Every time I go to/come back from/talk about New York – aka the town where my two besties live – I inevitably get the question: “Why don’t you just move there?”
It’s not that I mind the question; it’s totally legit. I spent the better part of two years trying to figure out if I should. But, approximately 8-10 months ago (I should really write these things down), I realized that I wouldn’t move there because I just plain don’t want to.
It’s that simple. The city, while I find it interesting and certainly worth visiting, especially with four of my fave people hanging out there now, isn’t really somewhere I’ve ever dreamed of living. Boston? Sure. Some crazy, internet-poor country with water I have to boil to drink? Totally. But the Big Apple? Not so much.
Still, while I was trying to puzzle this whole thing out – because nothing is ever simple with me – I went ahead and made a little list of reasons why I couldn’t move there. And here it is, for your entertainment.
I love to drive.
I’m all for public transportation and being green and not having a car payment, but goddammit, I fucking love driving. It’s a huge stress reliever for me. Maybe that’s why I’m not awesome at it…but still, after over 2 weeks in New York this break, I was itching to get behind the wheel.
I’m too colorful.
Not talking about language here – I’m the right amount of colorful in that department. I’m talking about clothes. When I looked around the subway car – first of all, you shouldn’t look around the subway car, no real New Yorker ever does – each day this winter, I was ALWAYS the only person wearing a lime green winter coat. Occasionally I would see a dark purple, a few navys, maybe even a red one. But never, ever did I see another lime green coat. And what fun is life if your clothes aren’t colorful? Everyone in NYC wears a basic uniform of building-colored outerwear. It’s like city-camouflage. Unless you’re under the age of 10, and then you might have a Dora the Explorer coat. But you’re also 4. So there’s that.
Everyone smokes pot, wherever and whenever they feel like it.
I am, probably predictably, often a square when it comes to indulging in illegal drugs. And certainly when it comes to marijuana, considering I’m allergic. How do I know, you ask? Well, what I tell my kids is that I made those little hemp bracelets at summer camp and got a REALLY bad rash and the camp nurse told me that I was allergic to the plant and that it would be very, very dangerous to smoke pot when I got older, so I never should. Believe me? Nope? That’s okay.
That story IS true, fyi, but since when do kids listen to camp nurses? Anyway, the upshot of my allergy is that I ALWAYS know when someone’s smoking pot because my throat itches and my eyes water, and it makes ME look like I’m smoking pot even though I’m not! So I’d rather not look like a stoner on my commute. Or when shopping at Fairway for groceries. Or in the movie theater. You get the idea.
I would spend all my moneys on shows, museums, and delicious foods.
We all know that I have, like, zero will power. It’s a proven fact. Which means that every single time that I visit, I spend money on seeing a show (this time it was well worth it, I totally recommend catching Waiting for Godot if you’re headed up there soon). I also always go to at least one museum, sometimes the same one! This time, I visited both the Morgan and the Guggenheim.
Let’s not even talk about the unlimited drink brunches and fancy-pants restaurants and everything else. New York is like the epicenter of the US’s melting pot of cultures. You can find any kind of food that you want there: Mexican and margs for happy hour, French for a light lunch, or Chinese for Christmas Eve. The only problem with this culture tsunami is that all of it costs money. More money than it would here in Dallas.
Speaking of delicious foods, I would also gain a bazillion pounds.
I do not care that walking all over the city would be good for me – that’s so not going to make up for the huge amounts of carbs that I’ll consume from the city’s many bakeries, or the Seamless orders that don’t require me to get my ass downstairs for take-out. I would be fatter than…Garfield? Is that still a pop culture reference? Maybe? Yeah? Anyway, it wouldn’t be pretty, which is a real shame, as I’m finally in single digits for the first time since my age was also a single digit.
Stuff is SO expensive.
It’s not just the museums, restaurants, and shows, guys. It’s not even the fact that I would be so excited that there’s not a tax on clothes that I would drop tons of money to buy things I have no closet space for at home. It’s everything all rolled together.
To maintain the same standard of living in the city, I would have to essentially double my approximate salary. More than double it to live in Manhattan (graphic from money.cnn.com) and a little less than double it to live in Brooklyn. But then I would be living in Brooklyn.
People are the WORST.
I’m not one of those tourists that’s going to tell you that people in New York are mean. I don’t think they are. When I’ve needed advice or a helping hand in the city, someone’s almost always been there – even if I avoided them because they looked shady. I will tell you, however, that the reason that people think New Yorkers are mean is that they’re so effing tired of all the stupid people who are all over the damn city that they don’t even want to deal with you anymore. People. Are. Everywhere. And honestly, at this point it doesn’t matter to me whether they’re hurried and jaded New Yorkers or lost and entitled tourists. It’s just a different version of misery to have to be surrounded by them all the time. I need my space.
I need my space.
I’m not claustrophobic, unless I’m already losing my shit over something else. Then it’s more of a side effect. See Facebook posts from when I was weather-stranded for four days on my trip this time. But, I have a lot of stuff. While I don’t necessarily consider myself materialistic, I’ll still admit that I have way too much crap around. I’m a bit of a pack rat sometimes. My gift closet is a prime example. Or the boxes of clothes 1-4 sizes too big for me that I’m keeping “just in case.”
In addition to that, I have a lot of varied interests. I really like to read, and books take up space. Don’t even try to talk to me about a Kindle, I have one, and I use it, but it’s not the same, so let’s not go there. I also like to paint, and craft, and cook with strange tools. I like to try new things, which includes sewing. I’m really into music, and I like to pretend to keep up with playing the piano. There are all things that have supplies to complete, and I can’t store all those supplies in a studio apartment. And yes, I need those activities to be happy. I may not need all my materialistic crap, but I need my activities, and my activities need supplies.
My dogs grew up with a yard.
Which doesn’t mean that they couldn’t transition to city life, but I would really have to long for a tiny apartment (which I don’t – see above) to do that to them. Even with a regular dog walker, it’s not the same as having the freedom to just romp around whenever they want. And no, I’m not giving them away, either. What’s wrong with you? Dogs are family!
So, in conclusion, I’m glad that I own my little house in Dallas suburbia, even if it makes all of my friends wonder why the hell I bought here. It makes sense for my life, where New York or even a pricier suburb doesn’t. And there’s always that secret little reason that I keep hidden most of the time, but that my scarily-perceptive long-term student called me on this week.
New York just doesn’t feel like home.
“You don’t get that feeling, do you, Miss?”
“That feeling when you’re walking around, that you feel like you belong there.”
“No, you know, I guess I don’t.”
Nod. “That’s too bad. I get that feeling in Brooklyn, but not Manhattan. And my sister gets it in Portland.”
“Yeah. Do you get it anywhere but Mesquite?”
“Boston, Columbia, Buenos Aires…”
“But not New York?”
“Not New York.”
“I guess that’s that then, huh?”
I guess so. 🙂