Soooo...I've been suffering from serious writer's block. Songs go unwritten, my poor doctoral dissertation is a disparate garble of bizarre musings that are barely fit for my eyes only, and this poor, poor blog has remained sad and barren. Well thanks to my friend Ernessa, fellow Smithie, I am inspired to blog once again. Hopefully this will translate into beautiful songs and a fierce and nerdy dissertation (which, by the by, I did work on today. Tavia, that's for you if you're reading).
Why do I love New York? Too many reasons. The number one: BROOKLYN. That's right biz-natches, Brooklyn is the borough. Having lived here over 10 years, I can officially call myself a New Yorker, but more specifically and importantly, a Brooklynite. Brooklyn is like the nerdy girl in a John Hughes film who gets a make-over and you realize, "Oh My god! She's so hot and all she had to do was take of her glasses!!!" Yeah man, that's Brooklyn.
Being a single lady, I have lots of time to myself. I am also a dutiful mother to a sweet, unpredictable, seriously funny dog named, Tilo. I'll write more about him in my new column, still to be named, on Fierce and Nerdy. Anywho, we're walking down Clinton Avenue towards Fulton Avenue, passing gorgeous brownstones, trees popping with Autumnal vigor, latte-sipping liberals and then I see it...
what cruel, cruel summer human being could leave CHOCOLATE CHESTER ( I just made that up) here on his own? Both Tilo and I did a double-take and I worried that my dog, who loooooooovvveeeeess stuffed toys, would take this cute, but most-likely-infested-with-bedbugs, gorilla and drag him along the wide Brooklyn avenue. He didn't. A simple sniff, glance at me, and then we continued our merry trot in the blustering wind.
BUT, this is why I love New York and Brooklyn--the unexpected always occurs and it's frequently pleasing. I felt pure joy seeing this stuffed toy propped outside. Sure, some kid probably tired of it, or maybe it did have some unpleasant infestation, but there he was, so gloriously perched, giving me a chuckle, and my doggy something sweet to smell.
There was something completely innocent and small-townish about Chester and it's one of the situations that always makes me appreciate this challenging city. For every complaint, siren, crime, loud stereo, over-priced apartment, 8.25% sales taxed item, there is a stuffed toy on a stoop, a beautiful flea market, a gazillion homey, comfortable, over-priced-yet-completely-endearing coffee shops (that are not Starbucks), a ridiculous amount of people on scooters, bikes, and skateboards, lovely parks. New York City is the most beautiful, confounding, heart-breaking, heart-stopping, precious lover I've ever known. She's never left me, even when I fancied abandoning her for somewhere more bland or manageable, she's reminded me that I belong to her. And I do.
Quick story: I was walking down Dekalb Avenue, heading to WAMU (soon to be part of the JP Morgan Chase monster) and I glanced over at a tall, Black gentleman. He was dressed in what I like to call "Badu-Badu" wear: head wrap, many Hali Salasi pins, Ethiopian colors, and he grinned at me, asking me if he could take my picture, commenting on my beauty. I blushed, as one does, as I never know how to deal with the compliments of men, since they are really only friends, brothers and pals to me...but we walked and talked, he walked me to the bank, giving me his newsletter of Pan-African news. I smiled and thanked him for his conversation. We said our goodbyes. I felt happy, that I made that bit of connection. This city constantly gives me opportunities to remember how generous and loving people are, how funny and tragic we can be. For every person who tells a lie, someone else offers truth. For every unkind word, there is plenty of kindness.
This may not be the New York or Brooklyn most people think of, but it's the one I know, it's where I live.