while riding the train.
I once knew a guy who told me that the best pizza in all of New York was at Luigi’s on 54th street. He talked about it all the time. His family had been going there for generations. It was “the best.” I always said that maybe we should go and then when we finally had the chance to go, he said that he didn’t want to go with me. Because what if I didn’t like it? What if it wasn’t worth the hype?
Yesterday, I started reading Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar.” In it, I have nit-picked a phrase or two about how much the narrator dislikes Technicolor. She classifies it as flashy and trying too hard. I disagree.
“Still water runs deep.” That’s a cliche that my grandma uses when people surprise her. When I was younger, she would tell me that my mom was always her quiet child but that she got married and had children first. So, still water runs deep, meaning that people are humming and pulsing beneath their exterior.
I’m a fan of routines. In New York I would get up every Saturday morning and get coffee. Then, I would drink my coffee in the fountain in Washington Square Park. Sometimes, I would draw and other times I would just people watch. Then, I would go to the library and finish some work. By noon, I would have the entire rest of the day to go on an adventure or run errands. However, I’ve never had a “normal” LA Saturday.
Did you read a lot about transcendentalism in high school? I did. Thoreau, Emerson, Krakauer’s Chris McCandless story, but why? Was it a warning about living a life of “quiet desperation,” or were all of these trascendentalists, in fact, also men leading lives of quiet desperation, even in their silent reverie?