Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Jersey & New York, part I*

I made the mistake of telling some people I was going out of town for a few days. And telling them where I was going.

No, nothing bad happened to me like this poor woman (gotta watch that FB, guys), but something bad did happen.

The people I told got hyped up.

I don't do hype, I seriously don't. I had to wait until after everyone had raved over The DaVinci Code before I could read it, because I was afraid that it was much ado about nothing. (It was an amazing read, though--I couldn't put it down.) I don't like Kobe Bryant, because he's so hyped up that he's started to believe his own hype. (As I've said before, he is a phenomenal player, but in interviews, he seems rather cocky, like he's on his own left nut. He's hyped up.) I don't like trendy fashions, usually (though I want a jumpsuit!), and I don't see a lot of movies in theaters because I just can't get past the hype.

Well, New York City is one of THE most hyped places that probably exists. In saying this, don't get me wrong--it is a great place, but it's so hyped usually because Displaced New Yorkers and Wannabe New Yorkers miss it so much and want it so much that they preach about it to anyone they can find. Have you ever made the mistake of saying something, positive or negative, about New York, not knowing you were in the company of DNYs or WNYs? Good luck getting out of that conversation.

Well, I told a few people I was going to New Jersey and New York... and the response I got was overwhelming... for New York. I had friends and kids at my job alike telling me where I needed to eat, what I needed to see, telling me maybe I'd find love like Sex in the City, etc. etc. etc.

It got to be a bit overwhelming. A bit is an understatement. It got to the point where I started getting annoyed at people only asking me about New York, or only wanting to talk about New York. (Yes, I actually got annoyed because peeps were treating Jersey like the red-headed stepchild.)

You see, New York is one of those hyped-up things that I don't particularly care for. It's not the place itself, it's all.the.damn.hype. From kids at my job talking about New York day in and day out, to people pretty much proclaiming it to be Heaven on Earth, it's just too much for me. Not even because I live in the South and espouse (some) Southern charm. But just because I have problems with people pledging blind allegiance to ONE particular thing. It would be like me saying that having a dog is the best thing ever, and nothing compares to having a dog, and gosh I miss having a dog, although I've never tried any other animal. I just find it illogical to lay claim to one thing without having tried a number of other things first. This is the same reason why I do not participate in any one religion. How can I say this is the one if I haven't tried anything else?**

So, I'm on vacation, running through the streets with my friend, the lovely lady of Euphoric Ears, and I'm finding that my time spent in New York is not what it was the first time I went... let me explain.

The first time I went to New York was during my last Spring Break in college. I planned the trip without telling anyone, I didn't have Facebook (I remember those days), and I was still deep in thought over someone who hailed from the Empire State. At that time, American Gangster had been out, as well as the song "Hello Brooklyn," which I loved as soon as I heard it. The fact that all this was coinciding, along with the fact that I'd never been to New York before was more than enough for me to be excited. At this time, I was far away from the people in high school who dripped New York with every breath, and there wasn't much NY hype for me to be annoyed with. (I was at UF after all... most of the people I met there were from Miami and dripping Miami hype, though this never annoyed me... probably because Miami's in my state. No, that's not why. Get back to me on that.)

Anyhow, I remember the experience... it was sensational. I soaked everything up with my eyes and ears... the sounds, the way people spoke, the way the subway sounded when the cars rushed in, the way people drove, the way it looked (the ugliness of concrete beauty), etc. I was whipped around by my cousin and her husband, and it felt so... I don't have the right word for it, but it felt different to be an anonymous bystander, observing the city.

Fast forward two years.

This time, it was too hyped for me. I longed for that anonymity of before, when no one knew I was going, and I was free to observe and marvel on my own, with no one judging what I found to be beautiful or fascinating. This time, I think I felt pressure... not real pressure, but pressure because I found I was stuck thinking about everyone else's expectations for my time in the city. If this doesn't make sense to you, don't worry. It barely makes sense to me.

I can't even go on about it, because I feel like I'm being sucked into the vortex of my own confusion and disappointment--I don't know what happened, but Sade was right--it's never, as good as the first time...

That all being said, I silently clung to the red-headed stepchild that was Jersey. To me, Jersey was no stepchild, but rather, a friend. I was fascinated by the streets, the way the homes looked, the driving style, the gas attendants, the lingo (motherfucker was clearly the word, and I can fuck with this), and something I can't put my finger on... was it the fact that it wasn't New York that I was clinging to?

I don't know, but looking back now, the best times I had were in Jersey. Riding on the subway is fun, in an wow-I've-only-seen-this-on-tv-but-it-really-exists type of way, but curling up in a hammock in the darkness, watching the fireflies light the night, and listening to friends recount stories of camping and parties, all while listening to jazzy rap and Prince and sipping beer?

The concrete jungle ain't got shit on that.

*-Though I consider this Part I, there's no guarantee that there will be a Part II... it just depends on when other emotions surface.
**--I believe in God, sans all the religious takes on Him. I know He's real, and that's pretty much all that matters to me.


Anonymous said...

I love this post! Shout out to Jersey! I am dying over here at our "lingo" I didn't realize how much Jaime and I use the word "mutherfucker"....we abuse it to no end,lol! I'm glad you enjoyed the Garden State. And yes the hammocks, Saved By the Bell, and Colombian cake kicked ass!

Miss Malorie said...

Girl I was dying! "Motherfucker" was the word of like those two days!! It was so funny!! I can't rock it like y'all can though lol. And I'm glad you enjoyed the post! I texted my friend when we were on the Parkway and told her I was moving to Jersey after I live in Miami... I think I might have been tipsy when I did this, but I did it nonetheless lol. I was clinging, hard!

Jai said... can write your ass off! Mal (I give nicknames out) it was great hanging with you even during my meltdown. The Brooklyn girl at heart (718baby! really from when I was a baby)LOVES Jersey but more because it serves as an escape to the treadmill of the daily life in NYC. Can't wait to visit you in MIA..thanks for touching down in the tri-state and we (Jersey) love you back.

PS Tell them Mutherfuckers to stop bragging and let the concrete jungle speak for me no two stories will ever be the same.

Miss Malorie said...

Jaime... girl you are the shit lol! Thank you for the comment and compliment! Thanks for letting me hang out with ya, especially during the meltdown. (I know I can make some faces when I'm upset but girl... you've got one up on me. I was scared. LOL.) I can't wait to come back to Jersey (hopefully when I'm not as tired as a senior citizen), and Miami is waiting! :)

And I agree... the concrete jungle definitely can speak for itself.

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