Thursday, July 06, 2006
the long weekend
my friend and i went upstate to hang out with taro (the dj) and lynn (the burlesque dancer otherwise known as lukki) at their dreamy kitschy house in beacon. they were the consummate hosts, so generous with their lovely place. and really, it's such a relief to leave the city for a little while and be surrounded by so much greenery and sky and fresh air -- and not be in a park. the backyard was a semi-pastoral scene of blooming flowers and trees, with an expansive patio and a grill that would not quit, and a huge swimming pool that had all of us lounging and listening to music well into the night. there was foodfoodfood all over the place. everytime i turned around, there was something else to barbeque. excellent guacamole. i couldn't stop eating. shame on me.
i've never really explored new york state, so i find any day trip opportunity to glimpse into someone else's upstate lifestyle there to be fascinating. it's quite a conundrum, to vaccilate between the north and the south -- though for many, there's never been a reason to hesitate. i know that living in manhattan has urbanized me somewhat but i can never fully relenquish the wide open spaces inside me for any concrete jungle because it's just not who i am. the only thing that an upstate option offers as far as i can tell is easy access to manhattan -- a place that is becoming less alluring with every passing day. pretty soon, this place will be one gigantic strip mall, filled with way WASPy fashion victims living the "sex and the city" lifestyle they've always wanted and patently unaffordable. everything that made this place so cool will be gone like a puff of smoke. people will talk about their creative moments that spawned critically acclaimed work in the 90's like it was the good ol' days of yesteryear. and whoever hasn't run off to live upstate or in jersey will probably be in new york city's other borough that's growing like crazy: philadelphia.
i'm fairly convinced that my southern upbringing has made it possible for me to endure the worst of what the city has thrown at me because i knew that i don't belong here, that this place doesn't belong to me and cannot ever truly claim me, and that eventually i would leave. frankly, this is everything i grew up with in atlanta -- we have a large house, a big swimming pool in the backyard, and we're surrounded by so much trees and grass, you can't really see the house from the street -- but that's atlanta. with a decent job and good credit, you can own a nice house there. where can you do that in new york city? that's why i'm happy for any homeowner near the city. especially if they're artists.
it's pretty amazing, the way she can turn it on out of nowhere, like flipping a switch. i wish i could do that.
it's so inspiring, to be around people like lynn and taro that are happy and married and young and enjoying each other and their lives together. it's beautiful to see. they're both from california, so of course they'd have a backyard that blooms and a pool to swim in. sweet. (just for the record: although i loved the backyard quite a bit, it was the sewing room that really got me...)
later, when the sun went down and the night was filled with the preliminary popping sounds of domesticated fireworks and bottle rockets, we strung lights along the patio's edge and played a game called "celebrity" that had everyone jumping around and acting things out individually, and shouting out answers. afterwards, my friend and i watched burlesque dvds while everyone else went skinny dipping. it was a letter-perfect night.
we ended up having so much fun, we didn't get back to the city until the next day -- just in time to have a little dim sum, take a nap and make kari's 4th of july festivities at her place on 14th & 3rd. she had a kfc spread, along with homemade red white and blue cupcakes, crudite and those infamous ft. worth finger sausages that she makes out of chilis and grape jelly. at the appointed time, everyone went to the roof to watch macy's light up the sky. "everyone" turned out to be everyone in the building, some of whom had spread out blankets and had a bit of a night time picnic going on. bread. wine. cheese. fruit. where are we, the lower east side or the french countryside? is nyc really that european? (probably...)
we could actually see the fireworks at both 34th street and 14th street. very exciting. someone tuned the radio to the simulcast so we could all hear stuff like "stars and stripes forever" and "the star-spangled banner" and that aaron copeland song that my friend kept calling the "beef -- it's what's for dinner" ditty. i vaguely recall that there was some david hasselhoff knockoff in there somewhere. oh, wait a minute -- that was probably nick lashay. well. clearly all of that fanfare was for middle america. i think they should have had some special audio for new yorkers. a little opera, maybe. the black national anthem, for crying out loud. a punk rock version of new york, new york. personally, i kept hearing jimi hendrix's version of the national anthem in my head. something unconventional and cool along those lines. hm. maybe what i need is my own iPod, preprogrammed and completely in sync.
of course in the rush to get upstairs, i forgot my camera and didn't get any images. *sigh* but somewhere in the midst of all the bombs bursting in air (and on the radio via hasselhoff and/or lashay), my friend turned to me with his arm outstretched dramatically towards the sky and declared that he'd planned the whole thing for our six month anniversary.
what a guy.