YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
ON MY NEW SHINY MOVE TO BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Okay, so I’m some twenty something no one who’s moved to New York to feel like someone.
Yes, I’ve heard and felt all those cliches: “I’m in New York. I’m tough” (as I wake up at 11 AM and sluggishly sweat my way to the nearest cafe with weak, wiggly wi fi to weakly look for jobs that earn the rent money and pay for my Trader Joe’s dinners for one); “YOLO: IMMA BE someBODY.”
I’ve settled in east Bushwick (like, not yet gentrified Bushwick– like, the Bushwick with a gazillion gritty, grimy bodegas harboring mutant street cats and laundromats that are always unapproachably surrounded by loud, raunchy Puerto Rican grandpas gambling and cat calling and swagging as street bachelors… I haven’t done my laundry, my towels *smell*), only two long blocks from the nicely air conditioned L train. I used to live in Bellevue, Washington– have you seen Clueless? It’s sort of like that, except somehow, less diverse. Whites and white-washed asians. White n yellow white n yellow– with Coach and Louis V all over.
So Bushwick is a little different. For one, people actually greet you in the street, which was a welcome surprise. People are lounging on their stoops, people watching people watching you. Moffat is a nicely residential block– lined with treets and townhouses painted different colors, stairs turquoise_green_red_orange, cute little gates with sort of cute but mostly terrifying pitbulls… screen doors squealing open and shut. I was walking to that nicely air conditioned L train (“Laaaaadies and gentlemen, the *pause* EL train is currently arriving on the *pause*–”) when a momma tells a boy “Well, you don’t HAVE to be afraid of the dark!”–
And it struck me like lightening struck the courthouse clock tower; that FEAR is a CHOICE.
A few days before moving in I was all over crimewatch.com– bad idea. A shooting and stabbing on our corner, really? “At least it was a month ago,” I tell my roommate. She cowers. I cringe in mutual response in order to concrete our relationship. Yes, we will be going through this together. And it’ll be okay. The worst that could happen is death, and if I’m dead I won’t care.
This is an optimistic conclusion.
On my nervousness for ‘survival’ in New York: well, there’s not much I can do to worry about securing a job. It is how much I’d like to put into it. That, and chance. I’ve been on the other side of admissions and the hiring process, so I know how much of it *is* chance.
Which means, I don’t have to be afraid of the dark. After all, how productive can fearful worrying be?