I spent the night in the city last night. This is a very big deal for me.
I swore, when I crawled out of town in December of 1997 with my tail between my legs and all my belongings squeezed into a uHaul, that the City and I were through. We'd both seen better days, and it was time for both of us to move on.
God, as She so often has a way of doing, twisted things around so that in no time I was sleeping in New Jersey and working in Manhattan. That state of affairs continued for six years.
But, as I wrote here a few columns ago, I've recently realized that that the City and I aren't done with each other yet. So, when a friend invited me (along with some others) to dinner last night, I accepted, knowing full well that it meant spending a night on my college roommates sofa-bed.
There's nothing wrong with Richard's sofa-bed, except that it IS a sofa-bed, and at 58 I'm pretty much the poster boy for the "Princess and the Pea" syndrome of insomnia in the face of anything that's different. Also, Richard's apartment, as lovely as it is, has the teensy distinct disadvantage of being right at the intersection of 48th Street and Ninth Avenue. Ninth in the 40's is one of THE major approaches to the Lincoln Tunnel, and it's also the very heart of Hell's Kitchen.
The dinner was lovely, the company was deliciously Noo Yawkish (gossipy and sophisticated) and it reminded me of all the wonderful things I had given up when I schlumped out of town 9 years ago.
The party broke up around 10:15 and I trekked downtown the several blocks to Richards, arriving there at 10:30. We chatted for awhile, I cranked up the ceiling fan, and tried to fall asleep.
Wrong. Too much caffeine, way too late for my own good. It must've been midnight before I finally drifted off. Then, as caffeine will do, it rapidly worked it's way into the liquid disposal system and, at 4:30'ish a.m. (my usual self-induced wake-up time) my eyes flew open in response to my bladder's sudden need to empty itself.
Rats. I took care of business and tried to go back to sleep. No dice. By now the City that Never Sleeps was starting to rev up for another day of business. By 5:00 a.m. the garbage trucks were rolling. Limos were heading out of town towards the airports, coffee shops were starting their day shifts, deliveries were being made, bakeries were pouring out smells and the all-pervasive "din" of the city was getting louder as more and more people hit the streets on their way to play their parts in the days' performance of The Greatest City on Earth.
I'm sleepy as hell right now (4:15 p.m).
God, I miss this town.