Culture Shock

Recently (i.e. for Thanksgiving), the bf came to visit me in New York.  This was a big moment.  It was the first time we saw each other in 85 days, which would have been enough.  But it was also the first time he saw New York from the street level view, not the tourist bus view.  The first time he met my family, and believe me I was far more nervous about what he would think of them than what they would think of him.

We indulge in a lot of future talk, he and I.  We always have, I think in large part because our present is not very interesting, or doesn’t feel very different from being single.  But the thing about our future talk is that it’s all speculation, castles in the air.  Even though we like the idea of projecting into the future, we don’t have any specific answers for the thousands of questions.  So when he said he wanted to live in New York, I was a bit concerned, because he cooked up this cracked out version of New York in which there was a Halal stand outside my house and he would make friends with both the Halal guy and the homeless guy who sat near it, and we would live in a totally spacious apartment in the middle of Manhattan.

I think he was kidding.  Sometimes it’s very hard to tell.

Nevertheless, I really wanted to show him New York as it really is.  This city is not for everyone.  I didn’t always understand this.  When I went to college I assumed people would think it was pretty cool that I was from New York City, but most of them were either disgusted (“New York is so dirty”) or ignorant (“You don’t even know what a tree looks like!”).  I’m very proud to be a New Yawka, but I didn’t know if he would love the city when he saw it beyond Midtown.  I love my family, but they are their own special breed of eclectic.  I wanted my New York to embrace him, but I also wanted him to embrace my New York.

How did it go?  A good question.  We haven’t talked about it too much–sometimes it can be hard to get him to expand on a subject.  I’m used to my best friend, who I can discuss things in minutia with.  So I have to go more on empirical observations here.

He was in awe of New York still.  When we went to the Radio City show we walked down 6th Avenue, and I had to guide him by the hand because he was gawping.  When we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, he snapped pictures the whole way.  But he wasn’t totally tourist driven.  We took an afternoon and walked around Queens, strolled Forest Hills and Metropolitan Avenue.  We stopped at Eddie’s sweet shop.  We ordered Chinese food and he was inordinately pleased that the takeout came in the paper cartons with the pagodas on them.  I was a bit worried he had a quixotic view of New York, but no…I think he just likes it a whole lot.

As my family likes him.  My mom said to me on Thanksgiving “It feels like he’s always been around!”  And I have to say, I agree.  When I was getting the coffee and tea for dessert and washing dishes, he was in the dining room chatting it up happily with everyone.  Even earlier, when we walked in the door and my father seemed to think that the lack of ice at the supermarket was a Shakespearean tragedy, he took it in stride and went with my sister and her fiance to get some at the deli.  We went out for drinks with my friends, and they were finishing each other’s sentences.  My friend Lisa actually got the “Clever girl” punchline that is behind his theory on why you should name a girl child Velociraptor before he even said it.

In short, from outside observation it went scarily well.   I wonder at this relationship sometimes, because it’s like my mom said.  He seems to have always been around.  And so, I suppose the only logical conclusion is that there’s a place here in Queens, waiting for him.

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