You can escape everything but yourself.
The old you comes bumping along like tattered luggage no matter where you travel. So, when you come to a new place no matter how different it is, the old you comes along for the ride. It was explained to me once once on a front porch over sweet tea in Asheville, N.C. by then-Mountain Express Editor Peter Gregutt that the essential equation of you doesn’t change with your address. “Wherever you go, there you are,” he said. I absorbed that statement like a zen koan, nodded and sipped my tea wisely. But its meaning has only become clear as the zip codes have come and gone over the years from my hometown Salisbury, NC (often called Smallsberry) to Warner Robbins, Ga. to Chapel Hill to Hayesville to Sanford to Fayetteville to Zelienople, PA, to Asheville, N.C. to Florence, Ala to Ocala, Fla to Wilmington, NC and finally to Manhattan.
My family came to New York City a year ago last month. It was like no other place in the world. More of everything. Bright, bustling and brimming with new things to explore. A new thing to do every minute. A million strangers. Actually, many more than a million. It was overwhelming and exhilarating at once. Daunting and disturbing in parts. Awesome and wonderful in others.
The city is like the 1 train at its core. Fast. A little reckless as it jostles along. Determined. Not always tidy. Purposeful. Always in motion. I see the city a particular way because of where I’ve been and where I come from and who I am. I love it with a big heart the way I was taught to embrace life by my parents. I give it grace when it disappoints me. I remain ever hopeful new wonders are just around the bend. I hope to make it better in a small way, and I believe it won’t change the essential me. But I want to show you the city in its messy, wonderful glory the way I am coming to know it.
That’s what I’ll be writing about.