Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Nice Weather for Polar Bears

I didn't mean to end up in New York for some of the coldest weather in decades.

It just happened to work out like that.  More on the reasons for that later.

It was really nice to be back though.  I still get a bit of a culture shock the moment I step off the plane, and it lasts for a bit.  You walk in to a diner, they will serve you anything at all hours of the night (and they are nice about it!), and there is ketchup on every table.  THAT IS THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER.  It is if you've lived in Paris for a while anyway.  Ketchup!  You don't have to ask for it!  It's there, free for the taking, to drown whatever your want in, no judgments!  Also, when you walk into a store and someone rushes over to help you....THAT IS AMAZING AS WELL.  I spent the first week in New York nervously chatting with clerks and barkeeps, thrilled and wide-eyed about all things American.  Seriously!  What exactly did France do to me, anyway?

Aside from being greeted by crippling blasts of polar air, plenty of snow and ice, and a bit of griping from the locals, I was so cheery and happy to be back, I hardly noticed that I couldn't feel my...well, much of anything.  Not since childhood in Maine had I been in cold that bitter and nasty.

I really packed a lot in this trip.

I landed a temporary pad right in Columbus Circle.  At first, I was a little horrified, as this is a very tourist-and-mall-shop heavy area of Manhattan.  Then it dawned on me:  I barely had to walk more than three blocks in any direction, and all my errands were taken care of.  It was a brilliant place to center oneself.  And oh, man, takeout!  We had forgotten that if you don't feel like going out, there is always someone willing to bring food to you.

I actually had to try really hard to leave the neighborhood, as that very uptown-New York mentality set in where everything seemed so very far away suddenly.  Visiting friends in the East Village became a schlep, and what, you want me to come to Brooklyn, what?

Still, there was much fun to be had.  More than anything, it felt good to be with old friends again.  They braved the cold and snow and we ate and drank and acted like fools.  It was perfect.  No one I know is lame enough to consider going on a post-new year health food binge.  For that, I am grateful.

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