I've been hanging out back at home for the past week and a half. Interesting trip -- I only ended up seeing my parents for a little under a week because they jaunted off on some retiree-friendly cruise to Paris. The rest of the time I got to have their Brooklyn Heights apartment to myself, provided I'd take care of the cat.
The cat's name is Kerouac. I sort of cringe when I tell people that these days, because we got him when I was in high school, and it's SUCH a perfect name for the family pet of a pretentious high-school bookworm. He was absolutely tiny when we brought him home from the adoption shelter; he was shy, but he loved to run around and climb all over the furniture and appliances. Now he's about 17 in human years.
He's been slowing down for sure; however I've noticed a difference in him from the way he is now and how he was when I was last home in October for my grandmother's funeral. In October, he could still jump onto the bed, onto the couch... now he has trouble and sometimes gives up if he can't figure out a graceful way to do it. Also he seems depressed. I give him food, change his litter, give him the same amount of affection and attention as in the past, but he cries a lot. I haven't gotten much sleep because his cries wake me up. This is what people tell me raising an infant is like. I'll pass for now. But I love the hell out of Kerouac, and having just lost one family member, it would devastate me to lose another and worry that I hadn't been there for him. So, dander allergies be darned, I'm doing what I can.
Anyway, on this trip home I felt very cloistered. Every day it was either pouring rain or near/below the freezing mark. Sure, I saw friends, I rode the subway and the bus, I walked around midtown Manhattan in a gloppy storm with a wind-gnarled USC umbrella overhead, I had pizza and root beer at Totonno's in Coney Island. We had a girls' night out at Vinegar Hill House, chugging BYOB wine and savoring tender, thymey chicken served in a hot cast-iron skillet. But I stayed home more than I went out, and in doing so, I realized I wasn't missing a heck of a lot. New York is New York. It ebbs and flows, and I was here when the Lower East Side was a shantytown, and I was here for the spend-til-you-puke Sex and the City era, and I've been through the shitty recessions before and here's another one. It's always New York though; plus ça change. Los Angeles, for all its differences from New York, has so many of the same things that make the latter city great -- movies movies movies, a steady stream of touring bands and local dudes, an insane food scene fueled by unrivaled diversity and melting-pot cross-cultural contamination, a more-or-less liberal attitude that sometimes successfully degreases the squeaky wheels of conservatism.
There wasn't much that I thought I needed to do while I was here in New York. I even ride the subway when I'm in L.A., so it wasn't a huge sigh of relief -- just another grudging acknowledgement that NYC's system is comprehensive and well-coordinated while L.A.'s is in its infancy. And NYC's MTA is broke.
Off to bed with me. I think.