Friends, it’s Jimmy, and I’m sorry it has been so long since I’ve delighted you with the power of my words, but I’m very lazy.
Pictured: My Soul
I can’t even remember the last time I sat down to write for Made of Bees, and that’s a tragedy, so I’m going to be jumping on here more often than not to give Katie a break from generating content (as long as I don’t have to take off my muumuu). That being said… let’s get on with it!
We’ve been in Manhattan for 6 months now. The first 2 months were scary, but exciting. The middle 2 months were all over the place. The last 2 months have gone back to being scary and exciting. I’ve been told it takes at least a year to get used to living here, so Katie and I are at the halfway point of getting used to living in the city so nice they named it twice. In that small amount of time I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the big apple.
I like walking around aimlessly on the lower east side.
I enjoy barreling through Chinatown trying not to make eye contact with one of the souvenir shop owners selling I Love NY hats (because I’d be tempted to go in and buy one).
I really, really like this whole $1 slice of pizza thing that I’m sure existed back in Rochester, but wasn’t present every other block.
I love that Katie and I went to a free comedy show on Tuesday night at an Irish bar in midtown and saw comics that have been on Conan, Letterman, The Tonight Show, Comedy Central and Howard Stern. (I also love that I’ve become friends with some of those people despite how not even close to being on their level I am as a stand-up.)
There’s a lot about living here that I’m not exactly crazy about, too, but that’s something I’d say (if I was being honest) about any place Katie and I called home. It’s just that NYC is so big, so heavily populated and so full of things to do and see that if I focused in on the negatives I’d be wasting valuable time and energy that could be better spent eating $1 slices of pizza.
To be fair, here are the things about living here I’m not crazy about:
- drunk people on the subway getting all up in my shit.
- sober people on the subway getting all up in my shit.
- getting lost in the West Village.
- knowing that I’m going to get lost in the West Village.
- those god damn slush puddles in the middle of crosswalks that look deceptively shallow, but end up being full of hypothermia, dirt and your favorite foot.
There’s more that annoys me about living here, but all of them are trumped by how much I really, really like living here. No matter how difficult things have become for Katie and I over the last 2 months, all of it seems to melt away whenever one or both of us realize we’re 20 minutes away from Central Park, 10 minutes away from Fort Tryon, 35 minutes away from UCB and everything around us is gorgeous always.
New Yorkers have this reputation of being rude, fast-moving jerks that don’t have time for tourists and their bullshit; which is ridiculous. Nobody has time for tourists and their bullshit anywhere, but when you’re speed-walking down 7th avenue towards Penn Station because you have to catch a train to the east side and some jabroni with cargo shorts and sandals stops you to ask for directions… you always stop and help. Always. New Yorkers, for all the shit other people talk about them, will give you their time 8 times out of 10 if you need their help. I’ve seen it time and time again over the last 6 months.
Complete strangers helping each other get where they need to go is one of the more beautiful things I’ve had the privilege of seeing here. It happens everyday without fail. I’ll be on my way to an open mic or show and whenever I hit midtown there’s always at least one visitor standing around looking confused and, almost always, some resident of the city says “do you need help?” I’ve seen more random acts of kindness here than I ever have any place else. Even the homeless people that are normally overlooked by the vast majority of society, because they are incredibly difficult to look at since they serve as a reminder that happiness is not a fate guaranteed to anybody, are treated decently by the majority of New Yorkers.
One of the most touching things I’ve ever seen in my entire life happened on Tuesday when I was going to an early evening open mic. There was a very young man wrapped in a blanket on a street corner with a sign that said “Home is where your heart is. I’ve got heart, but I still need a home.” He looked beaten and dragged down by the harsh weather he’d certainly been living in for however long, and he could barely do anything but clench his quivering jaw and shiver. So I gave him some change, nodded and kept on walking thinking “that was so nice of me!”
The incredibly touching thing happened after the open mic when I was walking back toward the subway so I could run to another mic on the other side of town. I saw two ladies dressed in business suits talking to the homeless man I’d passed about an hour beforehand. He was smiling at them and they were smiling back at him. I was waiting to cross the street and heard this snippet of their conversation.
“How long have you been out here?”
“About 3 months.”
“How did it happen?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well… let’s see if we can figure that out, but in the meantime, here’s enough money to get you a room in a shelter and a warm meal. We’ll walk over there with you and talk more on the way. Would you like a coffee?”
I was blown away. I have no idea if the ladies had an ulterior motive, but I’m going to believe that they didn’t, because I want to believe that this city takes care of the people inside of it even when there is stifling evidence to the contrary. So, so many people have helped Katie and I find our way when we’ve been lost literally and figuratively. We help each other, sure, but we’re in a new place surrounded by new people and buildings that literally pierce the clouds, so at times it can be terrifying, but all you have to do is look around and ask for help. It’ll be there. It may not come from the person you thought it would, but it will come.
This city, this big, scary, overly populated city full of $1 slices of pizza and more magic than you can shake a stick at, is finally starting to feel like a place to call home, and that’s because I’m finally starting to see its heart. New York, I love you. Let’s be best friends.