One of the most exciting things about being retired is that I am now able to be spontaneous with my time. If someone calls and asks me to go on a walk – right now – I can do it! I don’t have to wait for my lunch hour or the weekend….I can get up and go.
This week I found out that one of the people who helped me while I was being treated was going to NYC to pack up an apartment and get it ready for sale. “Want help?” I cried. Finally, a way to pay back some of the kindness that was given to me.
Wow! An impromptu trip to Manhattan – down on the train Monday and back on Wednesday. How exciting to be able to say yes, I can do this with you. Lingering bits of guilt for not being at home or doing what I “should” be doing melted away as I realized that yes, I was in NYC.
It was a short trip but long enough for me to think about city living. First was the understanding – I mean really understanding – that people actually live there. I mean – they are in the city for the bulk of their time; working, playing, shopping, walking their dogs. The city is novelty for me. An exciting place to visit, a change of pace; but for millions of people, it is home. They don’t get up and wander about the garden looking for hornworms, they don’t walk barefoot in the grass on the way to empty the compost bucket, they don’t pick flowers in the afternoon to put on the dinner table at night.
There is a constant noise in the city that I could not find reprieve from. The streets are noisy with cars, the restaurants are noisy with people laughing and talking and even the apartment was noisy with the sound of air conditioning and the elevator. I felt like I had a constant pressure on my ears as the native sounds invaded my head.
There is disconnect with the outside world. Wednesday morning it rained and from the 8th floor of the building we were in, I couldn’t tell it was raining. I had no idea what the temperature was outdoors although we were lucky enough to have windows that showed us whether the sun was shining. I couldn’t look at the thermometer and decide whether I needed my sweater.
I had a fabulous time. The food was amazing. I watched a very intoxicated man call an ambulance for a homeless man. I saw napkins that sold for $90 each. I watched a woman walk down the street carrying a longbow and arrows. I met a woman who watches the rats play in a nearby park for entertainment. It was exciting and novel and exhausting.
There was so much more that it will take me weeks to remember it all and right now I want to get outside and pick the peaches.