Saturday, July 31, 2010


In full crisis mode, I set off for two weeks upstate to figure out if I could ever live there full time. I got in on Thursday to 73-degree weather with sunny skies and little to no humidity. I didn't have to worry about touching dirty subway poles or being harassed by panhandlers who were pregnant/AIDS victims/down on their luck/unemployed/raising money for their basketball team/just trying to make a living. I went to Walmart, where everything was at least $2 less than in the city. My parents made me all my favorite foods. In short, I was in heaven.

Then I got bored.

I decided to meet an old high school friend at a bar. This means that I drove the family minivan to a bar that was a mile away. While at the bar (which contained about 30 people...on a Saturday night), I nursed a beer for almost two hours so that I would be completely sober for the mile drive home. On the drive, I worried about A) driving, which I hadn't done since Easter; and B) my blood alcohol level, which should not have been a concern. What I should have been concerned about, however, was the giant possum that crossed the street as I was turning into my driveway and is currently hiding in the bushes by the front porch.

Somehow, drunk taxi rides and well-behaved sewer rats seem like a much more pleasant option.

Friday, July 30, 2010

And so it begins...

I'm starting this blog in the middle of Times Square in the middle of the summer in the middle of my semi-annual I-wanna-move-upstate crisis.

At least twice a year, I seriously wrestle with this problem, which puzzles upstaters and downstaters alike. Upstaters--who would say that they are waiting "in line" instead of "on line" and know to look for the glint of deer eyes while driving at night--can't fathom how I can live in a tiny apartment in a dirty, unsafe, unsanitary cluster of homeless people and misfits. Downstaters--who grew up taking the subway instead of a school bus and wonder which way the toilet water swirls in the great unknown beyond White Plains--just don't understand why I dream of a land without culture, class, and 24-hour delivery service. All excellent points.

Growing up in upstate New York (the REAL upstate, not just any area north of New York City proper), I considered Rochester to be "the city" and never dreamed I would actually live in the glamorous, mysterious, dangerous Isle of Manhattan. Even though my hometown is only a five-hour drive from Times Square, I didn't set a winter boot on a street in the grid system until a visit during my senior year of college. When my first job took me to New York City after grad school on August 13, 2001, I thought I had died and gone to a hot dog vendor-filled heaven. Three bucks, two bags, one me. Seriously. In a made-for-TV movie moment, my parents put me on the bus in my hometown with two suitcases and their prayers that I wouldn't get killed in the first month. Good thing they say a lot of rosaries.

Though I almost moved home after September 11th, I made the decision to stick to my original plan and stay in NYC for one year--during which I would publish my first book and get cast in a Broadway show--before I would return upstate to the real world.

Somehow, some way, it's almost ten years later and I'm still here. I'm still trying to figure out how that happened.