I’ve been away from the blog for a few days on account of a last-minute rush to keep several fires going at the same time – the heart needs heat and sometimes that means more than one stove, apparently! Anyway, as I hopped on the Philly-NYC bolt bus for the sweet price of $10 and gathered my thoughts, I realized that they were barreling relentlessly toward the time when I used to work in the city and commuted in everyday from Northern NJ. It was much easier to be here then, and though I left in the aftermath of 9/11, heading toward the differently salubrious culture of Maine, it was still not quite such a challenge to get in and out of the city. But perhaps it is not the city that has changed, but me. I feel sheepish about my inability to stop a taxi – how is this a challenge for a Colombo-girl?! – and head to the managed-curb outside Penn Station to secure one, allowing the crackling voice and piercing whistle of the old man there to do what I was shying away from: flagging a quixotic driver.
I ride almost the entire journey in silence, re-imagining my old life here, but, almost at the end, I engage with the taxi driver, fresh here from Florida, accented like us all, less unhappy than happy about NY. “If you ask me, do I like, do I not like, I will have to say, I like NY,” he says, finishing and ending his sentence with me, but pausing in between to talk through glass to other, less patient, motorists around him. And I am reminded of a beautiful song, ‘Her Morning Elegance,’ beautifully articulated and magically illustrated, by Oren Lavie. If you are in NY, look out a window and listen. If you aren’t in NY, just listen.