The Muscle Memory of a Place

by Ginger on February 18, 2013

in Random

So yeah, I got to New York fine, and I did the trade show thing, and I (as usual) ate my way through the city (Greek!Italian!Chinese!French!Japanese!Mexican! It was an international delight), and then I came home, and spent the weekend with my family, and now here I am, dusting off the cobwebs from all my online homes. So hi there! I’ve missed you all! What’s new in your worlds?

Every time I go back to New York it feels weird. For any of you who are new(ish) around here–I lived and worked in New York for 3 years before coming to San Diego (ok, fine, I lived in Jersey City. But seriously, close enough). And I hated about 80% of living there, and the other 20% was all about the food (I’m only slightly exaggerating). I just…am not cut out for real winter, as it turns out, or for constant noise and people. New York is an amazing place, but dayum was it hard for me to live there.

Anyway, that backstory to say, it’s always weird to go back. Because it never feels any LESS like home than it did when I lived there. It feels both completely comfortable and completely unknown at the same time. I know my way around, I can fall back into the subway system without a hiccup, I can jaywalk with the best of them, I still remember the muscle memory of hailing a cab and pushing through a crowded sidewalk and shifting direction based on how the traffic is going and I fall back into the rhythm of the city immediately. But it’s a rhythm that feels just as off as it did when I lived there. It’s like nothing has changed, I never left and that only serves to highlight how it’s not MY place and never was.

Here, it’s different. I feel utterly at home here. It’s like my soul relaxes here unlike anywhere else. And the funny thing is, I don’t have the same muscle memory here–STILL, after almost 6 years–that I have about New York. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that you learn a city in a much more intimate way, I think, when you have to walk it and when you’re on foot ALL the time (we were too broke to take taxis in New York much. It was hoofing it and subways all the way), versus driving everywhere. Being in a car gives you a little bit of a disconnect from the place-ness of a place. (Some of it also has to do with the fact that I live in the burbs of San Diego county. Urban living versus suburban living feels different in how that place gets into your system.)

But oh, I will give that muscle memory up a million times over to feel this sense of home. And I know it’s just a place, and the real mark of a home is about the people and the experiences and blah blah blah, but this place? This place makes me happy and homey and every business trip I take to New York is such a wonderful reminder of how, yes, New York is amazing and I will always visit and love visiting, but home, oh this is HOME.

Erica February 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Suburb fist pump!

Katherine February 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I am disturbed by the Mexican food in New York comment.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks February 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I also feel like certain places, New York definitely being one of them, you have to have your A-game to survive, while other places (maybe San Diego?) are more relaxed in terms of survival skills needed to get through any given day.

Shalini February 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm

That’s how I feel about New York as well. I never lived there, but my dad did for a few years, and I’ve visited it a lot. It feels like I know it a little bit and I really like it but…I wouldn’t want to live there. No. I just, I belong in Seattle. Nowhere else has ever fit me like here, even if it did take some getting used to. I get it.

Hope February 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I feel like my connection to Boston is so different now that I’m mostly driving. There really is something that feels more intuitive about moving around by foot and public transportation. When I walk places, I feel so much more connected.

So, yeah, I’m losing muscle memory in my own city. :p

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