Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

New York, Again

It feels like I was just here, but I guess that was almost a year ago.  And it feels like I just lived here, but that ended six years ago.  Six years?

Anyway.  Woke up early.  Packed a carry-on and a personal item.  Drove to SFO and left the car at the wrong terminal, the one equidistant to the Virgin America gates.  Sat at their little desks with power plugs and banged out the morning’s writing.  I’m still writing in OmmWriter half the time, and it was somewhat ironic that the fake-ass ambient drone music in the headphones was the sound of being on an old train, the clacking of the rails, and I’m in a super-futuristic airport that looks like a Kubrick wet dream, watching giant Airbus spaceships launch into the skies at near-Mach speeds.

Full flight.  No meal on the plane.  I cobbled together a fake meal of dry goods, and then realized that eating tuna while sealed in a tiny tube is a dumb idea.  Couldn’t write on the plane so I read half of Fight Club in one clip on my Kindle.  Reading a book about insomnia, being crammed in planes, and a lack of life fulfillment isn’t advisable when you haven’t slept, are crammed in a plane, and aren’t feeling fulfilled with your life.  Good book, though.

The wait for a cab took a half hour.  I was behind two women who were fresh from London, and bitching about the cabs and how you couldn’t just take the “tube” from JFK.  Well, you sort of can, but it’s not advisable.  It was raining, 30 degrees, just trying to snow.  I got a cab, headed in, and it took about 90 minutes to cover that 9 miles, as the snow started to stick.

And now I’m in my old neighborhood, the LES.  I’m staying in a hotel right by my old house.  This really freaked me out last time, and it’s doing it even more.  It’s my old hood, my old McDonald’s just down the street, my old subway stop just a couple of blocks away.  Allen, Orchard, Stanton, Delancey. We used to go to Clinton Street Bakery and Alias and walk up and down these side streets almost every day.  We’d order from Schiller’s and wait in an impossible line at the Rite Aid while they fucked up our prescriptions and talked on their cell phones instead of actually working as cashiers.  My current office is my old office, and the walk to work will be the same tomorrow morning.

I just emailed John about something and remembered how he stayed here with us at our old place, right before we left in 2007.  I know I hated a lot of things about New York, and I know I could never live here again, but I really do miss our place over there – it was the most tolerable place I’d lived here, a real gem of an apartment.  Lots of light, a deck, a nice view of a park below us, big rooms, and my own little office to hide in and try to write, although I don’t think I got anything substantial done the whole time we lived there.

My nostalgia really tortures me sometimes.  I think the ironic thing is, I’m slowly losing my memory, and I fear that at some point in the future, I will remember nothing of the past, won’t have any idea if I already ate the sandwich I’m holding in my hand, and the only thing left will be these unbearable pining feelings for certain eras of my life, specific times or places or feelings or moods that can be summed up by the menu of a restaurant or the pair of jeans I used to wear.  So I sit here, a few blocks from my old apartment, and miss that era, that feeling, even if I’m making more money and living in a nicer place and married and way more productive.  The nostalgia is overwhelming and depressing and uplifting and impossible to capture, but impossible to avoid.

It’s past my bedtime, but of course I’ll be wide awake for three more hours due to the magic of time zones.  I was so starving, I went to the sushi restaurant in the hotel, sat at the bar lined with raw fish, and ordered a cheeseburger and fries.  I’ve been impeccably good with weightwatchers for the last couple of months, but snapped, ate a day’s worth of food, and now I’m pumping with insulin and not ready to sit down and write, but I must.