One of my favorite blogs to read is Skinny Emmie. Y’all are inspired by me? Well, she’s one of my inspirations and I only wish I had started reading her blog when I was still living in Lexington as I feel she and I would get along famously in person.
Anyway, the other day she posted about her recent trip to New York City and how different it was from the last time she went. It was only in reading her new post that I started to reflect on my last trip to the Big Apple.
So back in, oh, 2005 or 2006, Sissy and I went to New York City together. The purpose for the trip was that two of my favorite authors, Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, were given a reading together along with John Irving. Oh yes, people. I got to hear J.K. Rowling read from the 6th Harry Potter book. In person. From maybe 15 rows back at Radio City Music Hall. I also saw Stephen King from the same spot. And it wasn’t just the three writers as all three were introduced by celebrities as well, like Kathy Bates introducing Stephen King and claiming she was his biggest fan (and if you don’t understand that reference, may I suggest you rent this little horror movie titled “Misery,” keeping in mind that the hobbling scene is way worse in the book).
Of course, our tickets cost a fortune so Sissy and I decided to stay with a high-school friend of mine who was living in Brooklyn. I also had another high-school friend just moving to the neighborhood and a college friend was in Astoria, so we had quite a fabulous time seeing the ‘other’ New York, since all of our previous trips with our parents had us staying in the city.
Staying outside of Manhattan required walking. Lots of walking. Walking to the subway. Walking from the subway. Walking around the city. Lot and lots and lots of walking. And I was not a walker. I was a driver. I was a girl who relied on her car for transportation. I can only take a wild guess at what I weighed at that time, but I imagine it was only maybe 270. I say “only” because I wasn’t yet above 300, but I was still terribly out of shape, huffing and puffing with every step.
It was also summer. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to New York in summer time but oh. em. gee is it hot there. Not just when you’re outside, but then you go into the subway stations and they are like furnaces and very few of the stations or subway cars were air conditioned nor, I don’t think, was my friend’s apartment.
In a word: I was miserable.
Which is sad because I love New York City. I love the energy and the sights. It’s the home of Broadway and musicals and that sassy singleton Carrie Bradshaw and there is just so much life there. Fabulous shopping and restaurants and parks and people. It’s still unlike any city I’ve ever been to before and as a kid I so wanted to one day grow up and be a famous writer living in the Manhattan.
At that time, it was about a year after I graduated with my BFA and I was back living at home because, hi, a degree in creative writing doesn’t get you very far in the job market. I was looking into going back to school and I planned on getting my Master’s in Publishing. Yes, ladies & gents, at one point in a previous life I dreamed of being an Editor. I had taken the GRE and applied to a handful of the handful of schools that offered the Masters: my top choice was Emerson in Boston although I had also applied to Pace in New York.
Emerson rejected me but I was accepted into Pace. They even offered me a $1000 scholarship to attend.
At that time I also had a long-distance boyfriend living in Kentucky and we had talked about moving to Boston if I was accepted into Emerson. Only I wasn’t and so I decided to move to Kentucky instead of attending my second choice school. That plan didn’t quite work out the way I had anticipated, as within six months of my moving I broke up with him. But c’est la vie.
Truth is, though, my decision to turn down Pace and my dreams of being an Editor had nothing to do with my boyfriend or moving to Kentucky. It wasn’t about the school or the program or the city.
It was the walking.
As soon as I got home from that trip I knew there was no way I’d survive in New York. Not when I got physically exhausted just walking a single city block. I felt gross at the end of each day because I was drenched in sweat, my hair a wet mess. Red-faced with exertion, what little makeup I put on melted off within an hour. I was cranky and tired and not much fun to be around. I couldn’t manage two days, how was I going to manage two years?
Of course, if I had moved to New York I would have survived. I mean, let’s not be melodramatic here. And, naturally, like anything else, the more often you do something, like walking around the city, the easier it would get with time. But I wasn’t thinking about that. I was only thinking about how much hard work it would be just to get around on a daily basis and I was lazy and full of excuses.
So I didn’t move to New York. I moved to Kentucky instead. I did end up going to grad school, but it was for my Masters in Library and Information Science, which is a much better fit for me anyway. I still love Harry Potter and Stephen King, though Carrie Bradshaw has since married Mr. Big. Two of those three friends still reside in ol’ New York, though the third is now in Colorado.
And me? Well, these days I’m not afraid of a little exercise or exertion when on vacation. In fact, I look forward to it and plan for it. In other words, I don’t just walk these days. I run. How ’bout them apples, eh?
Love from the ashes,