I am not all that glamorous in day to day life, so it’s not surprising that I am not all that glamorous when I go to Palm Beach, Los Angeles, or New York City. I think people have these concocted, completely romanticized ideas about what city life is really like. It can be crazy, and scary, and so chaotic. You can feel isolated and secluded.
In other words, unless you have distinct connections with Jessica Alba, you’re probably not going to be attending lavish parties in a Dolce and Gabbana evening gown.
But it can also be remarkably invigorating, you just have to be up for adventure.
Three years ago, on my way to Australia, I spent a few nights in Los Angeles to break the 22 hour flight up. It was my attempt at preventing a flight induced coma. I booked a few nights in The Radisson (a long time favorite hotel of mine, hotels are something I don’t mind splurging on. I’m not down with bed bugs. I’m also not down with conspicuous stains…)and hunkered down until my flight from LA to Sydney. While I was there, I visited my good friend’s little brother…who ALSO happens to be a good friend of mine. K is an actor in LA, and I had never been to Los Angeles before. Kindly, he offered to show me around.
I am notorious for being a smartass, so of course it was completely appropriate to wear my Boston Celtics championship shirt to Los Angeles, considering The Celtics were, at the time, the champions. Upon walking into the swanky hotel lobby, I received several death glares from staff members at the hotel. I was positive, at that moment, that somebody was sneaking up to my hotel room and dousing my bed with gasoline.
The woman at the counter greeted me with a smile and told me that the bell hop would bring my bags to my room. I was in the middle of declaring that I was happy to carry them up myself, when the bell hop exclaimed:
“She can carry those bags up to her hotel room herself unless she plans on changing her shirt.”
To which I responded:
“My bad. I have a Celtics jersey in my carry on. Which winning team’s apparel do you prefer?”
Needless to say, I carried my own bags to my room, and checked my bed for doused gasoline.
Initially, a temporary euphoric feeling captured me as K showed me around. I’m sure part of it was knowing somebody else in a new city. I was about to travel to Australia, where I knew absolutely nobody, so seeing a friendly face half way was reassuring. It’s also easy to fall in love with a city that is 65 degrees and sunny in the middle of February. I had just traveled from New England, where we received ten inches of snow two days before leaving. I was ready to get out. I was ready to be warm.
The euphoric feeling subsided when we ventured onto the streets of LA. I looked like a flower child, plucked from the suburban seacoast, planted on another planet. I wore a gray Volcom t-shirt, ripped jeans, beach waves, and most of the afternoon I rocked K’s bright red sunnies. Meanwhile, six foot tall avatar/models strolled passed me in platform heals at 3:00 in the afternoon.
No big deal. I’ll be wearing my rainbow flip-flops…over here…with a paper bag on my head…with holes cut out so I can breathe.
I actually just dug up a picture from that day.
New York is more forgiving. I feel strangely at home in New York City. It still harbors that raw chaos, where you’re not sure if you want to sit down on a park bench and pout like a toddler or curl up in fetal position on the sidewalk. At the same time, I feel like I can converse with people in New York.
Yesterday, I took a trip to New York City, and it was beyond refreshing. I hopped on the Bolt Bus, and endured five hours of listening to other people’s loud conversations and games of Angry Birds OVER my iPod music, but it was completely worth it when I saw that NYC skyline.
There is something about the New York skyline that levels me, in a way that Boston’s does not. I think it’s all a matter of fluency. I am well versed in Boston, from the Zakim Bridge to the Orange Line. From that guy selling sausages to that other guy selling last minute game tickets. It’s like being at home.
New York is like being pushed onto a rail road track, with an oncoming train headed right for you. Part of you wants to run away, and part of you wants to jump over those tracks to see if you’ll make it to the other side.
Note: I am not condoning playing on railroads
It’s an analogy, folks.
Don’t do anything dangerous.
New York has an ingredient of suspense that I find extremely alluring. It is a young city, pulsing with success, and it is an old city, flowing with knowledge and intelligence. It is so many things in one.
Not to mention, I didn’t look out of place in a bird printed tunic, leggings, and knee high brown boots.
No stilettos required.