Friday, December 18, 2009

"Splendidly happy"

We were in Brooklyn this weekend for the first time since April and a close friend commented later that I seem splendidly happy. I so love that. We had met at a time when I was still bitterly saying, "I won't move to Northampton, no matter what!" and she watched go through the changes that brought me to the acceptance that actually, moving here was my heart's desire for both me and my family. Now that we're three years into it, I think it was the best thing ever for our family.

An old therapist used to talk about ambiguity and how important it was to see the grays. To whit: It was wonderful to be back in Brooklyn, and I am so glad I don't live there any more. I loved seeing my friends -- Eve from grad school and family hosted us, and we also saw Laurie and family from grad school, and Emily, and Ismene, our friend and the mom of a friend of Lily's, and Nadine, ditto, and Mike and Steph, Lily's godparents, and I also saw Kim and Shante. Phew!

But it didn't feel rushed and jammed this time, although I was a bit hoarse by Saturday night. Had a great steak at a bar called Alchemy on 5th Avenue, Latino rice and beans and chicken from Los Pollitos II and La Tacqueria (I just clicked on this link and there was a photo of my friend Sylvia, beaming at the camera!), an omelet and a bowl of tea at Le Gamin, and a lovely walk in Prospect Park on Saturday morning. I do love that park!

(Sometimes you just want to go where everyone knows your name, right? and walking the Slope streets felt so familiar and friendly. But here's the thing: I feel that way in Northampton now. I have friends, I am known and even cared for, I laugh here, I bump into people I know in the street, I feel seen. I am a Northamptonite. I like the cold, even though it's really cold. I like the snow, which stays a bit cleaner and fresher with fewer people and less pollution.

I love coming home to a warm house when there's a cold, driving rain. I like seeing the gray-white smoke curl out of our chimney as I back out of the driveway. I love eating winter soups and stews. I so enjoy a hot soak in the tub before climbing into my flannel sheets under the down comforter with two pillows. I love waking up to the trees heavy with snow.

The cat often comes sleep with me around one a.m. , but only on my left side as Dave doesn't like having a cat in the bed. Last night I was turned the wrong way and she gave a little mew and I sleepily rolled over and held up the covers so she could crawl under. I rubbed her cold ears and patted her as she purred me back to sleep. I woke up again a bit later and just having her there helps me fall back asleep.

It reminds me of when Lily was little and she would do the same thing. Only she was so small she had to get a lift up the side of the bed, or else she'd climb up the iron bars at the foot. Now that she's about 5-2 and close to 100 pounds there really isn't enough room in our bed for three, and she hasn't come in with us in a long time. I miss that. I wish we had room for a king-sized bed.)

But I digress. What specifically made me realize I am glad we moved was sitting in Gorilla Coffee on Saturday afternoon chatting for a couple of hours. The line to get served curled around and almost out the door. I remember walking by the night before they opened a few years ago and watching the folks inside meticulously putting little letters on a huge menu; the drink options were numerous. Now there are about six items and the letters are much bigger. The logos have all been redesigned and there are tee-shirts and mugs and there probably always were, but it just looks so much more hip. Everyone at the tables seemed about 12 years old, and hip beyond words, and the music was so loud I spent the visit asking my friend to repeat herself.

I so wish Gorilla success and best wishes. Darlene, the owner, was very helpful when I was thinking about starting a toffee business (called Three Sisters Toffee, with "pace yourself" as the tagline). I love her red scooter, and I love Gorilla. But if its changes are indicative of what life is like on 5th Ave. in the Slope, I am clearly way too square.

I've said it before: I miss my friends. I miss diversity, diversity of thought, gender, economics, food, culture, music, as well as race and ethnicity. I miss certain food -- bagels, NY pizza, fresh mozzarella. I don't miss the mayor and the way he's allowed developers to run rampant. I don't miss the DOE, or the corrupt and nasty MTA management. I don't miss the crowds and the buses and the crazy drivers and the speed and the dirt and the noise. It's the pace I don't miss, and the competitiveness, although I did try to stay out of that one as much as I could.

One final note: I was sad to see that Yogasana, the studio on the corner of our block, was gone, but happy to see they've just relocated. Made us wonder if Lazlo finally sold the building, as there's now a hair salon in that space -- just what 5th Ave. needs (not!), which he would have loathed.

Ah, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, let me in! But only for a visit.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.