Friday, July 17, 2009

Big Gold Star for Brooklyn

I didn't want to leave San Francisco last Sunday. I packed woefully and nearly got back on a plane at Newark airport when the car-service driver arrived after 20 or so minutes and threw up his hands, ranting and raving about the hour and a half it was likely to take us just to get through any one of the tunnels to home.

We had sailed around San Francisco's hills, twisting and turning to avoid traffic, waiting nearly vertical to the sky at stop lights, and enjoying every minute of it. Oscar whooped often as we flew over a hill. "Penis tickle!" he'd cry. Not sure why he feels bumps in his penis rather than in the pit of his stomach like everyone else, but that's not the point. It felt good, wherever. No such luck in NYC. There is usually one long, flat, crowded road to where you are going, the same place, it seems, where everybody else is going too. I wasn't ready to be home.

For the record, even without the incredibly annoying 10/10 winds he blasted out before I not-so-nicely asked him to turn it off or at least down, the neurotic but nice driver got us to our front door in less than an hour with some smart maneuvering. Like most things people freak out about in theory, in practice it wasn't nearly as bad. And, I had to admit, it did feel nice to be back in our own place, warts and all, instead of in our rented San Fran apartment. The broken ice-maker had frozen the freezer shut but, after pouring some water through it, it did actually make ice without us having to fill and twist little plastic trays. A window in our bedroom doesn't have a screen, but at least we could open the others without freezing in July. And we still have no bed frame, but at least that means our mattress doesn't squeek mercilessly when we move even slightly like the antique, too-short frame we had been sleeping on.

Since Monday's return, I've done about a thousand loads of laundry but have, in between, managed to see tons of people I know on my street and in area stores, to get to the beach at Coney Island and to have a picnic with friends listening to the Philharmonic in Prospect Park. I have in these few short days fallen in love with Brooklyn anew. Sorry to Cali, but Brooklyn is home. What's not to love? People yell at you if they want to, but will just as likely smile and tell you they love your dress. Often, it can be the same person, someone who--like me--can be mad as hell then, with the slightest prompting, will soften happily into being sweet. It's more pleasant to be nice I've found. Not that I always remember that, but I try and so it seems, mostly, do others around me in The Brooklyn.

Eli, who is eight months shy of 9 he told me recently, stared at me with his deep brown eyes, holding my hand on vacation and said, "I don't know anyone who's mean Mommy. Everyone I know is nice." I love that he thinks that, that I haven't jaded him with any of my sometimes-vitriolic rants about one or another encounter with another human. I guess I have to agree with him. I don't really know anyone I think is mean. Clueless, annoying, wrong-headed, selfish, thoughtless...the list of other's failings and my own is long, but mean is not usually on it. We're lucky that way. People around us, whatever they might be, are trying. And for that, our lovely Brooklyn, even on the most humid of days, gets a big gold star. And, for the forseeable future, it also gets us.

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