After dinner, they moved into the living room and Sofia felt herself relaxing in a way that she had never experienced as an adult. There was a kind of safety here that she found as exotic as dogwood and as beautiful. She felt that she was wholly welcome, that people in this home were prepared to like her, no matter who she was or what she’d done.
—The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell
Dear New Yorkers,
I get it now.
So I’d never been to New York, because I usually don’t travel all that much without a reason and I live in a city, I don’t go to other American cities for recreation, I go to beaches or other countries. I didn’t have any kind of Chicagoan hostility toward the place or anything, just never had a reason to make the time.
Somewhere around midnight on Saturday, walking back toFabulous New York Jennifer’s place in the East Village at 2 a.m. passing just about everybody in the whole world on the street, still up, my brain still good and buzzing from dinner conversation with 20crack den hanger-outers at once, I had the same awakening about it that I had about San Francisco when I first saw it: Okay, I get why you’d do what you had to to do stay here because Jesus god, it’s amazing. Exhausting, don’t get me wrong, I left feeling like I’d been run over by a truck just from walking around, but amazing in that lifted-up, carried-along way crowds have, and all the time and every day.
Which is to say a weekend spent in the company ofNtodd andThers and family and Res Ipsa andWatertiger and Brooklyn Girl andSpork Incident andUncle Smokes and Feral Liberal andthis ferret fancier and Bunker and Quilt Lady and a zillion other people and a totally random puppy on the street was like an education in why blogging is valuable and good and works for so many people.
Works not just in a political sense, though we all had stories and opinions and argued in good ways. But works in a sense that here’s a bunch of people from all over the country who’ve come together because they see the world in a similar way. I am never not impressed by their passion to make their country a better place, and I don’t know what patriotism is if not the name we give the poetry that describes such intentions. Everybody comes from someplace different but everybody, it seemed to me looking around the dinner table, everybody was living deeply and singing loudly with the voices they had. Sometimes literally. I blame the wine.
This medium’s opened us up to each other’s voices in a way I don’t think happens very often. You might admire a writer or speaker but they’re insulated, you might write somebody a fan letter but there’s no guarantee they’d ever answer. We were talking on Sunday, sitting on a blanket in Central Park on what had to be the most beautiful day in the historical record, and really our only common denominator was that everybody dove right in and engaged on the basis of what we had to say, regardless of resum or pedigree. That’s really pretty rare, places like that, where that happens. The crack den, and this blog by extension, and those of the fine people above, are a few.
I heart NY.