New York Independence

Part I: Leaving Pittsburgh

Recently, there’s been this weird resonance I’ve been feeling, to visit these places and find answers to the feeling in my soul. New York City, Northampton, MA, Daytona, FL, San Diego, CA, Vancouver, BC, Montreal, Iceland, Cambodia, and Mongolia. So Pat gives me a call and I buy a ticket for New York to spend 4th of July weekend there. It’s the city of cities and an opportunity to learn and travel, plus get out of the unhealthy environment here in Pittsburgh. Also, New York University and Columbia are there for me to check out and get some info for grad school. The night before, I didn’t get any sleep,  so by the time I got on Megabus at 0700, I fell asleep and woke up at 1500 when I arrived.

Part II: Homeless is The New Hip

Pat was scheduled to arrive at 2200 on Friday, the next day after I arrived. I wasn’t particularly happy about a day alone there in NYC and no place to stay, so I took it as a learning experience and knew that this city is the place for me to fall in love with. The vibe, the people, the character, and so much art and culture, plus great public transport, and within ocean distance, what more could I ask for? I found out just why NYU and Columbia would be great places for me, but in all honesty, I’d be happier in UC San Diego because of the environment and focus, plus the price. Columbia is intimidating, in terms of its program and price, but it’s also something that would excite me to orgasm if I was accepted into their grad school program.

Amidst the excitement, I had to find my own ways of surviving. The food there is amazing, it’s not that food is expensive, it’s just damn good. I could eat two lamb gyros and a hot dog and feel like I haven’t had anything in two hours. Needless to say, I ate a lot in New York and loved it. Later on, I met up with Arlene, my old classmate from San Francisco, in Chinatown and had Vietnamese food. It’s amazing how New York can change people, and seeing how busy and focused she was, I realized I’m at the same level of intensity. I also discovered I walk faster than most New Yorkers, surprisingly enough.

Getting rest, I decided to stay awake and rely on caffeine. That plan didn’t work too well, so I napped on the purple line going back and fort for a few hours, slept in Grand Central Station on the floor with other travelers, and saw lots of backpackers sleeping on the random chairs in Times Square. More or less, I had sleep in half hour increments and shared the train coach with a lot of other people sleeping there.

Later on, waiting for Pat, I went to Starbucks and popped my head on the table to nap for 20 minutes, then took a double espresso shot to keep awake so that I could meet Pat in the evening.

Brooklyn Bridge

Times Square

Naked Cowgirl

NYC Subway

Subway Train

Columbia Library

Ground Zero

Part III: Projection and Juveniles

On my second night while still waiting for Pat to arrive, my friend from high school back in Manila Cheryl invited me over. I had a chance to appreciate her hospitality as she prepare  me some noodles and wine, gave me medicine for my allergies, and a chance to shower before she went to Meatpacking District with her friends. Amongst her friends, I met one of them who helped me strengthen my own resolve and beliefs due to her obnoxious attitude.

I’m just trying to get to know her and talked about my interests, which she then said rudely “You’re insecure. I can tell because you have to explain why you have fun, and if you have to, then you’re not comfortable with yourself.” Funny thing is, my definition of fun is different from other people, and part of defining it is explaining to someone who cannot fathom why one does or doesn’t enjoy certain activities; such as my love for parkour which other people see as silly jumping around and a waste of time. From that point, I could tell that she was projecting and imposing her own beliefs in a very obnoxious manner.

Personally, I don’t believe anyone who travels on adventure the way I do can be insecure, because it takes a lot of courage to go there and have no comfort zone. She doesn’t really know much life experience anyway, since she has no language skills or have any travel experience. Add to the fact she finished medical school, is planning on joining the Navy, and then go to law school, and I think it’s easy to determine who is actually insecure here, especially with that absolutist view she imposed.

Joel calls her one of those people who drinks the kool-aid, referring to fools who buy into so much crap out there and maintain such a parochial world view, they would drink the poisoned kool-aid handed to them in Jonestown, an old cult, believing they would all die and meet in heaven. I think a person with such a high level of self-importance and disrespect here is a very juvenile individual.

This is a good thing though, because although I get taken aback, it helps reinforce my own belief and also who is worth my time.

Part IV: From Giving The Finger to Offering a Handshake or Shrugging Your Shoulders

Pat proved himself to not be worth my time. Later on, her arrived and we crashed at his friend’s place in Queens. Saturday was spent walking around visiting Ground Zero, taking the train all over, and enjoying hot dogs and gyros. I visited United Nations too, but wasn’t allowed inside to snap pictures. We hit up the Nintendo World Store and I tortured myself at all the games and toys I wanted, especially to give as gifts. Later on, we went to Little Italy and had our talk.

After 13 years of friendship, it changes. Pat and I are just too different, he has his issues and I have mine. It ended after the pizza and walking around Koreatown, I got fed up with him not listening and interrupting me as I talk, dismissing anything I had to say as crap because he didn’t agree or care to hear a difference of opinion, nor did he have the openness to listen. I blew up at him, and he walked off, I exchanged a couple messages with him and realized he had abandoned me. I don’t hold any ill will, it was time to move on. Ironically, hours earlier, I had also stopped seeing ******** as a goddess. I stayed awake and walked all over town, had some White Castle burgers, then decided at the last moment to get the next Megabus line to Pittsburgh, which was leaving 45 minutes from the time I checked. It was either leave immediately or not sleep and shower, affecting my enjoyment of New York.

Part V: Another Day, Another Beautiful Day

At 0700, I said goodbye to New York furthering my independence and ability to make decisions without flip-flopping or getting advice. No relying on Pat or being around people who just can’t support me, especially when he’s the type of friend who says I’ll never be stable instead of actively encouraging me to seek stability. He’s a good guy, he’ll make his own way in life, and we’ve played our part in helping one another grow. Whether he actually does go to the Air Force or keep staying in his parents’ home, afraid to leave the country and comfort zone or not, it’s his life, and he didn’t listen to my advice anyway.

Sweaty, hungry, and tired, I got on the bus and felt like I was coming out a clean man with a new path ahead of me leading me to paradise. Grad school, writing, being around the right people, and knowing I’m working to move up in life, I have taken my first steps, which is more than can be said of other people who are established in their careers after drinking the kool-aid. A big step towards independence: acceptance, letting go, and not needing to worry about the approval of people who just don’t share the same world view and experiences.

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