Today is my last day in New York City. Tomorrow we are packing up and shipping out. I have to say, for a last day, New York has done a great job of making it one of those typical annoying mornings when the grime and the grease start to make you snap at tourists who stand too long on street corners.
Of course, on the last day that I will ever need to ride the subway, my month-long subway pass expires. Okay, I'm not complaining--so I timed it almost perfectly, but when I head to the subway card-dispensing machine (because the people station attendants no longer sell tickets--not really sure what they do. They certainly don't give friendly directions.), it is not taking credit cards or debit cards. As is the story of Brooklyn!
No problem. I'll just head back out into the pouring rain that is soaking through my leather boots, juggle my $6 breakfast smoothie with my umbrella that will probably turn inside-out at any minute, and hit up the Bank of America ATM.
Convenience. The only saving grace for this moldy, abused city. Thanks to convenience, there is a Bank of America right down the street. I would have just gone to any of the seven ATMs I pass on my way to B of A, but the idea of a $3.50 charge is making me think I might as well just take a cab to work.
After getting money out, I realize that most likely the subway card-dispensing machines don't give change and I don't feel like taking a chance that it does, only to climb the stairs up to the street yet again. And since ATMs only spit out in increments of twenty, I am forced to slip into a drugstore for change. Buy a pack of gum, get my ten, my five, my ones and merrily (albeit twenty minutes late) descend down the stairs into the rumbling, damp (and now, flooding) subway station.
Life is hard in this city. And this morning was just one example of the common obstacles that make a simple task (i.e. a commute to work) become a silly goose chase. I will miss the depth of the people here--they carry a self-assuredness that I have yet to see in other places, a real strength. Pride in their interests--interests that are not manufactured by the mainstream--and a love for challenge. And although I admire how people here thrive on challenge (because I too will up the ante most days), the challenges here just don't seem worth it to me: cramming in to 400 sq. feet of space and trying to live a sane life. Only being able to afford those 400 sq. ft. because the cost of living here makes every day a battle. A battle...for what?
And so I leave, with much respect for those who choose to revel in the remarkable culture, energy, and rhythm this city has, but with no regrets. The quality of life has become too deprived.
[Image 1 thanks to efeb according to this license.]
[Image 2 thanks to Ian Troxell--my partner in adventure and crime.]
[Image 3 thanks to B.G. Johnson according to this license.]