I now know my right from my left and my up from my down. Unluckily, my terrible sense of direction remains. For me, to live in New York City is to never be able to meet someone on the northeast corner. It is to never ever make a smooth entrance, always to get caught looking lost on the street.
My grandmother was a kind of Scarsdale, New York, society woman, best known in her day as the author of the 1959 book 'Growing Your Own Way: An Informal Guide for Teen-Agers' - this despite being a person whose parenting style made Joan Crawford's wire hangers look like pool noodles.
In New York and L.A., there is sort of that silent competition to be on the cutting edge of something. You end up having a conversation with how the world receives your work, especially if you are writing narrative, not fiction. Sometimes it is an awkward conversation. It's like group therapy.
I used to think that nails-down-a-chalkboard was the worst sound in the world. Then I moved on to people-eating-cereal-on-the-phone. But only this week did I stumble across the rightful winner: it's the sound of a baggage carousel coming to a grinding halt, having reunited every passenger on your flight with their luggage, except for you.
Everyone has been in a social situation where you say something and it goes unnoticed, then someone else says the same thing and everyone laughs a lot. You learn how to be more creative and whacky and amusing.
Ah, the power of two. There's nothing quite like it. Especially when it comes to paying utility bills, parenting, cooking elaborate meals, purchasing a grown-up bed, jumping rope and lifting heavy machinery. The world favours pairs. Who wants to waste the wood building an ark for singletons?
In New York, if you weigh under 200 pounds and decline so much as a cookie at a co-worker's party, women will flock to your side, assuring you of your appealing physique. This is how skittish we are about the dangers of anorexia and the pressures of body image.
Cats and their owners are on a private, exclusive loop of affection. Thus cats have become symbolic of a community eschewed and a hyper-engagement with oneself. They represent the profound danger of growing so independent in New York that it's not merely that you don't need anyone - it's that you don't know how to need anyone.