Dear New York City,
We need to talk about our relationship.
Someone very wise* once said to me, “New York City is like the hot, bad boyfriend you just can’t leave. Maybe he hits you a little bit, but you just think, ‘Oh, that was probably my fault.'”
I’ve let you smack me around for seven years now, New York. We were going to have a casual relationship, just for a year, and then I was going to move on. But you begged me to stay, told me this was where I belonged, and I believed you. And then you started playing games with me. You’d think I’d be used to how you treat me by now, but your abuse just keeps getting weirder, so I never know how to brace myself for the next onslaught.
You seem to have grown tired of sending me the standard bedbug scares, broken boilers, and crowds of tourists blocking the sidewalk. Now you’ve given me a neighbor who gets upset when people “press their microwave buttons too loudly” and another who thinks people are erasing the songs off her CDs and moving the icons around on her computer desktop. You gave me a fifth floor apartment, then took my elevator out of commission for an entire month on the day I was rushed to the ER with a back injury. You let a woman dump a bucket of water onto my head from her fire escape because she thought I was talking too loudly on the street under her apartment. You trapped me outside in Brooklyn DURING A TORNADO. I didn’t even know there could BE tornadoes in Brooklyn until I was huddled in a doorway with my arms over my head, wondering when a tree was going to fall on me.
This morning, to start my Monday off right, you opened up a seat next to me on the subway so a crazy man in a neon blue suit could sit down and scream at me because I was reading a novel, which apparently “rots your brain.” What I should have been reading was psychology and philosophy. He repeated this many, many times, just to make sure it sank in.
THESE THINGS ARE NOT NORMAL, New York City. I should not have to live this way.
And then, just when I’m sure you’re trying to drive me out, just when I’ve almost made up my mind to break up with you, you get all sweet. You open a branch of my favorite tea shop INSIDE my favorite bookstore. You set off an unexpected display of fireworks over Central Park when I’m walking past after a hard day at work. You stall my train in a station where a guy in a Cookie Monster costume is playing the xylophone, just so I can have a good long laugh. You bring me museum exhibits on the Muppets, Tim Burton, and Alexander McQueen. You put Alan Rickman on Broadway. When I run out of baking soda at midnight on Christmas Eve, you keep the corner bodega open so I can run out in my pajamas and buy more. In the spring, you make the trees around my apartment blossom so exuberantly it’s almost indecent.
I just don’t know what to do with you, New York City. I love you and I hate you and I just can’t leave you, no matter how hard I try. Please try to be gentle with me. My heart is in your beautiful, infuriating hands.
*Very wise person = Agent Holly… who has now moved to LA. Figures.