New York City always amazes me. It’s wild and noisy and fast and beautiful and no matter how often I visit-it always takes me a long time to settle into its rhythms.
I’ve never just gone to NYC to, well, go there. It’s always business, and sometimes a little bit of pleasure, and because I am not a normal human being, but a writer, I always think things through kind of a fourth eye. The third eye is always confused – believe me.
I often want to take all of the hurried people I see and just grab them and kiss them. So many people going so fast, to so many places, with so many things sticking in their ears. I smile at some of them, quickly invent their lives, and then think about how so many of them must live alone in efficency apartments because a cup of coffee costs more than what I eat in two days.
I know I am often wrong about those assumptions but sometimes I’m half-right and half-wrong. Here’s the proof.
Flying back to Florida I am reading the NY Times-The Greatest Paper in the World-and see a story that makes me weep. It was an obit for a woman who was 92 and died when a stray bullet shattered her living room window and killed her. The other part of Sylvia Butler’s story is how she was left alone in 1969, the day before Thanksgiving, and with four children had no idea how she would even feed them.
Then neighbors showed up with food and her moment of sadness in New York City turned into a life of giving back, helping others, lending a hand. She was much loved and maybe even kissed by strangers from Florida who saw her on the sidewalk.
A city is a city. I know this. And I know the gentle kindness of strangers and the way of the world and that it’s okay to smile and nod your head when you see someone you know, just by looking, really needs just that.