One Year In…

So, today is an anniversary of sorts. And I tend not to celebrate these types of things, but only quietly acknowledge them in my head. But this year—exactly one year since I fucked off from NYC and moved to the West Coast—has been a most vital and important one, and I feel that it must be paid attention.

See, my plane landed just shy of midnight on Aug. 6 last summer. I ate my last sushi meal in NYC in JFK’s Jet Blue terminal (great terminal btw, only to be outdone by SFO in terms of food, shops, and general all-around awesomeness), to sit on the tarmac for probably an hour and a half past departure time due to New York’s incredible airfield gridlock, or as my friend put it the “one last ‘fuck you’ from New York,” before I set off on my cross-country life-change adventures.

But I made it. My stuff made it. Miraculously not one thing broken or smashed or even cracked for I am an excellent transcontinental mover and packer! I have done it enough times, I should be by now.

If you recall, I wrote a post about Seattle’s differences, i.e. everyone was so nice and it was clean and all that. Well, last week was a huge garbage strike in town and Seattle is so clean, I didn’t even notice it. Seriously. Garbage strike, town does not stink like garbage. Who knew this was even humanly possible?

I still have not seen one city rat. Not a one.

I get asked all the time, mostly by other New Yorkers here for a spell (see? My vocabulary is changing already) or ex-New Yorkers, “Do you miss New York? At all?” and then their eyes gleam with mischief as if some great swell of regret and remorse will come poring out of me, “Oh, all the time! I could never live without The Met! Central Park! Brooklyn! Bagels! Bagels! Bagels! Pizza! Oh, I’m so deprived!”

And I’m here, one year later, to say with complete and total honesty: No.

There is not one thing I miss about NYC proper, except of course my lovely friends and their titillating conversation that borders on obscene at all times. Oh, and my street hockey team.

But that’s it. That’s all I miss.

Life here is so much … easier. Every day used to be struggle: Struggle to get bathroom time; struggle to get into a packed subway car; struggle to pay the bills. Struggle to do your fucking laundry. Struggle. Struggle. Struggle.

Life is too short to be hauling 15 pounds of dirty T-shirts and undies to the corner laundry. It’s even shorter to be worrying about getting infested with bed bugs all the time.

Here are the ways in which Seattle bests New York. Let the games begin!

Food: Oh, I can hear the culinary purists’ shrieks of laughter already. But, seriously, if it’s quality over quantity you’re after, then modern-era Seattle kicks the shit out of New York. Oh, and I had some fantastic meals in New York. I also had a lot of overhyped, overpriced, completely mediocre ones, too. There’s nothing worse than signing a credit card slip for $75 when you had a lousy dish and two glasses of wine. This tended to happen quite a bit in NYC, where mediocrity can go unchecked just because of the sheer number of diners out there. It takes a while to get called out on your shit.

The food I have had in Seattle is amazing for three reasons: Overall, quality, i.e. farm to table, is impressive and beyond excellent. People here take their ingredients and sources quite seriously and it shows. Also, see fresh seafood, like delicious oysters! Oysters! That you can eat right from the sea. Take that, East River!

Two, price. So much cheaper for comparable eats.

Three, because the scene is so small, everyone really steps up their game. Attention to detail is excellent. Also, the wine scene in Washington and Oregon is cranking out some great stuff.

Men: Women of New York, you need not live the deprived life that the city has carved out for you… There are real, good-looking, smart guys out here, waiting, no dying, to meet you. And they are, get this, wait for it…nice! The ratio of hot men to women here is sick. It’s New York odds flipped in the ladies’ favor.

Life: So much easier. Really. Everything, from the aforementioned laundry (I want to make out with my washer and dryer practically every day it gives me such joy!) to just having a decent grocery store nearby was a hassle. There are no mice or roaches in my apartment, and if there were, my landlord would send someone by that very day to take care of it. There is no need for AC. First time in my life I’ve never had to have an air conditioner.

No one’s dog is crapping on our sidewalk. There are no female condoms on my doorstep. There are no domestic disputes, violently and loudly, crashing through my walls and floorboards every night.

The air smells salty and fresh, every single fucking day. Every day.

Oh, the No. 1 reason I’m celebrating my one-year anniversary today? These Guys. They pretty much encapsulate every single thing I loathe about the city.

And so, it’s with this blog, and I realized 78,309 words later since I began this long life journey toward self-improvement and growth and all that crap that I bring to you to this: finding my little spot of peace and contentment. It took a lot of hard work, mumbling, grumbling, action, bitching, moaning, plan-making, decision-making, bed-making and more to get here. And to use a little West Coast earthquake analogy here, living in New York was like two major tectonic plates were grinding away at each other in frustration until something big had to give, and they could just slide into place. The earthquake has happened. The plates are in place.

It’s not for everyone, but it is awesome here. I thought you should know.

Guest Post: Operation Get the Fuck Out of New York

So, I need to start this rant by giving credit where credit it due. Evil Molly is my inspiration for “Operation Get the Fuck Out of New York.” She’s already done it and was kind enough to share her “teachings” on everything from picking a moving company to keeping my eyes on the prize.

I’m originally from North Carolina. Everyone who meets me will learn this fact within about 20 seconds, half that on a bad day. I am definitely one of those transplants who has talked about getting out of New York after my first year here. That was five years ago. That’s right; I’ve been in the depths of hell since January 2006.

When I got here, I moved into a “room” in a railroad apartment in Greenpoint. I took this place off Craigslist without visiting and trustingly mailed a check for three months rent to the two guys. I am an idiot. Here’s what I discovered within about 10 minutes of my arrival:

  • They lied. About everything. For example, it wasn’t a room—it was a hallway that was closed off. There was no heat (don’t forget it’s January). It was “furnished”—with a futon mattress on the floor that smelled like unwashed hipsters and beer.

 

  • These people were not normal. There were rules about which sponges I was allowed to use. Sponge rules.

 

  • These two dudes were old, underemployed and completely neurotic (Ed note: This pretty much sums up everyone in NYC posting on CL). One of them sold vacuum tubes on E-bay AS HIS ONLY SOURCE OF INCOME.

Real old dudes not as cute.

  • The G train, the only one in Greenpoint, is NOT a direct line to Manhattan nor is it in any way shape or form a convenient mode of transportation. And it never comes, so you’re always late.

  • Being an intern and making $20 per hour is like being a slave given NYC prices.

 

You may be forced to this to buy your ramen.

But somehow, I feel like I had to tough it out to prove that I could conquer New York. So, I stayed. And have I suffered for it. Between harsh winters, blazing summers, rats INSIDE MY APARTMENT, cockroaches, being homeless thanks to a dip-shit roommate, bad bosses and little pay, sometimes I question my sanity. I often look back and think, “Where did the damage to my brain occur that makes me stay here.” If you knew me in college and the few years after, I’m sure you have some theories or helped incur this damage, but I digress. As the song goes, New York, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.

Now, as I pack up my beautiful, reasonably priced, rent-stabilized apartment across from Prospect Park and quit my well-paid corporate gig, I can reflect on the person I’ve become. New York didn’t just make me into a bitter, undersexed 30-something (although that last part is painfully true). This place has also taught me a lot about the person I want to be and what I value most in life. Here are a few examples in no particular order:

  • Relationships. I have incredible friends here who help me laugh at the absurdity of NYC, brought me to Brooklyn, took me to Fire Island (the best part about living in the city), and have counseled me through all of the laughs and tears. They make living here such an incredible experience and leaving so hard.
  • Nature. I miss the smell of fresh-cut grass, walking across a dewy lawn, hiking in the trees, swimming in dirty lakes, getting my feet muddy (dog shit doesn’t count) and having a garden.
  • Dogs. I’m getting a dog from the pound, maybe within minutes of my arrival.
  • Being outside. There is nothing better than a rooftop party in the summer, unless it’s drinking in your front yard every day.
  • Actually seeing live music. Despite the fact that every band ever performs here, you still won’t get to see them because there are millions of other “fans” gobbling up the tickets. (Ed note: Then talking and using their camera phones throughout the show…)
  • Food. I will miss the food in Brooklyn, especially Thai and Indian done properly.
  • Real men. I need a boyfriend, one who can use power tools, drive a stick shift and doesn’t wear black skinny jeans. He should preferably not be from Philly and adore college basketball. I’m in the market. I’m also not afraid to say this since I’m leaving behind NYC, and the she-men who can’t do any of these things or are all from Philly.
  • Fuck commuting. I never again want to go to work in a high-rise building full of bankers, sit in a cubicle, or take the 4/5 train during rush hour. I’m sorry, environment, I’m getting a car. My compromise will be to bike as often as possible, something I’m too scared to do in New York.

I wouldn’t trade anything about the last six-plus years, and I’m glad I’m getting out with my sanity reasonably intact. But damn, I never want to hear someone screaming about Jesus at the top of her lungs at 7:45 a.m. on my way to work. Ever. Again. Fuck the subway. I’m going to go where life is good and drinking whiskey on the front porch is the norm.

Clint Eastwood may or may not be included.

Ed note: Godspeed and much, much happier days to come.