Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Homing In

We flew away from New York City on Christmas day. On the way to the airport, the cabbie slowed down to point out a century old street clock that had just been hit by a car and now lay injured on its side. A variety of citizens stood around on the sidewalk, hands cupped over mouths, not sure what kind of first-aid to administer to a large, elderly timepiece. We all stopped our chatting and planning to rubberneck. It was a sweet, frilly double-faced mechanism on Eighth and Flatbush with a twin on Sixth Avenue who will certainly feel lost now. The romex and old wires hung out of its cast-iron post in a painful way and I somewhat expected fluids to be spilling forth out of the open wound and onto the thoroughfare. The situation seemed dire. I can't be certain, but I think the caption implied below this sad scene, were it to be documented, would be, "So much for ye olden days. Ye can't turn back ye olde clockity clock now!"
Aw, true.
I spent half a hazy, dizzy holiday drifting from one childhood home to another in the rarefied Colorado air, recognizing all the characters of my family and even some neighbors, but wondering why they all looked older. Had I lived in New York City? Had I even lived in Salt Lake City? Who were these opinionated shorties who kept referring to me as Mama? Disconcerting, being back home in that sandstone town.
The other half of the holiday was spent in Salt Lake City. Pictured above is a replica of our Salt Lake City home (it is the homemade gift I clumsily stitched for Dan the whole while I was stranded east of the East River with nary a train or bus to distract me during Transit Strike 2005.) Visiting that old house for the holidays, I drifted upstairs and down, pondering the generosity of Western proportions and feeling like one of those poor ghosts in Limbo who don't realize they are dead, knocking around their old haunts, annoying their loved ones. Here also I tried to figure out who the quite big opinionated shorties were who continued with the "Mama" biz.
Where are my babies? Where are my babies? Where are my babies?? OOOOoooooooooohhhhh.....

Now I'm back in New York where I don't really belong and feel much better. The garbage and grit of the subway felt predictably disgusting and normal today. The grass and sandstone of Ye Olde Life have given over in my mind's landscape to asphalt. My world now is brownstones backed up by bridges and skyscrapers and hemmed up by streets and sidewalks, and the occasional antique street clock tipped over on its side. Why this feels real and solid I do not know. I guess I believed myself when I told the kids that New York City is our home now. I thought that I was lying.

8 Comments:

Anonymous fatty said...

You know, I'm still waiting for that "this is home" moment here. Our house feels like home, but the area seems too nice and green for me to be a part of it.

8:52 PM  
Blogger ZinniaSoCA said...

You have mutated into a New Yawker!

What a treat to come back and have several of your great blogs to read!

Hugs and Happy New Year,

MuMo

10:10 PM  
Anonymous BIG Mike said...

Be it every so cosmopolitan, there's no place like home.

2:22 AM  
Anonymous matt said...

poor clock. and welcome home. and hot damn! you can stitch too! one of these days some fatal flaw of yours will rear its ugly head and balance out this scale that is disproportionally weighed down to beautifully talented and lovely side. right?

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Rocky said...

Thank you for bringing the shorties to help our home feel a little more like home for a few days.

3:36 PM  
Blogger dr. fluffy jones said...

when i read the comments, i couldn't resist leaving one, because the word verification is ussbrthl -- US Brothel? Us Birth 1? Us's brother? I don't know, it seemed oddly significant. Welcome back to where you are. I feel for the poor clock, being a grandfather and all. Let's hope for more time in the new year -- that ALL our clocks grind to a halt once in a while.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Mom in Colorado said...

Thank you for going over the river ( uhh, well you had to go over some water, did you have to walk across Brooklyn Bridge?) and over the woods and prairie and mountains, to come to Grandmother's house. It feels just right to have you here. It also feels perfectly right to visit you in your home that seems to be right for you and yours.

12:11 AM  
Blogger newbrooklyner said...

fatty, I always think, 715 Diamond Drive. Anything else is just a put on.

Zin, I'm no N'yorker. It's confusing. I hope you are feeling well!

Mike, our lifestyle IS every so cosmopolitan. If by cosmopolitan you mean stinky sneakers in the hallway, a hamster living in squalor (even by standards rodential), and everybody waiting for somebody (who?) to make a meal. Nice!

Matt, you are obviously not a seasoned crafter because those stitches are laughable, even when I blur them out photographically. But thank you. Encouragement is good.

Rocky, thank YOU for sending your teen to us to see the sights. He's so well mannered. It must be that kidney....Have I ever told you you're my hero btw?

Dr. FJ, I know. I hope time quits for a little bit this year.
(USS Brothel= A very important ship in our naval collection. Support our troops!)

Mom, you are my home. Everything else is really just an address.

12:06 PM  

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