Friday, February 15, 2008

About when you go to New York City

When you go to New York City, maybe you become someone that usually you're not. Maybe you're better looking, or cooler, or smarter, or even younger.
Maybe, when you go to New York City, you decide to change your name, because when your name is "Cathy," everyone knows you are a middle-aged woman born in the '50s, or so. And that's okay, but maybe you just feel like being someone different. Or maybe I mean better, or maybe, more interesting.
So maybe, before you go to New York City, you decide that your new nickname will be "Kit," because that seems maybe cooler and hipper and, you know, sophisticated.
And maybe your family thinks this is a hoot when you tell your plan, and your son says, "Mom, it's just really lame to give yourself a nickname."
Lame exercise, or master of one's destiny?
So maybe you really do begin feeling a little more Kit-ish as your plane swings around and you see the city below, and the lights are the universe and it's a place maybe you could be a Kit in.
And you climb in a cab and say, "Times Square" and there you go past landmark after landmark and oh my gosh, you're on CENTRAL PARK WEST, it's a real place and not just a set on Sex In the City. (And also, OH MY GOSH, the cab almost hit that lady crossing the street.)
And just seeing that sign by the park makes you feel thinner and younger and better-dressed and thinking that a friend named "Kit" might have fit in with the Sex In the City girls.
And then we're driving down Broadway and it's all bright lights, big city, and even though the frigid weather has traveled, too, from Fort Wayne to NYC, the streets are full of people going somewhere and everywhere, and here you are with them -- me, "Kit" -- and wherever the city's energy comes from, suddenly, you've got it too. And even though you've been traveling all. day. long. you want to change clothes and go somewhere fun and have a drink and be witty and laugh and feel very ... not Cathy-ish. Carrie-ish.
When you are in NYC, it's easy to forget you're a Hoosier/Buckeye kind of girl, and pretend for a day or three that you're at home in Manhattan. And as you're walking down Broadway, you are at home, because in your black coat and slacks and with a scarf around your face, you blend in with every other frigid pedestrian.
And for three days, as you go to conference seminars and run around the hotel and go out for dinner in very cool places and look out at Times Square from your hotel room, it's easy to be Kit. It's easy to be anyone you want to be, somehow.
Back on the plane, flying home from LaGuardia, do you feel Kit slipping away from you, and Cathy sneaking in again?

Nah--we're all me. I'm pretty well integrated, and comfortable in my skin. Call me what you will, I'll always be (mostly) Cathy. And really, those Sex In the City girls live about as alien a lifestyle from me as if they were from another planet. It's fun to play, though--kind of like playing dress-up when you're little.
How about you? What's your new label?

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