Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Head Back, Spine Arched, Chest Lifted

The city was changing me… At some point, I began to believe in extreme wealth or extreme poverty. It was as if New York were a third-world country complicit in its own military dictatorship. While people were ambitious, they accepted their fate in the hierarchy just so they could watch the truly rich make fools of themselves in the “Post.” God, where was my place?

White-collar Manhattan was an overly sanitized urban bazaar and I was a country girl more accustomed to the smells of the county fair than to the rarified air of the Ritz. The personalities and daily pitches could be distilled down to a push, a cry, a scream; there was a crush to get ahead in their world and I wasn’t quite prepared. The only person I remember from those first weeks was the six o’clock happy hour girl, some ravishing brunette or slender blonde that I would inevitably pass on my way home. There she was at dusk with her skinny jeans and stilettos on Prince Street or West Houston—head tilted back, spine arched, chest lifted—swilling martinis in front of Raoul’s or sipping bright pink margaritas at Dos Caminos. I wanted to be frivolous, silly, ordinary—just like her. At that point, I didn’t realize that it was a blessing to be different, to sit in quiet on my ivy-covered terrace and drink Pinot Noir from a fat wineglass and think…

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