Some notes and confessions post-NYC
1. I have a huge nickel/dime/cent collection amassed, never having got to grips with what was what and how they added up to make dollars. My scrutinizing the coins and making the shop person count them for me got a little tiring, so I contented myself with just handing over dollar bills. 2. Now back in London, I miss being ID-ed in bars, even if the person in front of me shuffled in on a zimmerframe and were ID-ed too. 3. I never made it to Central Park. People are shocked by this. I am sure it's a great park, but then I considered how I actually feel about parks and the epiphany was: I don't much like them. They make me feel melancholy with their concrete pathways and clipped lawns and railings. They make me think of endings, not beginnings. 4. According to a number of New York friends, contrary to what I assumed, I don't speak clearly at all but am in fact quite often impossible to understand, particularly on the telephone. One friend's theory was that it's because I use half as many vowels as an American. Plus lots of New Yorkers mysteriously thought I was Australian... 5. I retract what I said in a previous blog about bad coffee in NYC. 7th Avenue in Park Slope is a coffee lover's haven. 6. I also retract what I said about the grid system. Yes, it took me 3 months to figure it out, but it makes sense now. 7. New York men differ from London men in the following way: they assume a lot more and move a lot faster. They also buy the drinks. 8. Further NYC/London differences: i) Fingernails are important, and there is a nail bar on every corner. ii) You can pay a little extra to have all your laundry weighed and done for you (luxury!). iii) Everyone is Jewish. Or Irish. Being both, I felt quite at home. 9) Bypassers will stop to watch buskers playing. In London, to actually stand and watch a performer...well, perform, feels far too intimate. We'll duck our heads and hurry by, maybe chuck a little change into their instrument case but certainly not attend to what they are doing. People in NY will stand expectantly around the musician, waiting for the drummer to set up, waiting for their next lick, markedly un-selfconscious. It's sweet! 10) I couldn't imagine being made to feel more welcome in a foreign town. God bless Brooklyn! See you in 2010.