Friday, July 23, 2010

Escape From New York

Well friends, it has once again been far too long since I've posted a new blog entry. This time, however, I feel like I have something that at least approaches a legitimate excuse. See, I've been back in California for the summer, and it's hard to learn things in New York while you're in California. Today, however, I saw a blog post by a friend of mine who has a blog that I would describe as very similar in spirit to mine, and I decided to dust off the ol' keyboard and get at it again.

And it's not like there hasn't been anything interesting going on in my life lately. After all, just last weekend I went on an adventure that involved silent films, the Castro district or San Francisco, missing the last train out of the city, and witchcraft. Sadly, it's not quite as exciting as it sounds.

But that's a story for another day. After all, the name of the blog isn't "Crazy Stuff That's Gone Down in SF." No, instead I'll talk about something much more boring: homesickness. Because apparently while I was in New York, I learned that it is my home.

The mixture of melancholy and nostalgia started as we drove across the Bay Bridge into the city. I couldn't help but notice the similarities between the two great American cities: iconic bridges, locations on the sea, and traffic. Eventually, despite the best efforts of the driver, we arrived in the city alive.

Upon arriving at our destination, we immediately noticed another similarity: parking (or lack there of). At any given moment, there are exactly 12 available parking spaces within the city limits of San Francisco and New York City combined. And 8 of those have meters. After driving around for what I'm sure must have been at least 3 hours, we found a space and parked.

Since we'd been in the car for what seemed like an eternity thanks to traffic and parking, we decided to get something to eat. Not seeing anywhere that sold Rice-a-Roni anywhere, we decided to get the other San Francisco treat: New York style pizza. We found a place called "Escape From New York Pizza" and I was at home immediately. There were pictures of New York tourist traps on the wall. There were large, thin slices of pizza for sale. There was a rude guy who only took cash working the counter. Oh, happy day! I was a big fan. If you're looking for genuine San Francisco New York style pizza, I highly recommend it.

That was all well and good, but it wouldn't be a true New York experience without at least one in-your-face interaction with a truly crazy person. Never fear, though, because that came the next day. This time there were four of us, and we had just seen a show at the Golden Gate Theater. Once again, we needed to find some food. We crossed the street when there were no cars coming, even though the light hadn't changed yet, (just like being home! -- forgive the shameless self-promotion) and were about to continue down the next block when it happened.

"What the [expletive] you looking at, [racial slur]?!"

After trying to figure out whether he had more teeth or fingers, I had to wonder about his comment. After all, I wasn't really looking at him, or at least no more at him than at anything or anyone else. More puzzling was the fact that the particular racial slur he used... well suffice it to say it's generally used to describe people that look like him, not people that look like me.

Still, it was strangely comforting. I was in a big city, and it felt like home.