Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Me – a tourist ???
October 3, 2009, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Amerijones, Feelings, Identity


I lived in New York City for 17 years.  Very little phased me.  I might get a little star-effing boner seeing Billy Joel in a Starbucks or Courtney Cox in a Body Shop, but other than that…not so much.  Times Square hullabullo…Empire State Bldg views….spectacular 200-year-old churches…yawn, snooze, snore.

So I was really caught off guard when I got dropped off in midtown by friends after seeing a U2 concert in New Jersey, and I walked by 8th Avenue and 42nd street.  Someone had stolen my eyes and give me a set of tourist eyes in exchange!  I looked up at a stupid giant, electric billboard of CBS’ new fall schedule….and got misty-eyed!  (gag)  *Gasp!* Was “Accidentally on Purpose” with Jenna Elfman really a “New Show!” on Monday nights?  Somebody get me some tissue !!

OMG, was this really happening?  Did I become, of all things….

A Tourist ?

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth writing that.  But it’s true.  I was really grabbed by the wonder of Times Square and felt the urge to capture it with photos.  (Thankfully, I did not act on this.)  And I got to thinking: there is a simple truism about picture-taking and residency.  If you live in a place, there is no need to take pictures of it.  Eh, you’ll see it again tomorrow.  But if you don’t live in a city, that powerful urge (for me, at least) is there.

I know when I visited Israel for the first time last December, I took more than 700 pictures.  I filled up my large memory card and had to use two backup smaller ones.  Now if I visit Jerusalem from my home in TLV, I feel – Eh, no need to get a picture of this.  Conversely, I lived in NYC almost two decades.  A gorilla could have taken a dump on top of Gwyneth Paltrow’s head on the roof of a taxi, and I might barely have Tweeted about it.  But remove me from my NYC residency for a mere 7 months, and *sniff* I was reacting to Times Sq. like it was a fucking Hallmark card.

I allowed myself to feel gratitude for seeing the wonder of Times Sq.’s majesty, rather than beating myself up for my new Tourist’s DNA.  Then, thought threw this rule I described above.  Then, got a pint of ice cream and hopped the A train home.


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