Last week I had the unexpected, yet exceptionally delightful fortune to tag along with a generous and dear friend to New York City to see ELO in concert at Madison Square Garden. Um. Yeah. ELO IN NYC, y’all. See? Unemployment DOES have it’s benefits, just not health benefits. I’m pretty sure I was the only one that she knew that could jet off to Manhattan on a Tuesday morning with no important plans to rearrange unless you count knitting and watching The Talk.
I’ve been to New York before but this was pre-sobriety and almost twenty years ago so suffice to say that things had changed a bit. And indeed it was a blurry trip, but this time, for all the RIGHT reasons.
The energy of the City was palpable and this time, I wasn’t impervious to it. The concrete, the noises, the sirens and horns. The smells from shops, bodegas and street vendors. People of all ages, races, nationalities and backgrounds converging into one pulsating circus of humanity. The concert itself notwithstanding, it was a trip of a lifetime, and yet, less than 48 hours. We must’ve walked twenty miles a day it seemed, and I may not be far off. From the Statue of Liberty to Central Park to the 9/11 memorial and the Oculus and to Greenich Village and Times Square – we were gals about town. We ate Peruvian food. We took a rickshaw through Central Park. We went to Strawberry Fields and I sang along with the makeshift band playing “give peace a chance”.
I’ll be honest, there were some powerful feelings happening. My last trip to New York was with my dead friend Ben, who passed away last year. It was bittersweet to skip through Chelsea without him by my side, snarking and giggling, and drinking vodka tonics. My throat almost closed shut when we approached the 9/11 Memorial and I saw the deep peaceful pools engraved with the names of the dead, and heard the ambient sounds of the water that give the area a natural inclination to silence and remembrance. Tears of sheer joy streamed down my face when ELO broke into It’s a living thing as I danced my ass off in the explosions of their ethereal light show. You guys, I had no idea I was numb, until I wasn’t.
We also literally stumbled upon this neighborhood and had some delicious Capellini street-side with some gorgeous young ladies next to us actually speaking Italian and it felt like I was an extra in a fabulous movie, save for my smeared mascara and buttcrack sweat from the August summer heat. I just ruined that entire image, didn’t I?
It was magical, pure and simple. My girlfriend’s generosity was rivaled only by her hilarity and I cannot imagine navigating that City without her, we literally laughed and danced our way through New York. I’m learning slowly to live in the moment and appreciate each day for what it is. My gratitude for my life and the people in it, is enormous and sobriety has given me that appreciation and presence.
I can’t wait to see what’s next.