Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 11: A Strange Day in the City

Sorry to be a few days in writing . . . I guess I actually have been a little busy! 9/11 has kind of been a strange day ever since it happened, and yesterday was no different. I remember when it happened I was in 9th grade at NCCHS, taking the ISTEP examines with Dixie Williams. I went from one strange state of standardized testing, to another strange state of standardized mourning. Back then, New York and the attacks seemed so distant, so far removed from my life in Indiana that it was hard for me to grasp the gravity of the situation. 8 years later, having visited NYC and now living here, it seems too devastating to imagine. Lower Manhattan, especially Chelsea, The Village, Union Square, SoHo, and Chinatown have become some of my favorite parts of New York. 8 years ago they were covered in dust. Several of the subway cars currently have all kinds of ads about filing claims in the wake of 9/11 - still today in 2009. I've never known how to behave or go about this day in the past. Should I be reflective and mournful? Any mourning, however sincerely sought, seems artificial. That wasn't my city, those weren't my friends. Or should I go about my day just as any day: full of errands, to-do's, and trials. Yesterday, tended more towards the second for me. To begin, yesterday, it rained all day in New York. It was gray and disgusting and my overwhelming feeling the entire day was of spurning the weather rather than remorse for the lost. Upon waking, I had a note from roommate to move his car (yes, he has a car - we live in Queens after all) before the street sweeper came, in order to avoid a ticket. So here I go, still in my pajamas, only a little awake, to move his car in the gray and rain. Now, our neighborhood is not Times Square, but there are still quite a few cars on the road at any given time. And all the available parking is street parking, which means parallel parking, which brings worry to someone who grew up with nothing but parking lots. I know he must of been pretty desperate to ask me - why else would you leave this potentially costly task to the nervy, granny Macy's bag bearing New York newbie down the hall? After many select words and a few moments of near tears (I'm telling you, there were no spots to be founf), I parked his car (he didn't get a ticket, Thank God) and made it back home. As it rained on and on, I still had to make my way to Staples to print and fax a document (which I'm still not sure went totally through), fill out an application at the nearest Starbucks, and then attempt my first load of laundry on the East coast. Terrifying. The Starbucks was hidden amid the nearby Astoria-Kaufman Studios, and the Korean run laundromat sent a shock through me when I had to pay $3.50 for a wash. Afterwards, I had another training shift at Locale, my first on a weekend night (Good news, I have two more hours of training tomorrow afternoon, then will be good to go to make some actual money), then ventured into Manhattan for my first evening at The Afterparty, the musical theatre open mic night my former professor and music director plays at each weekend in New York (imagine what kind of frequent flyer miles he racks up). I am really enjoying my new job and coworkers and hope that it helps me easily transition to New York, both from the income and the new friends. Despite my attempts to look somewhat nice for the Afterparty, I mostly channeled sewer rat after walking down 42nd street a few blocks (and a few extra since I passed the club). It was a really great time: I got to meet up with some of my old IU chums, drink too many Hot Toddy's (so tasty on a cold, wet night), see Prof. Ray in his element at the piano, and hear inappropriate ethnic and 9/11 jokes from the stage. It certainly was a day come full circle. So here I am today, reflective but moving forward. I think I have finally have secured air pressure in my mattress thanks to cousin Aliescha, am going to actually make money at my new job come next weekend, have plenty of clean underwear, and am feeling settled enough to actually put myself out there and audition this week (it helps that I won't be spending most of my energy training or applying for jobs). Though I'm sure this coming week will have its own mix of challenges and obstacles (how early do I need to get up to get to Manhattan by 7:30am?), I think I am making steady headway towards reaching my goals and establishing myself in the city. It's kind of like yesterday's NY Times 9/11 article: it was more about September 12 and what the city has went through since the attacks, rather than dwelling in the past events of that dreadful day 8 years ago. Even though the road up ahead is rough, it can only be conquered one step at a time.

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