Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paris is not New York

A friend's Facebook status:

Paris is a very old city, which is what contributes to its beauty in this profound way that places in the US will never be able to capture or understand simply because we're still kind of a fledgling nation. There's not that sense of history, that ancient architecture, that lackadaisical, nonchalant approach to life that lends itself to a painfully lacking sense of urgency. People actually amble when they get off the Metro here! If you do that in New York you get run over or verbally abused. But I think all these things contribute to an attitude that is in contrast to one that people used to living in New York have cultivated. I have no patience, a strikingly entitled outlook (I don't care how Catholic you are, stores should be open on Sundays!), a hurried, intense way of living and an arbitrary sense of safety even in the most dangerous situations.

The no 24 hour metro thing is a problem in the sense that I am broke and can't afford to take a cab home every time I go out. (Not to mention it's not like cabs swarm the streets like in New York) It's Sunday so the grocery stores and Monoprixs are closed, so I will eat nothing today but "coffee" (my 1 part espresso, 5 parts water recipe) and two slices of whole grain bread, maybe a piece of cheese.

One good thing about Sundays is that I spend them at the Cinémathèque Française or other movie theatres that play undubbed, old Jack Nicholson movies.

It's not that I hate Paris: quite the contrary. I love it here. It's just that New York has been so woven into the person that I am that the very idea of it existing without me makes me homesick. My friends here from NYU and I talk about it constantly, and Parisians or people we know from different schools stare at us like we are legit insane. Perhaps we are. We get this dreamy look in our eyes like we are reminiscing about some long ago high school romance that has had time to ferment into something remembered only by its good times..... a high school romance with a 24 hour subway system and an intense delivery network that can allow for anything your heart desires to appear on your doorstep within the hour.

I was browsing through friends' Facebook albums this morning and saw a picture of someone walking up Astor Place towards Broadway. I suddenly experienced this dramatic lurch in my stomach and felt like I might cry. It's almost as if I'm in this one sided long distance relationship or something, wherein I desperately miss this place and it just ignores me and continues to spit out pollution and embarrassingly pun-laden Post headlines. That's the annoying nature of the way I am though: when I go back to New York I'll probably feel that same delicate nostalgia when I look at pictures of Paris.



Anonymous said...

i studied abroad in spain last semester, and i felt the way you did when i was abroad. now that i'm back, i feel the reverse. nostalgia is annoying.

david said...

Really well-written, Jess!

Not entirely "nutty", but posted to Nuts in NY anyway!

Thank you,
David Donnell

newandimprovedsheesergirl said...
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