connect!

sensory overload.


I love coming back to the city after long stretches of being away because I'm reminded just how alive, as well as completely nuts this town is. Paris is crazy, but New York serves up a whole different plate of it, galvanizing the intrigue and allure of this iconic town. Wanting to absorb it all, I left my book and iPod in Paris to truly revisit my hometown.

On a subway ride to the East Village from the Upper West Side to meet my younger brother JoJo for potato pancakes at one of our childhood haunts Veselka, several incidents stood out...

Forgetting about the wild life that roam brave and free on the New York City subway tracks, I leaped at the sight of four generously-sized rats entertaining themselves with a spirited game of chase, splashing through stagnant oil-stained puddles from rainy days past on the tracks of the 1/9 line. While intently following this fearless joust, I had a friend who was equally interested but not so much by the track-side match, but its spectator: me. To my right, my eyes fell upon a caramel-colored water bug, the size of a hotel mini-bar bottle of booze, looking up at me with its inquisitive antennas. So, rats, I can handle (ish), large cockroaches who can fucking fly? I'd sooner watch several seasons back-to-back of the Real Housewives of Atlanta than be in the presence of these native New Yorkers.

Several times during my trip, I was in earshot of girls on their cell phones. American girls gabbing on the phone is what movies are made of, and given the volume in which they speak, eavesdropping is what I would call a civilian right. Conversations declaring adamant intentions of getting black-out, shit-faced drunk, or encouraging whomever was on the receiving end to just take a few shots to ensure fool-proof intoxication, or debating revisiting a slut phase and that a trial run was in order that evening, I found myself shocked as well as incredibly intrigued. Dialogue such as this perhaps does exist in Paris, but I for one have never overheard French girls going on about how it doesn't count as sex if it doesn't go all the way in. This sort of delusion that no one is listening in reminded me of my Hollywood waitress days. Us servers conducted more often than not gravely inappropriate conversations as if there was a wall between the coffee shop style counter where customers were faced towards us, eating, a mere two feet away, and our wait station. It was called to our attention by management when Patty, the 43 year old server was overheard complaining about her burning hemorrhoids by James Franco.

My senses were inspired by how much energy New York has, there's always something to look at. How did I take this for granted for so many years? I also forget just how open Americans are, especially New Yorkers, where it takes very little to ignite a conversation with a complete stranger. At the counter at Veselka, my brother and I engaged in pierogi small talk with other patrons, he also managed to make an appointment with our server who overheard that my brother was looking for someone to tune his baby grand piano and it just so happened that this was his side job (well, that, and recording bird sounds).

My trip is coming to a close and will return back to the City of Light with all of my paperwork, another to-do list, spring clothes, maybe a jumpsuit or two, and three tubs of strawberry mist Betty Crocker icing. It was great seeing you New York, we need to do this more often...

16 comments:

  1. Ha, fabulous conversations to overhear, and I do like the local wildlife, who says you can't commune with nature in a city? ;o)

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    1. The conversations were so much fun. These girls were so vocal that I truly found myself shocked. It makes me wonder what kind of convos I used to have in public back when I was living in NY. I'm sure there's a blog post about it somewhere! Hahah!

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  2. Too funny:) This reminded me of being subjected to some Queens' gal phone conversation on the train from Newark airport to Penn station... Her story was quite enthralling, but she got off the train right before the punch line... When she did, the woman sitting in front of me looked at me and said: "Well, we'll never know how that ended!";)

    My sentiments exactly:)

    Glad you had a great visit!:) from what I hear, you missed crappy weather in Paris this weekend!

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    1. That's really funny!! That got a good laugh out of me (thanks!). I love that strangers are comfortable to talk to one another in the States. The few times I have done it here, like on the metro, it wasn't well-received. Like at all.

      I'm back in Paris and it's cold and overcast BUT the warm weather is coming on Sunday!! Let's hope la météo is correct!

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  3. As somebody who's English reserve makes it very difficult for her to initiate conversations with strangers, I really admire the way Americans just talk to anybody and when I went to New York, I was shocked by the fat that they just talk to you!...in a good way.

    Welcome back to Europe......as I look outside, it is snowing again!

    Bah!

    Love Denise

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    1. It must be really shocking to a visitor. Being raised there, it never occurred to me that this would be shocking (good or bad) behavior. We really do talk to everyone. You should see my mom, she'll talk to anyone! I definitely inherited it from her!

      Thanks for the welcome back. I saw that warm weather will start on Sunday...let's hope it lasts!!

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  4. I'll watch out for those bugs in May..excited to be going back to NYC.

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    1. Ewwww, so, so, so gross. Those monsters are BIG. I just got chills thinking about them.

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  5. Aww L, thanks so much for writing about our cher New York! I love your descriptions. I haven't been back in almost 2 years, and I've been missing it! That energy, that openness .. those elements that just don't exist here. And my darling East Village! Mmmm Veselka.. my late-night pierogi spot! Served with apple sauce and sour cream, yum! I took my Frenchman there for his first pierogi. :) I miss so many things! I'm glad you had a nice time. Good luck with the rest of your paperwork!

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    1. 2 years?!?!?!?! Holy merde. Oh when you go back, you're in for some MAJOR reverse culture shock! You'll do things like try to flush the toilet but pressing the top of the tank instead of reaching for the handle and walking into Rite Aid and saying bonjour. You'll see. It's quite funny.

      Veselka is awesome, isn't it? That used to be one of our family diners growing up. We'd get our blitzes on Saturday morning there. So good!! Can't wait to see you next month!!

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    2. Ha ha ha ha!!!! I know! It's gonna' be un truc d'Ouf! I love your examples! I will be wide-eyed when seeing the cashier standing up and a dude bagging my groceries for me! It doesn't look like I'll be back anytime soon, either. One thing that I hope I don't do is eat my burger with a fork and a knife! ha

      Veselka as a family diner- how cool! We were on LI so we'd go to the Greek ones.

      Awww, I can't wait to see you either!!!

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  6. Reading this post is the first thing I've done today (after getting out of bed and making a cup of tea) and I cannot stop laughing at what apparently doesn't count as sex. That's some funny stuff and the best way to start my day! Thanks for the chuckle Ella :) xo

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    1. Hahahaah I was reluctant to add it in the post because it's a bit forward but I just had to. I was so shocked when she said it that I couldn't NOT share it with you guys. I'm glad you got a laugh out of it too!

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  7. This is what happens when you hang out in the EV! Tell me you are still in town? I am so late to the game...

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    1. I'm replying to so late! Sorry! As you may have gathered, I'm already back in Paris. We should meet up next time I'm in the city!

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  8. How funny, you make me homesick. Embarrassingly I was once one of those vulgarians defining what cm entry juncture defined 'real' sex too loudly on my cell. When I was home and very preggers seeing my HS friends I naturally lifted my shirt to show them my wonderfully grand bazoongas. Something that would never ever occur to me to do in Paris -- no less at a perfectly reputable resto! One falls to old habits (wonderfully open old habits) so easily the minute you arrive.

    Thank you for this visit, my lovely. To you -- and to Patty and her burning hemmorhoids!

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