M and I are back in NYC this week, both for work and a bit of fun. We’ve been staying with our friend who actually lives in our old apartment. It is sort of odd being there, as if we never left. I find myself reminiscing a lot.
Among the things I imagined I’d be happy leaving behind in New York was the subway with all its delays, track changes, and riders with little regard for personal space or gauge for volume appropriateness. But in fact, I find that it’s something I have missed the most.
Our sweet hippie car has a manual transmission. Now, I haven’t owned a car in 8 years so I was a little out of the habit of driving anyway. But a stick shift? It’s terrifying. My years away from the wheel (and as an NYC pedestrian) made me a bit of a skittish passenger, and now we were asking me to drive a machine that screeches and stalls if I don’t coax it just right?!
Oh, and I had never actually driven one before.
To my surprise this has been the toughest aspect of non-city life I have had to adjust to. I haven’t found it to be such a shock living on a farm 60 miles from the closest thing to a “city,” where plenty of days I see no other humans besides my husband – unless the FedEx guy comes by. I don’t mind that we cook all our meals because there is nowhere to get takeout. Or waiting a few days for Amazon to deliver specialty things I would have known just where to pick up in New York. It was the lack of independence that really got to me.
It took me 2 months to become confident enough (and competent enough) to drive it by myself. It has been a sharp learning curve.
This week, swiping into the subway just makes me feel like myself again. I didn’t realize how much I valued the ability to follow my own whim until I tried life without it.
I do love New York.
PS – I can drive the stick shift hippie car now, so you can all rest assured of my emotional stability. I just can’t drive it in traffic. Or over bridges. Or over 65 mph. Or if I have to parallel park…