NYC...

... there are places that each of us envision ourselves going... dream trips, so to speak... locations that we've made a list of, maybe as a child full of wonder or curiousity, that now as adults we want to check off.. one by one... it's one of the fulfilling things about being an adult... being in a position to make those naïve, child-like dreams of visiting exotic locations really happen...

... when I was a young buck, it was Cairo and Venezuela.. have a beer in Alexandria ala "Ice Cold in Alex".. when I first arrived in Europe, I made a list on a bar napkin in Edinburgh with my Scottish girlfriend by my side... crazy stuff... have a hamburger in Hamburg... abseil down the Tower of London in the dead of night.. get my tongue sunburned at the topless beach in Nice.. take a camel trek across the desert from Rabat to the Red Sea... I still have that napkin, too... how the times do indeed change us.

... now, my goals are a bit more sedate... see the river flowing green on St. Patrick's day in Chicago... call a friend from the top of the Empire State Building.. have a champagne cocktail and scrambled eggs for breakfast in an open-air café near the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan...

... from adventure to comfort... the prizes I seek have changed from "me doing" to "me enjoying".... That's probably much too simple of a way to describe it, but it is partially true... another facet of it can be viewed differently... everything on my list of long ago was meant to be done alone... today's list is meant to be experienced with family and friends by my side...

... strange, I know, this changing of attitude... or outlook...

... over at Letters from NYC this morning, I was reading her post "You know you're from NYC when..." and I came across a line that reminded me of a conversation I had with Dax while I was visiting Manhattan... "being truly alone makes you nervous"....

... in the conversation, I described how you could look out the window of our hotel, The Beekman Tower, at any time day or night and see the throngs of people in the streets... horns, sirens, and other diversions... and how The Wife and I had made our way up to the bar at the top of the hotel before it had opened for business one night... we found ourselves alone amidst the plush sofas and leather chairs.. surrounded by tall windows on every side that opened the darkened city before us at every angle... and at that time, for the first time during the entire trip, we felt that we were alone in New York City... we were too high for the sounds of the street to find us, and even with the lights from the neighboring apartment blocks easily visible, the strange sense of solitude and comfort was palpable..

... and at that moment, my mate did something I would never have imagined she would do... as I sat sinking into the easiness of the sofa, she walked over to the piano and lifted the cover.. and with a calm and quiet look of happiness, she played... after twelve years of marriage, I had forgotten that she used to play the piano... and don't get me wrong, it wasn't Mozart by any stretch of the imagination, but there was something beautiful about it... something honest... a new openness, maybe.. or a straying from the usual self-reserved shyness... but nonetheless, she played...

... later that night, Dax called... and I tried to convey to him via words how much I enjoyed sitting alone in the bar at the top of The Beekman - with Manhattan lit up and sprawling out before me - while my Wife pecked on the keys of that Baby Grand... and then, like now, I didn't do it justice...

... but what does interest me is the idea of "being alone"...

... I have been truly on my own for days at a time... walking cross-country where not even a passing airplane could be seen... days on end without hearing the sound of your own voice or that of another... only the trails of the wind rustling the heather, the rain against the tent, and the rushing flutter of a startled ptarmigan's feathers as it takes flight... and I've reclined in a skyscraper, that probably held 1000 souls, and felt like there were no other people within miles except for my Wife and I..

... the point of this?... well, quite often I don't have one... just thinking, that's all... but I can tell you this... the only times I have truly felt alone have had nothing whatsoever to do with being around other people... even three days into the mountains on a seven day trip, it never crossed my mind that I was alone... sure, I was by myself... isolated and quiet... but I was never alone... just by myself..

by Eric on December 10, 2005 | Bullshit (10) | TrackBack (0) | SWG Stories
Bullshit So Far

Exactly! Just Damn!

Bullshitted by Dax Montana on December 10, 2005 01:04 PM

That's what I'm trying to get across to all my family who keeps worrying and fretting over me being in germany "on my own". I know my husband is gone and yes at times I feel lonesome but only for him..nothing else.

I'm not alone here...just by myself at times.

Bullshitted by Sandy on December 10, 2005 03:56 PM

Alone is being accosted by transvestite hookers in front of your hotel at 3am in Rio de Janeiro while very drunk.

...or so I imagine... :-)

Bullshitted by Harvey on December 10, 2005 04:29 PM

When they put that green dye in the Chicago River, it doesn't turn it green ... more of a yellowish color like horse piss. The natural color of the river is brown.

Bullshitted by Nancy from IL on December 10, 2005 04:30 PM

It is easy to be feel totally alone in a crowd. Very easy. Crowds are far more isolating than actually being alone. I never feel alone by myself.

Bullshitted by Bou on December 10, 2005 05:07 PM

The last time I was in NYC I felt alone alright, very alone kind of like Custer surrounded by 5,000 screamin' indians. And that's why I have never been back. Scary as hell.

Bullshitted by GUYK on December 10, 2005 06:39 PM

The most secure feeling in the world -- to just be by yourself yet not alone. I never could have articulated it as well.... :)

Bullshitted by Richmond on December 10, 2005 08:39 PM

Man, under the right circumstances, you could be in Penn Station surrounded by throngs of people and be stone alone, and most times, it's not pleasant.

Sometimes, however, it is.

Bullshitted by Jim - PRS on December 11, 2005 01:29 AM

I'm glad that the Mrs. felt so comfortable and uninhibited to play the Piano.

That aloneness that you speak of is a coping mechanism long term residents of any large city develop in order to deal with the crush of humanity that is constantly around them. All I need is at least 2 ft of personal space and I can be contentedly alone even in the most crowded of subway cars.

Now, for that same reason I pity the fool that tries to encroach into that personal space 'cause it can get ugly!

Bullshitted by Michele on December 11, 2005 04:53 PM

"sure, I was by myself… isolated and quiet… but I was never alone… just by myself."

Yes, Eric, there is a difference. Me, I don't mind being by myself sometimes, but I do not like the idea of being alone.

Bullshitted by Elisson on December 12, 2005 11:02 PM