Playing House

A funny thing happened to me.  I woke up this morning and I was in New York City.

This has happened to me many times before — but this time, we’re staying for several months.  I feel as if my husband and I have run away from our old lives and are playing house in a new world.

We woke up Monday morning in a house I love, but a place that was feeling less and less like ours.  I sat in the backyard, crabby and disoriented because I hadn’t slept well in days, feeling the implacable heat begin to set in.  Our new tenant, who’s a professor from Tel Aviv, arrived and we showed her around our house.  As we walked around, pointing out the eccentricities of our house, I could see her, her husband and two children living there.  I’d thought that it would bother me, but it didn’t.  It felt fine.

We’re only the third owners of this house.  A few years ago, I met a woman who’s a friend of the (now grown, in fact now middleaged) daughter who grew up here.  I told her I had always sensed it was a happy house, and she smiled broadly, telling me what fun they had had here, how much they had laughed.  So sue me for being sentimental and new age-y, but I’ve always sensed the echoes of those good times and of ours.

But that was yesterday.  Today, we woke up in the middle of this teeming, fast-paced, vibrant city, looking out our second-floor window to a whole new world.  Stores, bars, restaurants, people lingering, people pushing, a young woman plopped in the middle of the sidewalk, grooming her dog’s tail, yellow taxis flying past.

I would tell you we’d already been to a dozen museums and galleries already, that we’d dived deep into life here.  Unfortunately, that isn’t true.  We’re waiting for our boxes to get here, scared to death we’ll miss the arrival of our worldly possessions.  My husband has already checked to make sure the buzzer works, and I can tell he’s not going to be normal until he gets his new super-duper computer hooked up and starts on his book.

In fact, he’s the one who’s testy, who isn’t sleeping as well now.  After weeks of hysteria, neuroticism, tears and nighttime pacing, I slept like an infant last night — and feel calm and content and amused at his nervousness.  Somehow, it just seems fair.

(Copyright 2009 by Ruth Pennebaker)

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10 comments… add one
  • Glad to know you arrived OK… keep us posted!

  • Lovely. I look forward to following your adventures in the Big City.

  • ruth, can’t wait to see you . we are there in oct and nov. will be mostly westside people. find out everything we need to know before we come oct 1. much love, pamela

  • Craig Link

    I understand you took the heat with you to NY

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    What do you mean, heat, Craig?  It’s only in the 90s.

  • I was just in NY. What an exciting city. I envy you having such a nice long time to really savour it. I’m eager to hear more about your adventures there.

  • cousin Per Link

    Wow, Ruth! You are my heroes! Good luck and enjoy yourselves.

  • How absolutely fabulous that you will be there for an extended stay! I can’t wait to read about it.

    I’ve missed being here. Caught up in life and starting a new business.

    Please do say that you will let me know when you come out to L.A. again? The kids will be in school longer this year, so my time is easier to manage.

  • I’m jealous, jealous, jealous! Please write lots and often about your adventures with those foreigners, er, New Yorkers.

  • Mark Guinan Link

    Ruth, Great to hear that you and James are in NY. My wife and I live a few hours away in the Upstate village of Alfred where I am the Director of Human Reosurces for Alfred University. If you are going to be in the city for awhile we should try to get together. My daughter works as a costume designer and is planning to move either to Brooklyn or Queens to be close to the work, so we will probably be in town several times in the near future getting her settled, etc.

    Write if you have time, if not then enjoy the city and your time there.

    Mark Guinan-

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