Monday, September 11, 2006

city kid and September 11

city kid
While I was at the playground with my mother and little sister, I saw a girl playing
After a while, she and her mother left, but as they were leaving, I heard her say: “And the two little rabbits hopped down the sidewalk and lived happily ever after.”
After I heard that, I thought, “Only a city kid would say ‘And the rabbits hopped down the sidewalk.’” (“Metropolitan Diary,” The New York Times, September 11, 2006, A21.)

I don’t read “Metropolitan Diary” in The New York Times often. (Hell, I usually don’t get to read the newspaper – certainly not every day.) The fact that this was a nine-year-old writing didn’t register upon first reading. (I mean, what a sophisticated observation for a nine-year-old to make.)

I was a city kid in the very same city as this kid. At the age of 30, I was at the suburban (almost rural – or recently rural) childhood home of my then boyfriend (now husband). I saw maybe 10 geese hanging out in a field near a lake. I asked him, “Who do those geese belong to?” I did not think this was an odd question – or I would not have asked it. He laughed… and laughed… and laughed. The city kid remains in me even at 30-something. Are there wild geese anywhere in NYC? Maybe somewhere. Of course there were pigeons. And, near my apartment building, peacocks roamed the grounds at St. John the Divine cathedral. But those peacocks belonged to someone. I’m certain there are no wild peacocks in NYC.

Another city kid tidbit: I have never used a lawnmower.

Now that I watch Sesame Street with Iz, the childhood in the city images look familiar yet feel far away. I now recognize them as unusual, or at least not the experience of all children. Iz does not have that experience. Why does that make me sad? I mean, of course two rabbits would hop down a sidewalk!

September 11

On a much more serious note (though related – I was a city kid in the city that was attacked) – I have been crying over September 11 mentions, reports, memories for, oh, at least three days now.

I did not lose anyone in the attacks. I was no longer living in New York (though I was living in Washington, DC and saw the Pentagon spewing smoke).

I have been cursing and yelling at the radio whenever politicians – especially Bush – speechify about September 11. How dare he? How dare he use this as a partisan, fear-mongering… damn. I am so angry that he is manipulating this tragedy to his own ends. How does he get away with it? Makes me even sadder.

The articles about the new towers (the Freedom one and the three others) are interesting – but why has nothing been built? Not that something huge and business-oriented must go up or the “American Way of Life” is compromised. I wonder if there will always be a hole in downtown New York City.

Like a family tragedy – I felt as if I should have been there on September 11, 2001. But I wasn’t. (I had moved to DC two years earlier.) I still feel as if I should be there.

Friday, September 08, 2006

house on Zamia Street, done

My first major painting in years. I love it. It may not be perfect (crooked lines being the major flaw), but that is not the goal, nor my style.

I did the sketches for this one way back in March.

What next?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

being a teenager

I can’t remember being a teenager. (Not because I drank a lot, though I did drink – but two beers could get me drunk. And not because I took drugs, though I did sample pot and LSD. Hey, I remember those things.) Well, I have tons of images, scraps of memories.

I just don’t really remember stories and timelines. Not sure why. I worry that I have blocked it out. I was not terribly unhappy – though I remember being very, very unhappy at times.

I was absolutely boy crazy. I was always “in love” with someone. I dated a fair amount – though “dating” for me meant hanging out and fooling around. (Sex did not happen until I was 17, though I wanted it earlier.) Those phrases, hanging out and fooling around, are perfectly clear to me, though they may seem vague to some. (I imagine my peers would be able to conjure an exact image/meaning for each phrase.) I hate that I was so boy crazy. I wish I could go back and fix that – not because I was distracted from more important things (I probably was), but because I perhaps did not focus on friendships with other girls (I have no close friends remaining from those years – except one with whom I am only in sporadic touch), perhaps because I am a good feminist who thinks, rationally, that boy craziness is just a tad misguided. Anyway…

And tried to get away with doing as little work as I could in high school. (I did a lot of my own writing, though.) When I was no longer was required to take a science class, I didn’t. Same with a language class. (O, how I wish I now knew French.) English and history classes were required throughout. Maybe I took only English and History my senior year. But that can’t be right. Maybe an art class? Can’t say for sure.

Now this is just depressing. I am a smart, capable woman. Really, I am. I earned my bachelor’s degree in the standard four years and had a 3.8 GPA. In my 20s, I earned my master’s degree in medieval history while working full time, was successful in my first teaching job, and ran many road races (including a marathon). In my 30s (so far – only halfway through), I have started a freelance editing business (I still run races, too!).