Monday the 23rd was travel, Christmas Eve was recuperating. Also rested a lot Christmas Day tho of course I spent time with all the family gathered there--my wife & 2 daughters, my inlaws, both her sisters & families.
Surprisingly peaceful. My wife & family gave me a lot of space, and in return I was able to act like a civilized human being when I did spend time with them! OK, sort of! :p
The day after Christmas we went to Manhattan. "A kinda interesting place to visit a bit but definitely wouldn't wanna live there!" "Thank God I'm a country boy!" My family affirms my feelings, even the oldest daughter who always wanted to live in NYC--but no more!
I'd think anybody blind to “small town vs big city” stereotypes would surely have their eyes opened wide following a fiasco of a trip such as ours, especially after living awhile in both small towns & big cities!
If small towns are bad for expecting everybody who comes to know everything & fit in right away, big cities are just as bad or worse. And at least in small towns if you hafta know everything there's not nearly as much to learn & it doesn't take nearly as long to learn it!
“Green Acres is the place to be…”
But having said that it was a good one-time (maybe only one-time!) experience!…
Passing the Statue of Liberty & taking pics from the Staten Island ferry was neat; I vaguely remembered seeing Lady Liberty as a kid.
When we 1st stepped off the ferry onto Manhattan Island it was an incredible experience. I vaguely remembered it & none of the girls had ever seen anything close to like it before. The mass of diverse people, the rush of traffic, the immense skyline, even without the World Trade Center, the first site we walked to.
At Ground Zero, I took 3 or 4 pics, each time bowing to pray & make the sign of the cross. This was becuz it was powerful spiritual experience with me, having been born only a few miles away at most. It was also out of reverence for native New Yorkers (which by birth I am), many of whom apparently get offended by people taking pics there, tho I saw none of this while there.
What I did see were some people, obviously tourists, very very irreverently taking pics w their fams standing in front of the hole that used to be the Twin Towers saying “Cheese!”?!?!
They were lucky they didn't get their arses kicked, & lucky I wasn't doing t kicking!
Some of them were selling pics for $10 right there! A lady handed my youngest daughter one & she just let it drop in the mud. I am so extremely proud of her!
I woulda been far less gracious! I told the girls I was ready to go back & “Play Jesus,” overturning the tables of these "moneychangers," exploiting the fatal tragedy of so many, and of a city & a nation.
I was quite serious, too, and came damn close to doing it!
But I restrained myself from being thrown in a Manhattan prison, signed 1 of the walls “God bless Manhattan my birthplace,” and we walked on to our hotel.
Which BTW made a $50-$60 NC Econo-Dive (sorry, Econo Lodge) look like The Plaza (which we did see, by Central Park; all I could think about were scenes from Home Alone 2!). The floor was tilted, the room & "bathroom" were tiny, the beds small & like sleeping on uneven sheet rock. The continental breakfast was fair but late; the coffee was worse than Sgt Woo's on "Barney Miller!"
Little better were the $3.00 mini-latte's at Macy's we got the next day waiting for the girls, almost getting killed in another NYC stampede in the process!
I'll avoid city-country stereotypes as well as racial or cultural ones becuz I don't like them.
And becuz they don't fit anyway, as this trip only confirmed & magnified becuz of the massive number of people of so many different kinds.
Suffice it to say that in two days virtually any stereotype about any kind of person you could think of & how they do or don't behave was shattered!
A classic example was the members, mostly of the same culture, which I'll leave unnamed, that were the main pic takers & sellers at Ground Zero.
One of whom, in a hurry to get somewhere, dang near knocked me, bent over with my sore back, down a long flight of subway stairs, and bumped into my wife too, which if I'da known I'da been sorely tempted to help him the rest of the way down appropriate to the hurry he was in! This is a culture whose people are reputed to be very polite.
Meanwhile the members of another culture reputed to be rude & violent were by & large the nicest people there, at least from the contacts we had.
Stereotypes stink! Period!
My wife observed that there seemed to be very few obese people, at least out & about, in NYC, or where we were. I jokingly wondered if this was becuz they hafta walk everywhere even with the “suckways” even if you can figure the darn things out. Or becuz they're so hurried & uptight they burn all their energy just walkin down the street! Or becuz they bang into each other so much they bump off each others' fat!
I felt like a ping pong ball the whole time I was there! Even in those rare times & places when there's not a pack of people pushing around into & over you, the 1 person comin your way inevitably bumps into you!
Beats goin ta Weight Watchers I guess! Or maybe they're all practicing pick pocketers, whose victimizations we thankfully seem to have avoided, tho my wife had an open zipper on her bag on the sub. Or maybe bumping is the only way these worried hurried folks can get their touch therapy!
Seemed like a lot of lonely & isolated, worried & busy people, smashed together yet out of touch, a mass but not a community. Kinda unique, in some ways neat, yet pretty sad too...
We had some good food at a deli & a pizza place, and at a Café Iguana, where we had a free meal probably worth $80-90 for the 4 of us. It was free becuz the owner owes money to the law firm my wife works for.
We also saw some of Rockefeller Center, Time Square, and of course the big Christmas tree. We also went to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and got some nice pics. My wife got to fulfill her dream of going to the site of the Today Show, and pieces of both of us got on camera. Meanwhile the girls shopped in Macy's & other places; they said it was nice but overrated.
Friday afternoon we went to Central Park, which was an awesome experience! I began to recognize things there in particular, like a statue; it was beautiful in the snow, & had a huge full ice skating area, twice the size of the 1 at Rockefeller, which like a lot of stuff looks much bigger on TV, & also cost $30 for ˝ hour or something. Too bad we had no skates, and were too sore anyway!
Next time, day trip not overnight, & nothing to carry!
But the best part of the trip for me was yet to come!
I rode the carousel that held my best Manhattan memory, which I had ridden as a 2-3 year old. In fact I'm convinced I rode what appeared to be the very horse (or spot anyway) I remembered riding as a kid. And boy did I behave like a kid.
There is a Looney Tune cartoon featuring the Red Hot Ryder, and I did his whole riding routine practically, including riding side saddle, just as I promised myself I would.
My wife & one daughter rode comfortably (or so they thot) in front of me, while the other daughter vainly attempted to take pics of me while acting like she didn't know me. The guys behind me & probably others watching thot I was nuts. Guess what? I coulda cared less!
This was a key beginning moment in the resurrection & release of my inner child. Little Wuame & Big Wuame had a blast, & I'm really starting now to relive my childhood. One of the most fun times & best memories of my life, & I got to share it with my whole (if somewhat embarrassed!) real family of creation!
I began the process of rebuilding my childhood & rebuilding my memories, by starting with & staying with the positive one(s). Even Ground Zero, as I remembered those dead & others far less fortunate than I.
I chose, in part on the advice of my pdoc, not to go look for my 1st home, & actually only skimmed the edges of Little Italy. If I ever feel the need to go back to my old home area I will, but not now. Probably no looking for old family records for now either; I also nixed Ellis Island.
What was really gratifying is how well I handled everything in spite of great pain, discomfort, "claustrophobia," change, etc. I took the standing, walking, shopping, bumping, driving etc very well with little complaint & a lot of flexibility. Even took never eating real Italian in stride. And gasp my wife actually told me she was glad I was driving in the heavy traffic!
I'm actually proud of myself & of our family. Really learned a lot about my own resiliency & stamina. Handling all this so well gives me, & my wife & girls, confidence that I can go back home to work & play & endure the pain & make the most of it, of life. So this trip was in so many ways great & well worth it.
Will I/we go back? If we really need or want to. No hurry. Maybe I'll wait until we invent the transporter! :rolleyes:
God bless my little town!