Saturday, July 29, 2006
It's weird how your sense of self can be challenged by travel to a new place. I'm alone in a hotel room in New York tonight. Today was my last day at work, my last day at a place I've been for six and a half years - longer than I was in college, or high school; almost as long as I've been married. I lived in 4 homes during my tenure. My husband and I bought our first house.
My team threw me a going away party, and invited my husband, who drove me straight to the train station afterwards - I have a day of schmoozing ahead of me tomorrow, meeting with potential clients (and some friends). We were planning to come to New York this weekend anyway, for the Del Close comedy fest, and then when I decided to start freelancing I arranged to come a day early and meet with people. Hubby joins me tomorrow.
After what felt like the longest train ride ever (despite a good book), I decided to walk to the hotel from the train station - 13 blocks, and 3 avenues. I walked through Times Square and felt like Alice in Wonderland with all the glitter - I've seen it a million times before, but tonight it felt otherworldly. I drifted through. On the train ride up, passing through Philly, where I went to college, we passed the boat houses lit up all along the Schuykill river, and I was struck with nostalgia, with a sense of passage. Thinking of the young woman that walked those city streets.
I arrived at my hotel covered in sweat. The lobby is beautiful old New York on a small scale; the elevator fits about 3 people comfortably; and my room is probably about 8 x 10. The bathroom is like a closet. The view out the window is of other windows. The window unit is roaring. There's a framed black and white photograph on the wall that's supposed to look arty. The sheets are soft. My limbs are weary.
In seven hours I get up and start the schmoozing, start the selling of myself, the charming. It's nerve-wracking, and too fast - I need time to come down. But at the same time, it's thrilling: to think of being myself out in the world, for what feels like the first time.