Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Secret Shame

All my life I dreamed of living in New York City. When Eva Gabor, as Lisa Douglas, on Green Acres sang "No! New YORK is where I'd rather stay... I get allergic smelling hay. I just adore a penthouse view, darling I love you but give me Park Avenue." I was singing (to my parent's lament) right along with her. That's where I wanted to be, it's where I knew I belonged. I used to fantasize about what my apartment would be like, sometimes I imagined a view of Central Park, sometimes a walk-up dive in the village, but it was always New York. And that's where I am now. I can't imagine living any where else - except, maybe, one day, Mexico.

But despite my desire for this city, that began somewhere around the age of 3 months - I'm quite sure I requested black diapers, white were so suburban - puh-leez! - there have been times in my life where other places have flirted with my attentions.

I'm not entirely proud of myself admitting this: but I have cheated on New York - in my mind. Yes, yes, there is that affair I'm having with Mexico... but I've discussed this with New York and we've agreed that an open relationship works best for us at the moment. I even wrote a love poem to my sweetie, NYC, on my first trip to Mexico - So I've been honest with myself and Manhattan about Mexico. It's the others. The ones I don't talk about. The ones that came before I ever moved here, when New York was still a fantasy too - not that that makes me feel any better about it.

I never thought I'd talk about this shameful aspect of my city-love. But I feel the time has come. ('Cause I really haven't got anything else to write about, so bear with me here, okay? I'm trying here, I'm TRYING. Please say that to yourselves in Dustin Hoffman's voice: think Midnight Cowboy. Really, do I have to hold your hand through all of this? Good. Thank you.)

I suppose this sordid past of mine was bound to bite me on the ass at one point. It seems today is the day. I have no one to blame but myself. This can of worms did not open itself. This was all my doing; I did my Pandora imitation and opened a link I shouldn't have. I listened to a song that brought all those old feelings flooding back - and I am sorry New York, truly sorry that I allowed myself to go to this place I thought I never would again. But I did it, and now I must confess.

This is the place I went today, the place I never thought would lure me in again.

Oh sure, laugh if you will but there was a tremendous draw to Cincinnati in my teenage years. A desire to see a city I couldn't imagine, one that seemed full of quirky fun people and the delicious Gary Sandy with his too-tight pants and his feathered hair... and good god do not get me started on that nose. *sigh* No really - *SIGH*

I have never been to Cincinnati in my life. The odds are very strong that I never will visit that fantasy land of my adolescence. But today, with that '70s FM easy-listening sit-com theme running through my head I long for a time when I thought I might live there, that Cincinnati might be more appealing than New York for me. Lord, forgive me I was just a KID!!! I didn't know what I was thinking. I was a slave to my teenage hormones!!! (and Gary Sandy.... God that nose... sorry... sorry.)

But truth be told, Cincinnati was not my only indiscretion. There was also a time I thought Maine... no particular town, just Maine. Around the same time there was a dalliance with Salem, Massachusetts. I suppose that one is a natural, given my spiritual leanings, but it was more than that. It was a dream of small town wholesomeness and tightly woven families - oddly enough in my fantasies about these places I was pretty much the crazy-lady outsider. Seems it didn't matter where I moved in my mind, in my heart I was meant for New York. Still the dalliances continued.

For a while in the '80s (into the '90s) I had a longing for deserts. Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada all called to me with their wide 0pen landscapes and wild cactus - and again the people who populated these places in my mind were always somewhat left of center. Outsiders who found a home in a place others steered clear of, eccentrics who sought solitude.

London was the other competition for New York. London, the only place I've ever been in my entire life where I did not instantly get lost. Truth! My very first trip to London I was leaving my friends and wandering around on my own. Me, the big chicken-shit with no sense of direction whatsoever (I still get lost on the West side of Manhattan fer cryin' out loud!). But I always knew exactly where I was in London - I turned down alleys and just knew where I'd come out on the other side: and I was right! It was the oddest thing. I felt very at home there.

The closest I've been to these fantasy loves of mine is Salem, once for a day; Las Vegas, on three separate trips one of which almost sucked me into a time-share. Yes, I was dead broke but I was ready to commit to a life-time time-share with Las Vegas. Clearly there are times when my emotions win out over my sense of reason. I'm like that. So sue me. And London, of course. (I'm leaving Mexico out of the discussion for now, it's too tender a topic.)

I'm going to indulge in my Cincinnati fantasy for another hour or so - then I think I'll be set for another couple of decades. Mexico however is calling me very, very loudly right now and though I was just there 2 scant months ago I feel a pull that is almost impossible to resist.

God damn but I'm fickle.


Ladron de Basura said...

I can pretty much relate to this. I have really had to work at liking San Francisco. It's a city could never love, but I've come to appreciate certain aspects of it. But at heart I will always feel like a native New Yorker with the misfortune of being born in the Midwest. It is the only city I've felt completely at home in and everything seems so natural to me. We'll see what I say post-Barcelona, but Cincinnati has never called out to me. Sorry.

Joy said...

Si, papi, this is why it is my shame. *sigh* No offense to Cincinnatians!

pmousse said...

Hmmm. You are fickle. Nevertheless, I have to agree with you about London. God, that's a wonderful city. And about Gary Sandy. That hair, oh that hair. I so wanted to be Bailey (name of actress? Can't remember)... just to be in the same office with him and his tight brown corduroys.

Jay said...

Wow, you get around a lot!But you keep coming back to NYC? That's nice, at least...shows you're not completely commitment-phobic.

mikster said...

I'd have gotten concerned had you yearned for say.... Little Rock... or something.


kimy said...

ah you are where you are and where ever that may be is... tis the ol mind that is the secret and nothing else. n'est ce pas?

Joy said...

Pmousse - Jan Smithers was the sweet Baily. I always thought those two would get together... I guess I'm a romantic.

Jay - I'm really not as commitment-phobic as I always thought I was... yet I DO need a lot to keep my attention.

Mike - Little Rock... oh dear, I'd be a bit concerned about me too!

Kimy - true. But it does feel good to admit my silly indiscretions. Luckily, New York understands.

Gary said...

When I first glanced at the two names Gary and Sandy I thought you were writing of your two favorite long time male buds. Then I realized you were discussing the actor with two first names.

But, isn't it amusing that you have two BFFs with these names. Is that part of your master plan?

BTW - I just got three children's books in the mail on Saturday about Mexico. I thought of you.

Joy said...

Don't think I didn't think there was something cosmic about that whole Gary - Sandy connection. Talk about 'putting it out there'! lol

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