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