Jet Drag

It's not that I have jet lag. That's worn off, though it wasn't that enjoyable while it lasted. I have jet drag, the condition where one is just plain sick of traveling and wants to be at home. That's not to say my trips weren't enjoyable. China, as I've noted, was extraordinary. The Vegas trip right on its heels was memorable, if not particularly well timed. And most recently I returned from New York, where I visited my friend who's about to have a baby.

Visiting New York is always special. I experienced such profound nostalgia this time, this profound, palatable sense of everything that once was during the increasingly brief-seeming period of three years when I lived there. I decided since I love bullet points to come up with two lists.

  • The Subway: This amazing work of engineering and public works puts the entire city within anyone's reach. It's clean, safe, predictable, with decent maps and train conductors that make even a little effort to tell you what the next station is. Those things are de rigeur in places like Europe or Asia, but in the U.S. I consider them a real accomplishment.
  • The Buses: Taking a bus in San Francisco is painful—it's slow, inefficient, often noxious, sometimes dangerous. You confront the lowest of the lower echelons of this city's denizens. In New York, regular, non-crazy people take the bus all the time. It's nice to see better-dressed people than you on public transport.
  • Overheard Converseations: Something definitive about New York is your proximity to other people. This means you get to eavesdrop on lots of interesting conversations, about buying houses, having children, visiting relatives in Florida, the cheapest martini on the Upper West Side, where we should have dinner tonight... Often uttered with a thick New Yorker's accent.
  • Being in the Pulsing, Vibrating Center of the Media Universe: I love walking out of MTV headquarters, then walking up Broadway to pass Paramount (Pictures) Plaza, David Letterman's theatre, the Newsweek offices, then cutting up Central Park West and over on 66th to by ABC's offices (I never had the Peter Jennings sighting I dreamed of but I saw Barbara Walters once), then ending up just past Lincoln Center. "Nowhere but New York..."
  • Matzoh Ball Soup Delivery: I don't really need to say more about that one...
  • Walking to the movies: I went to more movies when I lived in New York, and I do believe it had something to do with the fact that there were no cars involved in getting there.

  • The Weather: Wow, never thought I'd be saying this, because I remember how much I loved the dramatically changing seasons. But this time, it was just abominably, unpleasantly cold, and I was sick of it. Perhaps my change of opinion has something to do with the fact that the last four trips I've made to NYC have been in the February, March, April time frame--not the city's best time.
  • Rich People: New York, like no other city, gives you that feeling that you must be rich to be truly enjoying life. Again, this is a result of proximity—in other places, the rich can get away from the rabble, but in New York you constantly come face to face with the life of luxury. I don't like having to constantly remind myself that it's OK if I don't have a town car home from work every day, a posh private school where all the famous people's kids go, a personal assistant and/or trainer, an obsequious doorman who carries my groceries to the elevator, a posh apartment in a building people would kill to get into...
  • How Damn Far JFK is from Manhattan: I guess it's good to have the major international airport far from the heart of town, but that hourlong, $60 cab ride is the worst way for a city to say, "Welcome!"

    Both of these lists could easily be longer. But then this post would never move from Draft Purgatory to Published Delight. So that's all for now!

    Mary Tsao said...

    Yay, Jennie posted! And now let me demand some pictures of New York. Please.

    Hey, did we tell you that we're going there again the first week in May? Yes, it's true. Hope the weather isn't awful.

    Unknown said...

    OH, I have a bad New York thing. You're walking through Central Park, loving the view, watching people eat their lunches while sitting on park benches and then HORRORS! A gigantic sewer rat runs across your path, perilously close to your newly manicured, open sandaled toes.
    I also have a good New York thing. Walking up the steps to the library at Columbia University. p.s. thanks for posting again

    Jennifer said...

    Mary, the weather will be perfect around that time, neither too hot nor too cold.

    And I didn't take a single picture on this trip. That's jet drag in action.

    Mom, our trip was one of my best memories of the Big Apple.