Michael Wolraich's picture

    Breaking Up with New York City

    When we last left our hero, he was pitifully angsting about whether to leave his home of New York City. Many readers have demanded to know what he decided. OK, no one has actually demanded, but that won't stop him from sharing, nor from referring to himself in the third person.

    In short, NYC and I have broken up. Or rather, we're on a break. I sold off my semi-disposable Swedish furniture and packed up my books, clothes, chachkes, a couple of plants, an impressive collection of wooden coat-hangers, and my stuffed Opus the Penguin. I'm like Steve Martin in The Jerk: "And that's all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair..." This motley collection is now safely stowed in my brother's basement, and this motley blogger is now safely stowed in his brother's guest room in the aptly named City of Brotherly Love. I plan to stay here for a couple of months while I decide whether to settle here or work things out with NYC.

    I'm sorry to say that the break has not been amicable. New York City feigned disinterest, but I know that she was furious because she left a chilly note on the windshield of my rental van addressed to OWNER OF THE VEHICLE BEARING LICENSE. Notice the capital letters and the stiff formality. The note itself was just a complaint about $65 that I owed her and some unintelligible psychotic rambling, e.g. "Night Pkg Com Veh Res St ALL DAYS / 9P - 5A." In case I didn't get the message, she also cracked the mirror on the van. Bitch. I may have to get a restraining order. In the meantime, rather than risk more conflict, I drove the van to three different lots and finally found one that would take it. For $45. I crept away from NYC the next morning and took refuge with kindly Philadelphia, where my brother is blessed with a driveway.

    Nonetheless, I returned the following weekend for one more attempt at reconciliation with NYC. Penske Truck Rental had mistakenly rented me the wrong van, a local van which was supposed to remain in New York, and they called to ask if I could return it. Since I was planning to come to the city for personal reasons anyway, I agreed. Little did I know that this was all all part of NYC's fiendish plan. I arrived at the outskirts of the city around 4:30. On my way to the Lincoln Tunnel, the radio warned me me of a half-hour backup, so I turned around and drove back to the Holland Tunnel. But when I pulled up to the tollbooth, the agent informed me that that commercial vehicles (aka Com Veh) were not allowed in the Holland, so back I drove to the Lincoln. On my way there, I missed the exit, couldn't find a place to turn around, and ended up lost in the vast parking lot of Meadowlands Stadium. By the time I finally limped back to the Lincoln Tunnel, it had packed itself even tighter. I finally emerged from the the tunnel just before 7. I swear that I could hear the city snickering at me.

    In any case, I spent the weekend relatively unmolestested and escaped by train on Sunday. I'm back in Philly now. I have no passion for this place, as I had when I first arrived in NYC, but the peacefulness is refreshing. I'm enjoying the company of my brother and his family, and the coffee shops here aren't horrible. I'll be here for at least two months, enough time to form new bonds or to pine for old ones. But if NYC does want me back, she should start being a little nicer to me.

    PS In other news, I discovered two weeks ago that the editor of Slate scooped my book. The Old Testament has been around for 3000 years or so, and someone had to choose this year to come out with a wiseass laymen's commentary? I'm exploring whether there are enough differences to allow me to proceed. If not, I'll need a new project, and dag readers will get to enjoy my mistimed parody.



    Let me be New York's official representative in apologizing for her atrocious behavior the last couple of weeks. Sometimes, She can't help but act out when She gets all upset and feels betrayed. She means well and just doesn't know how to express her emotions in a positive, productive manner.

    Well, I've already expressed my affection for a 22-year-old hockey player, so i suppose I should feel no shame in letting you know that I miss you. but i'm glad you are enjoying the peacefulness of philly and the company of family.

    Unmolestested? Dude, you are goin' Philly in a HURRY.

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