Last Screening: Sidewalks of New York. The 2001 film by writer/director Edward Burns. I have always had a soft spot for Edward Burns. Besides just the fact that he’s a fellow Edward. There’s something very Woody Allenesqe about him, his love of New York, his casual street realism and story-telling style. This isn’t one of those add to a Pinterest Board to be commemorated forever kind of movies. I’d love to say it was, because I get the feeling that Burns would be a great guy to be friends with, and if we knew each other, in the way I am friends with The Poet for instance, then sure, I’d give this film a two big thumbs up. Just for the sheer fact that they were even able to start and finish an entire movie. I mean, that in and of itself still blows me away. Filmmaking seems like such a gigantic achievement, compared to making an album I mean. That’s my only reference point. It just seems like a giant undertaking. So in that regard, sure, kudos to Burns and company for the accomplishment. But other than that, there wasn’t much here that each of us doesn’t already experience in our own day to day lives. And yes I dig that that’s Burns’ style in general, day to day realism, but I still believe that a really good film should transcend common man’s day to day life.
What the film did do for me though, what Edward Burns films always do, is remind us why we love New York so much. Burns is a real New Yorker. One of those “born, bred and never gonna leave New York” types. Like me I guess except that my relationship with New York has always been more transient, on and off, off and on. My favorite city in America hands down. But for whatever reason, I always find myself here for a while and then gone for a while. Such is the case now. It is true. The rumors. That we’re moving for a while. Not sure for how long. A few months is my guess. At the very least, we’re leaving this apartment and neighborhood. Can’t say I am going to miss it. I’ve never liked this neighborhood.
I’ll tell you one little tidbit of useful data I’ve learned, and there’s been plenty since this grand adventure started. If you want to keep something private, don’t tell a soul. If you really want to keep something completely secret, between just you and you, the key is to not tell one single person. I honestly haven’t told anyone except only those that need to know, like our leasing company, and a few minutes ago the freaking UPS guy confirmed what I had been suspicious of for weeks: everyone is already talking about our leaving here. When it makes it’s way to the UPS guy, you know everyone knows.
In regards to our family and friends, I’ve managed to spend almost three months straight here without flying anywhere else, which is strange for me, since normally I fly in and out and don’t spend more than a few days to a week or two here at a time now, I’ve packed up an entire four bedroom apt and not told one of my friends that I’m leaving. Call it denial perhaps. Or just being too busy. I just can’t bare to talk about it, let alone to tell anyone. I’d rather just go, do what I have to do, and come back in the Spring. We’ll find a new place and go back to bicoastal living. Eventually live here year round. Realistically we have less than two years left till we will be able to live here full time year round.
That was the plan originally. When I first moved here. Remember that? Long time readers will. And for many years that’s what I did. But marrying Princess Little Tree changed that. I knew it would going in. You can’t marry someone and live apart all the time. It just isn’t natural. I just didn’t realize that it would ever come to this. Having to make a choice between here and anywhere else. But life throws us curveballs sometimes. Wherever Princess Little Tree is now is where home is for me. And for now she needs to be in Seattle. Trying to maintain two homes on opposite coasts was challenging. Not just financially. But in every way. God I hate that flight. 12 freaking hours door to door, between our two homes. That’s one of the many things I am more than happy to be saying goodbye to. This neighborhood too. I’ve never liked it. None of us did, when we first moved here. One by one everyone left the apt. Out of the four of us who first moved in together here back in January of 2007. None of us, despite how much we loved the apartment, were too keen on the neighborhood.
It’s weird looking back now. Four of us move in together, into this giant Manhattan apartment, just about six years ago. And one by one we each left. I was the last to hang on. And why not? Where else are you going to find a four bedroom apartment in Manhattan? And for a decent price? Problem was I just could never get into the neighborhood. It’s always given me a sick feeling inside, walking around outside. I know. You could easily jump on the subway or into a cab and be anywhere in less than ten minutes. But the truth of living in New York is that wherever you live, wherever your apartment is, is where you spend most of your time. We don’t drive here. We walk everywhere. Or take subways or taxis. But most of the time, your hood is your hood. And I’ve never felt comfortable here. So when the lease came up for renewal this year and they wanted to raise the rent yet again, this time for $200 a month, it was a no brainer. We’re paying double now compared to what we started paying when we first moved in six years ago. So let’s pack it all up, hunker down out in Seattle where the family is and focus on some building and storing up of resources, and come back in the Spring and find a new place. I’m keeping my office here. So it’s still home.
That’s one of the great things about New York. You can leave for a while, but you never really leave. Your heart stays. The Candyman left New York for over a year back in ’08, when he took that job in the UK. But before we knew it he was back. Catherine Darlington moved to Switzerland for over a year and didn’t even give up her apartment here. That’s how it is. Once you live here, if you like it that is, and most people seem to, you always live here. Even if you leave for a while. The sidewalks of New York are always beckoning. No matter how long you’re gone for, New York is still calling you to come back. New York is still home. From that moment on, you’re a New Yorker. No matter where else you live in the U.S. New York will always feel like home.
So we’ve got a week left here. The apartment is almost entirely empty now. Most of the furniture and belongings either sold or packed up in big boxes, leaning up against the living room wall. I’m right back to where I was when I first moved here all those years ago. Just me on a mattress on the floor with not much else around me. Full circle. I walk around the empty space in the dark and quiet of night and feel a subtle but strong feeling of sadness circling around inside me. This isn’t a choice I really wanted to make. It was, to be truthful, one of necessity; not preferred. But that’s part of growing up isn’t it? Making the hard choices. Doing what seems right. Being responsible.
Don’t get me wrong. I love our home in Seattle. Who wouldn’t? It’s like the freaking Playboy Mansion for God’s sake. But for all intents and purposes I feel at home there about as much as I would in prison. Or Kansas. And I’ve never even been to Kansas. Or prison. Which goes to show just how out of my element I feel out there. The three hour time difference really messes with me too. You always feel like you’re playing catch up with the rest of the world. Really just with the East Coast. But that’s where everything is happening. At least that’s what you’re trained to feel if you grew up on this coast. Put it like this. If you want to watch the news everyday, which I have been apt to do since becoming an adult, you need to tune in at 3PM. Right smack in the middle of the day. Because they show it live, as they should. 6pm here in Eastern Standard Time is 3pm on the West Coast. Talk about weird. And if you want to get up with the rest of the world, which has never really been my thing, in America that is, it’s 6am, not 9am, on the West Coast that is; or you’re going to lose the first three hours of the day. For a night owl like me, that’s nearly impossible, let alone challenging. My whole inner clock gets thrown off. I start feeling lost, like I’m adrift at sea with no one but just me, alone in a little boat at sea floating around in pitch darkness, cold and lonely, fog covering everything but the light from my smart phone. A real sense of not belonging to anything starts taking me over.
So yeah, the whole damn move is bittersweet. To say the least. As I sit here on the mattress on the floor, which I’ve made my home more often than not since becoming a so called “adult”, writing this, I find myself filled with despair and longing. And I haven’t even left yet. I am sure I will feel different once I am home with Princess Little Tree again.
Speaking of PLT, this month marks our tenth anniversary of first meeting each other and falling in love. Crazy right? If you’re a long time reader, or are coming to the Diaries in eBook form and have flown through these pages quickly, over a period of just a few days, then it will feel like just yesterday to you when Princess Little Tree and I first met and this whole adventure first began. Who would think that ten years later SHE would have been the ONE? But as G2 wrote to me a few years ago, when he first heard the news that we were getting married, “Man that’s just perfect. You couldn’t ask for a better happy ending to this story. No matter who else it could have or would have been, no one would have been better than Princess Little Tree if Fishy were going to get married.”
And indeed I did. Get married that is. To her. Of all the girls that have graced these pages over the last ten years…. it was Princess Little Tree all along. One thing I know to be true, something I had to learn through living it I think, is that Princess Little Tree is the kindest, most loving, caring, generous, gracious, sincere and considerate person I’ve ever known. She was back when I first met her, and she still is today. There was a reason why after all those years holding out for the right one, the best one, the only one, that I finally ended up marrying. If not for PLT, there would never have been Fishy getting married. And thus this whole story would have taken a different turn. Who knows what would have happened. But it wouldn’t have been this. And for now this is way better than I could have ever imagined.
So yes, the sidewalks of New York will beckon for the next few months, as I find myself a visitor here more often than a resident. But I have a strong feeling that that will be a very brief and fleeting moment in the life of The Ambassador. New York, like few other things in life, is just too damn special to not have in one’s life for very long.