Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New York

Something must have changed, either me or the Big Apple. My recent visits to the City, during the holidays, left me with a sense of disappointment. Disappointment, that is, that being there did not give me the same jolt of sensations it used to only a few years ago, every time, even when I would go weekly.

The sense of being in the center of the world, "the most dynamic place on earth" in R. Pirsig's words, where everything you desire can be had (for a price, of course). This is the cultural capital of Western Civilization, and beyond. The heart of a worldwide empire. The one place where musicals are created, struggling artists still flock to, and stretch limos look like they really belong. Being in Athens in Pericles's age, in Rome at the time of Augustus, in Baghdad at the noon of the Abbasid Caliphate, in Florence with Lorenzo the Magnificent, in London under queen Victoria, all must have felt like being in New York City today in these respects.

Yet there I was, feeling nothing of that. Now, clearly the City had not changed - or rather it had changed just has much as always. So it must be me. Perhaps the City had lost its aura because it could offer me nothing I desired. I seek no power, fame, money these days, the strongest items on NYC's menu. Pleasure, then? Of course, but for too hefty a price of cold, crowd and cash. No, thanks. Peace of mind? Never been the right place.

Well, then, I've changed and I'm very surprised by the way I have changed, actually. Lots of things have happened since 2002, and I should embrace the fact that I want different things. Don't get me wrong, I don't want any more idealistic or unselfish things than before. Just different ones.

Interesting... I spend all day, every day with me, and I can still surprise myself!