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.