5.06.2009

random notes from new jersey

I'm having a lovely visit, full of family and friends. There's a lot of sadness, too. The fathers of both my sister-in-law and brother-in-law are very ill. It's clearly a generational thing. So many of my peers are coping with aging parents, some of them critically ill.

In this respect, it's hard to be long-distance. I try to be supportive but I wish I could do more.

There's also sadness because of the massive economic depression going on in the US. New York City, as usual, is somewhat sheltered from the horrors wracking the rest of the country. Even so, up and down Broadway there are dozens of empty storefronts.

Everyone asks me if Canada's economy is as bad as the US's. I tell them it's hurting, but nowhere near as dreadfully. Canada's banking industry was more regulated - people seem to be aware of that - and in Canada, if you lose your job, you still have health care. Big difference.

Many people asked if I had seen that the Yankees cut ticket prices for their exorbitantly priced luxury seating. This is huge news in New York, but I'm glad people still think of me when they see that story.

* * * *

I'm reminded how the biggest stories in Canada don't filter down to the US, even among the reasonably well informed. When we first moved to Canada, the softwood lumber debate was huge news. No one in the US knew it existed.

In similar fashion, none of my friends have heard of Omar Khadr. They are all horrified that Harper won't repatriate him - especially since the US is hot to get rid of their Guantanamo albatross, and all Canada has to do is ask. My friend AW1L said, This must be quite an embarrassment to Canada. Yes indeed.

* * * *

AW1L is a raving Obamaniac. He was one of the millions of USians who worked hard on Obama's campaign, especially on election day. He braved the frigid weather on January 20, waiting before dawn among the throng. He showed me a few beautiful pictures - especially of Obama greeting African-American children. Very intense. It sounded like an incredible experience.

Two things Alan With One L mentioned that we might not have completely gotten from TV: the incredibly loud boo'ing when the outgoing Resident's name was mentioned, and the cheering every time helicopters flew overhead. It might have been him, leaving Washington!

AW1L, like me, has been thoroughly disgusted the Democrats and their godawful, bungled-beyond-belief campaigns. He had all but given up on the party - until Obama. He's still bouncing off the walls with hope and joy.

I told AW1L and F (who is African-American) that, because I have a distance from the US now, and don't closely follow US news, I still have shocks of amazement - near disbelief - when I see Obama in the Oval Office, or when I hear "Hail To The Chief," and he comes striding in. I think, holy shit, the President of the United States is a black man!! How friggin amazing is that!

And AW1L said, I feel that way all the time. I have no distance from it, and I feel that way constantly. I thought that was cool.

* * * *

We were talking about movies, and Netflix, and I ended up telling AW1L and F about my many issues with Zip. They couldn't believe that an internet movie service could get away with sending movies not in priority order.

AW1L said, "They'd never get away with that in the US! Canadians are too polite to complain, or else there isn't enough competition." Or both. When I was complaining publicly about Zip, Idealistic Pragmatist thought it was no coindence that both she and I complained, and are both originally from the US.

* * * *

My mother and I went to the Newark Museum today, my first time there. I was amazed to learn that the Museum is 100 years old. Among other things there, we saw this bizarre and inventive exhibit. Warning: do not click if you are insect phobic! However, if you enjoy the insect world, you might want to check out the short podcast.

I'd like to explore Newark's Ironbound neighbourhood, famed for its Portuguese restaurants and shops, but that would be something to do with Allan, not my mother. It was one of those New York-area outings we never got to. But let it not be said that New Jersey is a cultural wasteland.

* * * *

Whenever I'm in New York City, I am instantly a New Yorker again. I slip right into the stream, and feel completely at home. But I don't feel American. Somehow, I feel I am a New Yorker, and I am Canadian. I think that's the first time I've written that!

Tonight my sister and I have a girls' night out, and tomorrow I fly back to Buffalo.

14 comments:

impudent strumpet said...

Thank you :)

Amy said...

It sounds like you are having a good trip, although with moments of sadness. Meanwhile, game threads are not the same without you! Come back soon!

BTW, just heard that you and I were right to think there was something wrong with Jerry Remy. Orsillo just said that he is recovering from cancer.... More sad news.

John F said...

Two things Alan With One L mentioned that we might not have completely gotten from TV: the incredibly loud boo'ing when the outgoing Resident's name was mentioned, and the cheering every time helicopters flew overhead.I watched the MSNBC coverage of the inauguration. I remember that their microphone picked up a large group of people serenading Bush's image on the outdoor screens with the "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye" song. I smiled for a long time when I heard that.

L-girl said...

Imp Strump, you're welcome. :)

Amy, yes, I saw Allan's post. It wasn't only that I thought something was wrong. I strongly suspected - or "knew", so to speak - he had lung cancer. It was pretty obvious to me.

My dear brother-in-law - who I have known since I am 15, although he has only been my BIL for 7 years or so - is losing his father to cancer now. It's really tough.

JohnF, the whole thing sounded pretty incredible. My mother told me every African American she knows - her doorman, her librarian, the bagel guy - went to DC for the party.

L-girl said...

Oh Amy, thank you re game threads. :)

Jere said...

"that we might not have completely gotten from TV: the incredibly loud boo'ing when the outgoing Resident's name was mentioned, and the cheering every time helicopters flew overhead. It might have been him, leaving Washington!"

I tried commenting about that here when it happened--see John's thing about Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye, I mentioned that too. The comment didn't appear. I had assumed you banned it because either it was on a post that had nothing to do with it, or because you weren't accepting any comments about the inauguration. But maybe it just didn't go through. Or I accidentally put it on We Move to Belgium by mistake or something.

Adam said...

We had Netflix when we lived in the States and now have Zip in T.O. And, YEAH, what is with ignoring the customer managed disk order? Especially when they say they have something in stock ready to ship? We weren't impressed.

Mara Clarke said...

"I am Candadian and I am a New Yorker". I have felt like that for several years now - I am a Londoner and a New Yorker. This despite not being *from* NYC. I think if you give yourself to NYC, it becomes part of the central nervous system.

L-girl said...

Jere, I've never rejected a comment of yours. Don't know what happened to that one. I also wasn't implying AW1L's info was the first I heard of the booing. Just a tidbit I was passing along.

Adam, Zip doesn't even *claim* to ship in priority order! For me Zip is the best of my options here, but it ain't no Netflix.

Mara, I'm not originally from NYC either. Neither is Allan. But we are both New Yorkers. It just is. Thanks for sharing that - I'm glad you feel the same way.

I'm also a bit envious because I've always wanted to be a Londoner too. I still harbour a dream of living there one day, although it seems increasingly unlikely to happen. Still, it lives.

richard said...

Whenever I'm in New York City, I am instantly a New Yorker again. I slip right into the stream, and feel completely at home.There's something about cities and the people who love them. I've lived out of Montreal for 2/3 of my adult life and yet I feel instantly at home whenever I'm there (about once a year). The traffic, the people, the streets, the landmarks, the language, it all feels perfectly natural, as if I had never left.

John F said...

L-Girl, with regard to what you said about African Americans going to DC: Obama's election was significant to me as a white Canadian who has never experienced racism. I can't begin to imagine what African Americans felt about that day!

I remember Bill Cosby talking about election day in November. He brought with him to the poll pictures of his parents and other relatives who hadn't lived to see the day. He set the pictures up in the voting booth, looked at them, and said, "Now we're all going to vote."

Amy said...

I had not heard about that Cosby story. Wow.

When one of my co-workers who is African-American told me what voting for Obama had meant for her and especially for her 18 year old son who was voting his very first time, I just was so moved. She and I stood there with tears running down our faces. It was the most personal moment we had exchanged in 24 years of working in the same place. I figure that there must be many white people who had similar conversation with African-Americans that also brought them emotionally closer than they had ever been. At least I hope so.

L-girl said...

Very cool re Cosby. Very moving.

Most people here have probably heard me say this already, but Obama's election was the first event that made me wish my father had been alive to see it.

L-girl said...

"There's something about cities and the people who love them. I've lived out of Montreal for 2/3 of my adult life and yet I feel instantly at home whenever I'm there (about once a year). The traffic, the people, the streets, the landmarks, the language, it all feels perfectly natural, as if I had never left."

Ah, wonderful. I can so relate.