Back in the USA
Being back in the USA has been a strange experience. Seeing our families and friends has been amazing -- there literally isn’t enough time in the world to spend with all the loved ones we have spread out over the Tri-State area. Being with them is like being in a time loop: things seem to never change, and yet of course the one constant of life, change, endures above all. Children make the change most visible. It’s hard not to notice little doozers doubling in size. Other changes, gradual, incremental nuanced alterations are also easier to spot when you’ve been gone for a year, they stick out like new buildings in your hood.
Of course, everything feels incredibly familiar. Everything looks mostly the same. Everything smells mostly the same. Even sounds mostly the same, Christmas jingles just everywhere! And yet everything feels so strange, so different and alien because where we’ve been living for the past year is just so different. I find myself wanting to swerve on 5th Avenue away from the potholes instead of accelerating into the tiniest gap left by the torrent of vehicles surging through Manhattan. Though it will always be home, being in NYC feels a lot different now. The anonymous crowds of people I used to be able to lose myself in now seem like suffocating madness. The subway, like being buried alive.
Don’t even get me started on midtown or the commodification of the city. It’s hard to see anything but the new construction, the towering mini skyscrapers that are cropping up all over, transforming neighborhoods from some authentic mix into one homogenous corporate sprawl. If it hasn’t been called the suburbanization of the city, it should. There’s a Target in the East Village. And sure, the city has always been a haven for tourists around the holidays but the entire island of Manhattan is turning into one giant tourist trap, complete with prices for locals and much higher prices for out-of-towners. Just like Roatan.
And even though we’re technically “on vacation” in NYC, we’re not paying the tourist price: we’re still New Yorkers at heart. In some ways, I suppose we both always will be, no matter how long we stay on the boat. We don’t pay $20 a drink. We don’t pay full price at the Met. We don’t do bottle service or need to shut down the club or be seen at the hottest in spot where all the celebrities were seen last week. We just want to spend some time with our families, with our friends, with those that matter to us -- those we need to catch up on after so long. Because sure, FaceTime is great, but it’s not the same as spending some quality time together in person.
The food’s also been pretty fantastic. Besides delectable homemade Thanksgiving meals in both Colorado and New York, we’ve had amazing Thai on several occasions, some good pizza, some really memorable tacos in Boulder, some palatable Indian cuisine, plus delicious naughty American things like good old fashioned USDA-approved beef bacon cheeseburgers cooked to perfection, and artery clogging awesomeness like the delicious blackout and lemon and sea-salt donuts from the masochists over at The Doughnut Project.
So yeah, we’ve basically been eating ourselves silly. And drinking lots of IPAs and good wine Before long it’ll be over and we’ll be back in Central America aboard our Beneteau, worrying about cleaning the bottom, changing our zinc anodes and worrying about our UV exposure, but until then we’re going to keep having fun here in the cold Northeast.