Thursday, October 4, 2012

It’s not always glitter and lights

New York city is not always glitter and lights–and the last few days have felt glum. I think it is that transition from summer to fall, where it is not quite cold enough to pull on your favorite sweater. I think it is that transition in time, where no amount of coffee can wake you up, and all you are left with is a dehydrated headache. Maybe it is a loss of space–that you can’t quite fold up your things into a tiny corner of your own–that everything is shared–you are constantly moving over, shifting around, pulling the sheets over your head to drown out the light and wishing that your earplugs would stifle the noise. Maybe it is the late trains that leave you on the platform for an extra 20 minutes, setting you back a whole hour and slicing your day in half. It could be the rain. A rain that doesn’t smell like fresh pine and cedar, but instead is a muddy haze that makes even the brightest corners of the city look dull. This glum could be a result of too many blocks in wet boots, and soggy socks. Or it could just be an invasion of the mind taking over the body–a fight between the head and the heart– a battle of the inside with the outside.

In the midst of gray three things happened: I witnessed a fistfight on the corner of Broadway and Price between two complete strangers. Obviously the gray gloom had gotten the worst of them, and they could no longer contain their frustration, and so they took it out on each other. As I dodged puddles and made my way to a favorite nearby café–my refuge– the woman behind me barked at the waiter–clearly dumping her gloom onto someone else. When he asked her if she was finished she snapped, “Well do you think I am going to eat the cup and saucer too?” The woman sitting next to me, about 75 years old, ordered a glass of wine at 11AM, a sure sign that her gray morning could only be cured with a toast to the clouds.

Fortunately, for me, I was able to share my gray matter with a friend who was there and at the ready, who was happy to listen, ready to respond, and always makes me smile. How lucky am I?

And so just like a storm, the gray matter will pass. The best advice I received was this:

Write down how you feel today and read it tomorrow…you will be pleasantly surprised.

How I feel today: Today I feel overwhelmed. Price elasticity, supply and demand, normal and inferior goods, total revenue, monopolies, oligopolies, internships and summer plans are taking over my brain, leaving me little time to run, sleep or explore. I miss the trees, the ocean, and my yellow lab. I close my eyes and picture my feet hitting the trails in Forest Park. I open my eyes. I stand up and stretch. I head for the kitchen for another cup. The clouds will clear. Tomorrow is a new day.

This cup is for anyone who is brave enough to walk in the rain without an umbrella. Cheers!

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