Monday, September 24, 2007

New York vs. Paris Part II - Shelter Island Sunday

At a certain moment in my life, one particularly wrought with angst and trauma, I did my first escape job. I was only 9 years old, so the escape was, of course, facilitated by adults, namely my mother, doing the same kind of thing - escaping from Atlanta. Yesterday I had the opportunity to revisit my strawberry fields for the first time in 20 years. Shelter Island, New York - at the very tip of long island, a ferry ride across from Greenport, in the middle of Long Island wine country. We took the Long Island Express way up until it ended into 25 East. The road was interspersed with vineyards and open air markets. Antique shops and little cafes dotted the spaces in between. At some points the trees arched out over the road and you could almost just imagine you were on that one road in the south of France that has all of the branchy trees lining both sides of the street.

Then you reach the beautiful Greenport, this was the town my younger sister and I would save up our money and ride the ferry over to watch a movie and browse the bookstore. The ferry ride to Shelter Island is no more than 5 minutes and it was filled with the same excitement, wonder, caution and smells that permeted my experience of rididng the ferry 20 years ago.

Upon exiting the ferry, I was able to steer us immediately to the place. The Chequit Inn, the shelter Island drug store we used to live above, the bar in the bottom of the Chequit where Tara and I used to insert quarters painted red and perform our dance routine to Brass Monkey for the afternoon bar patrons. The quarters were painted red so they could be retrieved later for reuse when when the jukebox was emptied.

I ran into my cousin in the gas station. It was a strange occurrence and just reinforces what a small island it is. He was pumping gas there and Em went inside to pee. I knew it was him from the second I walked through the door and so after freaking him out by randomly questioning him, I revealed who I am. It was funny and he was sweet. He said he definitely remembers me, even though, I haven't seen him since he was 4 years old. He looked the same.

My field, the one across from the Chequit was still there and still picturesque with the sail dotted bay peaking through behind the gorgeous trees at the bottom of the hill. I used to lay in that field and miss my father. I was into the Beatles's then and Strawberry fields was my favorite song to listen to in my field. I made a promise to myself that I have never forgotten. I promised myself that I would always go back to my field when things got to be too much for me. When I needed the rest, reflection and solitude. So I did, I went. And it was everything I remember it to be, more.

I thought alot about my mother. How exciting and fun that time must have been for her. How seductive and beautiful the scenery. Maybe Shelter Island was in tall order for what she needed then. A woman leaving a 16 year marriage. What better of a place to feel that exhilaration of reentering your life, just being you. I can imagine what that feels like. I kind of did the same thing years later. I have often wondered and scant known how I found the strength to walk out on my situation the way I did. Yesterday, I understood that. The difference between she and I? She had three children that she took with her and I went a little bit further than she did. She crossed a bay, I crossed an ocean. She remarried, I went to college. We're both still in the same place we started - but I'm still searching for another way out.

~How I Feel About Paris Today~

New Yorkers have a taste for the finer things in life, things that are not really on any one's radar in the south. The nice Champagne and the smelly cheese and the fru fru coffee everywhere. These things have trickled into Atlanta, mostly due to an influx of New Yorkers in our Southern cities. Paris has a penchant for such things and after visiting shelter Island, I am able to see the roots of these tastes in my preferences.

Friday, September 21, 2007

New York vs. Paris Part I

New York: Big, lots of people, stuff to do and things to see every second. Convenient for this.

Paris: Charming, quaint, none of the huge skyscrapers blocking your view

New York: Nice, friendly (a little bit funny sounding) people populating the city.

Paris: Snobby, chic, better dressed, less friendly (and funny sounding) people populating the city

New York: Sell your organs for cash so you can hit your favorite restaurant on a Friday night.

Paris: No organ selling, mere prostitution will get you the cash you need for the same

New York: Stinky but efficient, albeit somewhat confusing subway.

Paris: Stinky but efficient, charming and way better organised metro system

New York: Must live in Queens or Brooklyn because you are not richer than god.

Paris: Must live in the 18th-20th arrondissements because you want to be able to stand erect in the only god-awful small apartment you can afford to rent

And the winner is...

~How I Feel About Paris today~
I feel kind of like I'm cheating on Paris today. I'm open minded though. New York is charming, I'll give it that - but it's no Paris. It feels like having an affair with a dude that is not only uglier than your husband but not as good in bed and just happens to be there and that's why you're with him in the first place. WOW, not that I've ever done that - but I guess Paris still has my heart. Paris is my estranged bitch. Forever calling and haunting and stealing my ability to just move on with my life. All that being said, This is only the morning of day 2 for me here and day one was spectacular. So maybe New York will seep in and seduce me before I go. I'll keep you "posted".

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Freshly ground coffee

I read somewhere that if you buy quality beans and grind them yourself immediately before brewing, the taste of the coffee is sweet enough to stand on it’s own without sugar. I, dear readers, will be (re)testing that hypothesis (as I do every morning), right now...........sugar would be a travesty. That’s all for today, I just wanted to sip my first swallow of freshly ground and pressed coffee with you. Have a great day.

~How I Feel About Paris Today~

I watched Le Divorce (again) last night. I adore that movie. I adore Naomi Watts and Kate Hudson. I adore Paris and I love the feel good, American gone French ending of it all. If you for some god-awful reason still haven’t seen that movie…watch it.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

And now I'm back...

from outer space, you just clicked in and found me posted here with that old look upon my face.

Hello - I apologize for the absence, my wireless internet was down baby down for at least a week. A new post will follow shortly. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great weekend. In the spirit of being brilliant, Hugo and I are heading towards the last days of the Anne Leibovitz exhibition at the high. We'll stop in the market and get some coffee and continue our trek onto the museum. The sun is shining in Piedmont Park, the streets are abuzz with pre-Dave Matthews concert excitement. Know what I'm going to do? Get the hell out of town. These massive concerts int he park are all fine and good except for the fact that the streets around the park, turn into a madhouse of Atlantan cars vying for a space. No thank you, I've got better things to do than deal with that crap, in the order of going to see my lovely, kissable, huggable, niece in town only for one weekend. Brilliant.

How I Feel About Paris Today

I brought this section back today because I actually dreamed about Paris last night. I dreamed that Hugo and I were in a rented apartment with a huge window that overlooked the street. I think we were in the 8th. We were trying to make ourselves ready to go the store and buy some essentials so that we could cook food instead of having every meal out. Then the conversation switched and I wasn't sure that I was in Paris anymore, I thought "oh, I'm in Boston - this is Boston" then Chicago, then New York and then I started crying because I really wanted to be in Paris. At that point I looked up and realized i was, in fact, in Paris. I was happy again.