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Wider than a mile

August 22, 2011

It was a bumpy flight back to New York yesterday afternoon. It’s never a good sign when they repeatedly announce that you should make sure your seatbelts are on. The landing was one of the roughest I’ve ever encountered. We slammed into the ground with such force that my jaw rattled and all the passengers gasped. I can’t imagine how it didn’t blow out a tire.

I took car service down the BQE into Brooklyn, where the heavens opened. Sitting in traffic on 9th Street, I watch the IKEA bus pull up alongside of us and dozen of people got out holding blue and yellow bags over their heads like a strange and colorful parade.

When I got to Cranky’s I found not only Cranky and Baby J, but also my friend L, who I haven’t seen since my wedding 11 years ago. L didn’t stay long, but it was great to see her and catch up a little. Baby J is getting ever more outgoing and entertaining. She let me feed her spoonfuls of rice and she tried to feed me her carrots.

After dinner, I headed to my new digs in the Village. It was pouring by the time I got out of the subway. Wanding around the village on a warm rainy night seemed friendly. People were shrieking with laughter while dodging raindrops. A small girl was jumping in puddles, splashing her parents. I shared a conspiratorial eyeroll and smile with the doorman down the street over a woman walking her dog who was sprinting from awning to awning. Walking in the rain down the cobblestone block where I’m staying, I saw a black cat, drenched and it was hard to keep from humming “Moon River.”

My building has no doorman, but an awning, which I was glad to have as I fumbled with my luggage and keys. I wish I could show you pictures of the apartment, but it seems wrong to post photos of someone else’s art without permission. But I love that the walls are covered floor to ceiling with canvases, some finished, others not; some mounted, others just tacked to the wall. The light is bright. There is a wall of books and notes and photos tacked up everywhere. I keep finding interesting things to look at. It’s a place that inspires work. I can see why our friend keeps it to paint and write in. And even though nearly everything in it belongs to someone else, it feels strangely homey. It’s quiet and peaceful, yet when I come out onto the street, there are lots of things going on. People walking up and down the street, stopping to talk or step into one of the restaurants. The only downside is that internet access is a little unreliable. I’m logging onto an unsecured line that I suspect belongs to one of the bars or coffee shops down the road. This morning it was locked up, but tonight it is back again.

I had a nice long walk to work, straight up Fifth Avenue this morning. I like how it moves from the smaller, cosier Village to more of a big city feel as I go, with the Empire State Building like a Beacon at the end. I had to be there early to get ready for a meeting, so the streets were fairly quiet. When I crossed through Madison Square Park, two children were taking a spin around the fountain while their father walked a dog nearby. On the other side of the park is where the city gets down to business. Shopkeepers were hosing off their bits of sidewalk. The fruit carts were arranging their produce. I hadn’t made it out for groceries when I arrived — the rain drove me in and kept me there. So I stopped for a bagel and a banana before heading into my office building, stopping to say hello to the doorman, who recognizes me now and doesn’t ask to see my ID card.

The meeting I had worried about went well, I think. It was my first real outing in my new role and I was very nervous about it. There were some contentious moments — one of the topics was a bit controversial. But my assistant said it was the most efficient and productive one of them that she’d ever been to. And I got some unexpected praise from my boss, which was nice. But I’m glad to put it past me. Tomorrow I get to roll up my sleeves and get back to work. Projects keep piling up. It’s hard to keep up. But they’re good projects, interesting projects. And I’m happy to be here.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Anna permalink
    August 22, 2011 7:25 pm

    Lovely post – I feel like I’ve been there. I’m locked up now, but it’s mind thegap if you feel like dropping in x

  2. August 22, 2011 8:48 pm

    Do you feel like this job is using more parts of your brain than you’ve used for work before? Ron said something like that a year or so ago about the job he has, which I took as high praise for it, and I was thinking of that today as I made notes for all the things I need to do next for my new job. It’s the first time in years I couldn’t just do all the things, but had to stop and make notes because some of them will require multiple steps, questions and answers, brainstorming with other people, all kinds of interesting things like that.

  3. August 22, 2011 9:04 pm

    Jeanne, most definitely. I think you asked me when I was writing about interviewing for the job if I thought it used almost all of my brain. And I think that’s an excellent way to put it. It probably uses more of my brain than any other job I’ve ever had, including university teaching or dissertation writing, mainly because of the sheer variety of skills it requires. And yes, many notes are required. And sadly, sometimes I need more notes to organize my notes. It’s the brainstorming part that makes it really fun and challenging. I’ve always liked wrestling with big picture, theoretical questions and mapping them into practical use. I’ve just never gotten paid for it before. And I’m so glad you’ve found that in your new job as well!

    And Anna, I’m off to catch up with you. Thanks so much for the password!

  4. August 22, 2011 11:04 pm

    I love your description of the experience. It makes me miss New York so much. I’m so glad you’re happy there! And I got a little choked up, thinking about Cat.

  5. August 23, 2011 7:25 pm

    Did you feel the earthquake? When I read about it this afternoon I thought of you. Although it sounds like it was a small one, apparently still impressive?

  6. August 23, 2011 7:30 pm

    Yes, very much so. Very freaky. They actually had a voluntary evacuation, although our floor deemed it alarmist and stayed. I’ll blog about it later.

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