Saturday, April 21, 2007

And on she goes...

This has really been sort-it-out week with my thinking and feelings about the city. Every now and then I have periods of this, but this one is different. Usually I think a lot about my relationship with the city when it is not going well and I feel really upset by it. This time, I feel more rational. Like I am able to step back and really analyze what exactly isn't working for me. There is not a large element of emotion as I sort this out, and that is odd for me. I often feel like One Large Element of Emotion.

So, I had friends visit. More come tomorrow. All of these friends that are visiting are friends from college. Friends from before we moved here when we lived in Massachusetts. We were among the first of our friends to get married and our home was the social center for least that is what it felt like to me. Recently a friend asked me to share one of my favorite memories. I told her about a time that Dave and I got home and found that three of our friends had broken into our apartment (well, they knew where the extra key was hidden), were watching a movie on our bed and eating ice cream out of our freezer. I was elated. And what's more: they knew I would be. I felt like a mother-hen of sorts. A 23 year old mother-hen. I loved that they felt comfortable enough to drop by, to know how thoroughly they are welcome. And that making themselves welcome brings me so much joy.

See, the thing is, I am good at keeping house. I can't debate politics well, I am really bad at Trivia Pursuit (which I never seem to remember when a game is starting) and I am awkwardly quiet in new groups. But, this is not to say that I don't have my gifts. I make a killer pizza. Killer. From the dough up. Most days my bathroom is clean. I am so on top of the laundry situation that the system really runs itself. My house begs to be visited. My food begs to be eaten. I am a nurturer. And I love it.

I realized this when the last group of friends were here. These friends, that know me from before my city days. I remembered the reputation that I used to have for throwing frequent parties. For keeping the cookie jar full for when people stopped by. For being Mother Hen. I didn't say much during the political debates in my living room, but they were eating my spanikopita while debating. It's my place. It's where I fit and where I thrive.

I have not made that my reputation here. We don't often have folks over. No one has ever Just Stopped By. It just doesn't happen here. Why is that?

I always thought that it was because I was so shy. That I was slow to make friends. But, although there is some truth to that, that isn't the whole picture. I think a major factor in this has to do with the SIZE of the city. Dave and I have never worked in the neighborhood where we live. Our church is in another neighborhood. We know people from every borough. We have friends all over the city. But that is exactly the problem. They are all over the city. My closest friend is 20 blocks (1/2 hour subway ride, 1 hour walk) away. So, who exactly would Just Stop By?

So. On I go. Another step to a better understanding of why, exactly, I don't seem to be thriving here. So, what do I do with that? Who knows? Some days I'll add that to my Reasons Why I Want to Leave list. But hopefully, most days, I'll see that as a "challenge" and work to overcome it.

Anyway, if you're in my 'hood, know that my cookie jar is usually filled.
Just Stop By.


Laura said...

If I lived in your neighborhood, I would visit that cookie jar everyday! I totally relate to wanting people to just drop by...I would love it if people were in and out of my apartment all day. I wish you lived in our neighborhood! Oh well, I'm glad you have lots of friends visiting. Happy hosting!

Susan said...

I keep starting a comment, but there's too much to say! We'll talk tomorrow over cookies . . .

KBall said...

Thank God you are a nurturer, and that you have embraced your gifts! As for why "just dropping by" rarely happens in NYC, the distance has a lot to do with it—the city is a "third place" community (meaning people have a place outside of home and work to do their socializing).

Keep being true to who you are, and know that your giving heart is a blessing to those who do know you!