On one of my last days in New York, I walked past the Brooks Brothers in Columbus Circle and remembered just how much the city had completely kicked my a**.
Because of stores like Brooks Brothers, the collared shirts they contained and the people who shopped there exclusively, I felt left out, inadequate and under-dressed in New York City. But at that moment, I saw the pink shirt next to the reflection of my Old Navy jeans in the glass and thought, “This store can’t hurt me anymore. I’ve finally learned to be myself and not worry about it.”
Then I got to San Francisco and realized that I hadn’t learned to be myself. I learned to be a New Yorker. I was horrified to find that no one ever seems to be impatient, or even in a hurry. While walking home from Yoga class today (Irony alert) I realized the real problem: total lack of self-importance. It’s eerie. There’s not a single person here who realizes that the point of walking down the street is to assert your physical, intellectual and financial superiority over the other people walking down the street. It’s maddening! I’d kill for one disdainful look, or at least someone to acknowledge that she’s impressive. The obliviousness left me feeling empty for most of the day–until I got to the How Weird Street Fair.
“Bollyweird: The Cosmic Dance. Ten blocks of art, performances, colorful costumes, unique vendors. Plus ten stages of electronic music, non-stop fashion shows, healing arts, and a new world record that you can take part in!All ages welcome. Costumes and dancing encouraged.“
There were so many hippies. There were absurd costumes. There was dancing in the streets. It was like the Woodstock Remix. It all felt like too much. I busied myself taking photographs and muttering, “I can’t believe this is real.” Then I realized: people were really dancing in the streets-without any sense of self-importance! It was real. It might have been catalyzed by drugs, but it was not a half-bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
I was dancing, wrapping scarfs around my head and yanking up my jeans so everyone could see my stripped socks clashing with my running sneakers. But after a while, reality sunk in. My New York state of mind came back. I looked around the crowd of mellow misfits and it occurred to me, “I might turn 30 in this city.”
But before I could race off to the airport to book a flight home and back to the grind, a three-person congo line hopped past me. “Come on, join!” The leader called to me. “You know you want to! We have no idea where we’re going, and that’s the important part!”