You and I hung out during my high school years. We lived together during my college years. Then I moved away. Since then, you and I have seen each other off and on. We always have a good time when I come back to see you. You bring excitement, glamour, nostalgia, and novelty to my life.
But, dear Manhattan, you’re also high maintenance. Walking on your sidewalks is like running with the bulls. Dawdle and you’ll get trampled. Pause to appreciate architecture or to read a street sign, and you’ll piss off the teeming masses behind you. Then they will sigh or huff loudly to voice their displeasure as they walk around you. Such an overabundance of important people with important places to be. Avoid tourist traps or commuting hours? Then walking is downgraded to an action-packed game of people dodging. You lose points if you brush against or bump into other players.
You’re loud. Construction and street repairs barely drown out the sound of intermittent sirens and the constant angry honking of cars.
There is a great price to pay to do anything with you. Lines. Long lines. For everything. And traffic. So. Much. Traffic. Heart-stopping rides in cabs, Ubers, and Lyfts driven by aggressive drivers who hate their jobs. Life is short, and high blood pressure is no joke. Jus sayin’.
And, dear Manhattan, you don’t keep the cleanest house. The smell of urine at random corners or subway entrances, the registry of hotels with reported bed bug infestations, subway car surfaces that have never met bleach. I could go on, but you and I go way back, and these things never used to bother me when I was younger.
I know, I know, you have no shortage of admirers and fans eager to spend time with you. You’re gorgeous and seductive. You don’t need online dating services. It’s not you. It’s me.
I’ve changed. I’ve been to the promised land where people walk to enjoy things… like the weather… and flowers… and being alive. Where people aren’t breathing down each other’s necks as they avert their gaze on packed subway cars. Where people have elbowroom and breathing room. Where people don’t pay good money for standing-only room.
So, dear Manhattan, the once love of my life, I think I have finally fallen out of love with you. Since you have permanent legal and physical custody of Columbia University, the Yankees, and many other things I love, we will always have a bond and we will always be part of each other’s lives. But I will definitely be seeing more of other cities. So please don’t troll me if you see photos of them on my social media accounts.
I’ll always love you.
©Living off Island, Writing Wahine, 2018.