today has been difficult. i am aware of the fact that i say that while i am living the life of riley in the greatest city on earth and i have no right to complain about anything, so im not going to complain. im just going to say its been difficult. my nerves are a little frayed, lets put it that way.
i had a plan for today that involved spending many quiet hours in the library working, and i looked up the NY Public Library hours and it said the big main building at Bryant Park opened at 10am, so i made sure i was out and about early to get there. without coffee even. mistake number one.
it was a lovely sunny day to start off with, and fifth avenue looked picture postcard perfect
as did the early spring light over bryant park and towards the back of the library
the fountain adding that little extra touch of pretty in the sun
when i got around to the library main entrance on fifth avenue, the sign said it wasnt opening until 1pm today. so that kind of threw me for a bit. it was 11 by then, i figured i might as well hang around, go get coffee, buy some books. only problem is, i hate that part of new york city. that whole midtown 40th street area, especially 42nd street, just makes my blood run cold. and i couldnt find anywhere decent for coffee or pancakes, for example
i did find barnes and noble eventually, but even that wasnt the best book store ive ever been in. i did manage to pick up a heap of swedish crime for 20% off plus an older hilary mantell i havent read
($12 each. seriously. an australian distributor want to explain that to me? these four books would have cost me over $100 at home). i did get a coffee here, but i was already starting to lose it. the store was full of silly american teenage girls and they were being so incredibly rude and obnoxious, making fun of people, taking all the chairs, throwing their rubbish everywhere. i know australian teenagers behave like this too, in fact, ive seen much worse at home, but goddamn did i give a few death stares. i bit my tongue though, for now.
then it was back to the library, beautiful amazing building that it is
and for a while, there was peace and quiet
and a beautiful ceiling and soft light
and i got some work done
including an outline for two papers i want to write when i get home. but i didnt stay long enough, because i really wanted to go take a ferry ride around the statue of liberty, and this was mistake number two. if there is anywhere else in manhattan where the tourists will be other than times square, it will be battery park.
i know people complain about american tourists overseas, but im here to tell you, european tourists in america are much worse. apparently, dressing in fake fur and sheepskin boots carrying designer shopping bags entitles you to push to the front of the line, let your kids run riot over the whole goddamn boat, tread on my feet and not apologise until i turn around and YELL AT YOU and then you still rush to the side of the boat to get the pictures YOU want of your precious little spawn and im meant to smile and say thats ok, when its really bloody lot.
this is a crowded place. there is no room to breath at the best of times. i was really looking forward to a nice quiet boat ride, just me and the waves and the salt water in my face. the river looked nice and calm and the statue a long long way away
but there was like a recorded voice telling us all the important things we really didnt need to know, which meant everyone rushed from one side of the boat to other
and i just sat there looking at the new world trade centre being constructed and felt like crying. once people got the fuck out of the way the skyline was pretty impressive
as was the statue herself
which we just kind of circled (its closed because of Hurricane Sandy damage) and then the wind picked up a bit
as we headed back up the east river
and under the brooklyn bridge.
it was beautiful to see but i cant tell you how many times i wanted to just yell at people Will you all just SHUT THE FUCK UP!
today, im just sick of the noise. just so much noise. its like the louder it is, the louder everyone else gets. everyone seems so determined to be heard, to assert themselves, and if i hear one more inane conversation im going to turn around and say You know, no one CARES! i guess this is what ipods were invented for.
its the most bizarre experience. i am not actually homesick. i really love it here. im staying in a cute little neighbourhood that i now know really well, and im comfortable and safe and healthy (yay no flu). i feel welcomed and not out of place here. today, i acted like a snotty local who was annoyed by all the tourists. i can pick who is from this area and who is not, and ive taken to sighing at people who are blocking the footpath. yes, i did just admit that. good grief.
but i really need some room to breath. this the single thing i notice most about new york. there is just no space, anywhere. every single square inch has a person in it. the vista is always just another street, there is no horizon, no skyline, no sense of being part of a larger geographic space, its just city city city. city fill of people. your personal boundaries are ALWAYS under attack, and if you’re feeling a bit vulnerable, or a bit sad, it can be a harsh place.
at home, i could just drive 2 minutes to the beach and breath in the fresh air and watch the dogs run and maybe not actually see another person for quite some time. i could sit there on the sand and just cry for no reason and not worry about that person on the other side of the subway line looking at me like im an escapee from the asylum (yes this happened today). so that is the thing i miss the most. the room to breath.
i practically ran back to my apartment tonight, i couldnt bear to be around people for a single second longer. when ive finished this post i will just knit for a while and have a cup of tea and then read a book in bed and it will be ok. and tomorrow i am going down to soho for more books and yarn and there is a snowstorm on the way and i cant wait to be out in it.
so im not complaining. really im not. i still think i have an amazing life. just right now, its kind of overwhelming. and a little bit crowded!
but i did get to see the statue of liberty up close, and thats pretty cool!