I was born on the outskirts of Washington DC, but I grew up 20 miles away from the biggest, best city in the world: New York. Because my father was only supposed to be in the New York office temporarily, I always thought of myself as a Maryland kid who was in a New Jersey exile. Like Hemingway or Roman Polanski were in France, but with out all the alcoholism or pedophilia.
As I grew older, and the chance that we would move back to DC began to become less and less likely, I began to think about how I would have to make the move myself. There is only so many Yankees or Giants games an Orioles and Redskins fan should ever be forced to watch, and so in adulthood I made my way back to Maryland via Central Pennsylvania. More pages of my story turned, and before I knew it I had settled back in my old College town. I was no longer a Maryland boy in Jersey, or a Jersey boy in York, but a man without a home. Ask me where I'm from and your libel to get a complicated response.
In all those years, I never really gave any thought to the idea of just staying in the area I grew up in. Sure I loved being able to just pop into the city the way some people in the rest of the country drive to Wal Mart, but I never thought of it as anything more than a given. Do you want to see sporting event? Well, there is a world class professional or college game nearly every day of the year. Plays, Museums or live music? Well that's unparalleled too. Not to mention a million little shops selling everything from records to vegan lip balm, and that's just SoHo, the Village and the Lower East Side.
I was in the City for work this week for what seems like the 10th time this year. I think the number of times I've been back this year have really lead me to miss how close I used to be to it. Not that the 3 hour drive I have now is too far for a day trip, but it is much harder to do with any frequency and/or spontaneously. There was nothing quite sitting in the diner on some random weekday and just deciding to go into the Village and see what kind of trouble we could find. I once thought that was a whim I would outgrow, but now I know that fancy free approach to life knows no age limit.
So now I find myself just waiting for Inky to hit it big as a novelist or screen writer so we can move to Brooklyn and live the life I once didn't know I would later want.