It’s Always the Bass Player

Dennis points out a thing about cities. It’s always been a source of internal wonder how i became such a city girl. When i was a kid i always thought i’d leave the city, LA at the time. I figured i’d end up somewhere sort of rural or rustic. My favorite month of the year was at sleep away camp. Except for kayaking which was the worst. Hate kayaking. But everything else, hiking, archery, sailing, dirt, rocks, campfires there was nothing better. The weeks after i came home from camp i would fall into a serious depression. Why couldn’t life just be sleep-away camp all year long??? Invariably my mother would threaten to never send me again if i didn’t snap out of it, and quick.

The crossroads must have been the point where i was deciding where to go to college. I had it narrowed down to extreme country vs extreme city. Hanover, New Hampshire vs. New York, New York, the city so nice they named it twice. Both were adequately far away from Los Angeles, both were good schools, both were expensive as hell, though Dartmouth was giving me a substantially better financial aid package seeing as that, like, no girls went there. Dartmouth had things like rock climbing, canoeing, hiking as your basic after class activities. Sounded great. Nevermind that the “town” was a half a block long, and the guy who was showing me around took me to The Coffee House with way too much excitement. Apart from a few bars and many many frat parties, this coffee house was It. But then i saw New York. Rather i saw one of the first days of spring on the Columbia Campus. Hailing from LA i was unused to seasons, and i didn’t understand that these odd “weather changes” had a huge impact on the mood of the natives. Naturally i assumed that the playfulness that pervaded the campus that day was always there. I’ve since learned well about the first-days-of-spring delerium. For those few weeks alone, this seasons stuff is practically bearable.

But let me get to the real point. Frankly, it was Hot Guy Headquarters. I was stunned. I’m going to admit something now that i’ve never told anyone ever. I came to New York because of the shirtless bass player in the Mama Joy Band that was playing on the steps of Low Library that day. Period, end of story. That was it. I stared at him, i wiped a bit of drool off my face, and my mind was made up.

A grotesque amount of student loans later, i not once got up the nerve to talk to him, though i saw him a trillion and a half times at least. But so started the love hate relationship with New York. I really do hate New York, passionately, feverishly. But then again i really love it too. It’s a bitch that way. And really, i couldn’t imagine living in a small city. I could go to Paris or London or LA, but like San Diego? No way. But why is living in the cramped confines of a concrete, smelly, dirty metropolis attractive to anyone? Rationally it sucks doesn’t it?

I go to the Canal St Martin to eat a sandwich and pastry practically everyday for lunch now that spring is here. Sometimes i think it’s a cheap substitute for a country stream, or a deep lake somewhere. On either side of me are all sorts of folks, kids from the high school smoking cigarettes, people like me on their lunch break, city workers in their blue jump-suits drinking beer. All sitting along the edge of the canal. And there you have it. It’s cool. It’s not the same without all these people. Without people, it’s spooky, lonely. And unspoilt nature with a lot people is just weird. City people soaking up as much nature as forces allow, now that’s cool.

Yesterday i was waiting to see a very odd Godard film in front of the Pompidou. Next to me a guy was kicking a soccer ball around. It got away from him and this other guy walking along returned it, and then guy number one did a trick and sent it back. And so it began, a ring of boys kicking around the soccer ball that eventually numbered seven. They were all way different from each other, ethnically, the way they were dressed, everything. It was cool. The type of thing that doesn’t happen when everyone’s bbq-ing in their own fenced off yard. Naturally i ended up directly behind the one kind of crappy player who wasn’t able to get to the ball before it came hurtling towards my delicate book-reading self every ten goddamn minutes.

Yep, there’s the city for ya.

Comments are closed.