I Woke in the Middle of the Night

…knowing that I wanted to go home, to be in my own bed with Art and the dogs and the trees.


Being here, seeing and feeling myself set against the backdrop of this chaotic and self important city, I know that I’m a girl from the West and no matter how many times I visit I will always be a little out of step in NY. It’s like being in ballroom dancing class and wanting to waltz while my partner’s doing the Texas two step.

 

In a good way NY helps me to define myself by seeing what I am not. I am not someone who wants to wear high heels all the time. I do not like having to push through the crowds on the street. I don’t like so much going on around me, at least not now that I’ve been here a few days and the turn-on effect has worn off.

 

I like space around me, wide streets, and room to sprawl. I love my car and without asset of keys jingling in my purse, I feel that I’m minus an appendage. I like having things to do, a busy-ness in the world, being part of some enterprise of value, but I have to find my own pace and not be rushed and crushed on the way to see something or get or do something.

 

NY works an odd magic in me. I like the anonymity and feel a freedom in being among strangers. No one knows my name or gives a shit so I could strip to my skivvies on 5th Avenue and so what? I could stand on the steps of the Met and declare the new world order and folks would walk right by me. But I sense a danger in that. If I lived here I might become someone I am not, seduced by anonymity into being an actor in the world, not a be-er.

 

I wish I better understood the psychology of belonging and the role of place in my life.

 

Apart from the obvious fact that the people I love most are in California, why do I have a visceral connection to the West? Is it only that I’ve almost always lived where I could smell the Pacific or see the mountains? Or was I born with some genetic compass that drew me back to the western US from Australia (which has its share of wide wild places), from great and grimy London, and from DC, which I loved? My forebears on both sides were people who pushed forward toward the place where the land and sky take the sun to sleep.  Is that why I woke this morning with a longing to go West?

Filed under Life Matters, Travel | Tags: , , ,


2 Responses to “I Woke in the Middle of the Night”

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  1. Miriam Schraer says:

    Loved reading this. I grew up in New York and escaped to California.
    Once had a dream that I walked out of a subway station in Times Square and the only way I could survive was by holding a bouquet of flowers under my nose. New York is the only city where a taxi driver can see you are crossing the street, turn the corner and hit you, and then yell at YOU for being in his way. This actually happened to me.

    Drusilla, I took your class at the San Diego Writer’s Ink Fall into Writing Workshop and loved it! Would like to take more classes with you. Miriam

  2. Miriam Schraer says:

    Loved reading this. I grew up in New York and escaped to California (Berkeley) in 1971, when I was 25. Once had a dream that I walked out of a subway station in Times Square and the only way I could breathe was by holding a bouquet of wildflowers under my nose. New York is the only city where a taxi driver can see you are crossing the street, slowly turn the corner and hit you, and then yell at YOU for being in his way. This actually happened to me.

    Drusilla, I took your class at the San Diego Writer’s Ink Fall into Writing workshops and found it electrifying. Would like to take more classes with you. Miriam

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