The last time I was here: two years ago, almost to the day. A good friend and I meet for a drink this time, late in the evening, at the bar of the same hotel we stayed in then. I am, as always, delighted by the circular. Still there seems suddenly to be a strange disconnect between my life in Oxford and my being here. I feel in-between. This is not a place I've ever called home (Boston or California, say), but not a place completely new to me, either. I am in my own country, but things that used to seem prosaic now delight me (lemon flavored iced tea, Smartfood, Banana Republic).
We go to Times Square to feel small, at the mercy of flashing lights and a crowd with no beginning and no end, no direction, no understanding of time or place. The wide boulevards of the Upper West Side seem like temporary home. We all go to the Met, we all enter the same museum, but when we leave it's like we went to six different places and talk past each other. My Met was in black and white, all modern, all about the people, not the art. The Man's, I think, was Renaissance and photography. Maybe this is a metaphor for the city, but I don't know yet.
In the hotel room which is hot and small and comfortable I am typing on a computer that is not mine thinking that sleep is what I crave, because by the rhythms of my body clock it is darkest morning. I sleep well here, and heavy. My dreams are infused by the sense of this city and the memory of other places. Sometimes I think that my dreams, and not my thoughts, are the perfect manifestation of a home-like feeling, but when I wake up I can never recapture it in any terms but the most abstract.