So, I finished up my internship, and then I left New York. It kind of snuck up on me too. And my internship boss started freaking out a bit because she was suddenly running out of interns. But it happens at the end of every season, and she gets over it and gets new interns. She did say I was a good writer, which was nice.
The way I left New York was that I got on an absolutely enormous bus—one might even call it a Mega-Bus—and the bus took me and a few other people to Boston. Now I’m here at my friend Willie’s house, and tomorrow morning we’re going to leave on our camping trip. It’ll be in Vermont, which is only 2½ hours’ drive away—it takes a little getting used to how small these states are up here. But I’ll write about that when I’m done. What about New York?
On the whole, I’d say it was an exceptionally positive experience. Even though I’m definitely still not a big-city person, I now know what it’s like to live in a big city. But if all I gained from New York was being able to rule out a lifestyle that I’d already pretty much ruled out, that’d pretty much make it a waste of two months. I also gained something pretty great to put on my résumé, which is certainly good, but it’s also not even close to all that I got out of the city. What I got was an experience. Like Aunt Irene said commenting on the last post, if I want to be a writer, I need to experience as much as I can. I found that I was looking at some things from a writer viewpoint. For example, just yesterday, on my last subway ride ever, sitting down the car from me was a woman with a tremendous voice, relating a story at full volume to her friend. I was reading my book about edible plants, and glared at her a couple times. Then I realized that she was a lot more than loud and annoying. She was also putting more feeling into the delivery of a story than anyone I may have ever seen. I couldn’t even tell what the story was about, since I was at the other end of the car and the words got blurred with all the train noise, but I just watched her tell it. She jumped up into high, incredulous voices, and then with no pause she swooped down into a preposterously manly voices. She never seemed to breathe. Almost always she was acting out the story with her hands too, using them to guard her head against something heavy falling on her, or spreading them out to show something hugely expansive, or lifting her arm up to punctuate a deep “WHOOOF” sound effect (which popped up several times—I really wish I knew what she had been talking about). Eventually, instead of being angry that she was so loud and distracting me from my book, I just grinned and watched her performance. Once I started enjoying it, I thought to myself, She might have to be a character in a book I write sometime. But I’m more than a writer, too; in fact, one could make a convincing case that I’m not really a writer yet, since I’ve never really tried to sell anything I’ve written (though I still write, so I count myself as some sort of writer at least). I’m also just a person, and I like to keep these experiences just as experiences, since experiences are what make up a life, once they’ve turned into memories. I’ve certainly had two months packed really dense with experiences. Free symphony concerts, tasting home-brewed beer at a friend’s house, riding a fixed-gear bike, watching punk music lovers dance by skipping around a circle at top possible speed and collide with each other. These are the things that, whether or not they make it into a book I write, if I ever even write a book that gets published, are what I’m now going to be able to tell people I’ve seen, and laugh with them, or maybe commiserate with them, or just talk with them. Everything was new and amazing. Even if it might not have been, I made it that way anyhow.
I shouldn’t write any more than that, because I’ve got an early morning tomorrow. Willie has this strange thing where he’s apparently constitutionally incapable of getting up later than about 5:30 in the morning, and as a result he also never goes to bed later than about 9:30 at night. So, during our camping trip, I suspect we’ll both end up synching our sleep times to the hours of the night, making midnight a real midnight, instead of the late-ish evening that it usually is for me. If all goes well, maybe I’ll be able to keep it up a long time, at least up until I try polyphasic sleep. That would be another excellent experience. That’s the most common kind, especially if you expect it to be.