Hejira

 

green eyed again

August 13. 2000

some pictures from NYC this weekend:

posters in the Transit Museum

posters in the transit museum

*

defunct subway signs in the Transit Museum

defunct subway signs in the Transit Museum

*

an artistically blurry photo of John

an artistically blurry photo of John

*

an old bus at the Transit Museum, also artistically blurry

an old bus at the Transit Museum, also artistically blurry

*

Thanks to Kate for help with the javascripting.

It was cool and damp outside, but the subway stations were sweltering, retaining the heat from earlier in the week like a giant stone oven. The farther underground we went, the hotter it was. "I thought heat rises," I muttered to John while we were waiting for the express train to the upper east side. Of course it did, it just had nowhere to rise to.

I spotted her on the platform first. I have this bad habit of staring at strangers in public places, and not even realizing I'm doing it. She was talking animatedly with another girl next to her. I couldn't take my eyes off her. She just looked so polished. I'm sure you know the type, never a hair out of place, make-up perfectly applied and mantained, straight teeth, hip clothing.

I continued to stare at her once John and I got on the hot, crowded train. She caught my eye a couple times, and her smile and manner wavered momentarily when she did. I imagine she was wondering why this sweaty, disheveled girl was staring at her. I looked away then, embarassed that I had made my jealousy so nakedly obvious to her.

I looked at her, and I was jealous. Her clothes, her demeanor, her confidence was everything that I wanted to be. I knew it was silly to be jealous of this girl. I had glimpsed her on a subway platform for maybe 5 minutes, it made no more sense for me to be jealous of her than to be jealous of a model in a photo spread of a magazine. She was two dimensional to me. But something about this brief encounter stung, because she represented everything that I longed for deep deep down, but rarely admitted to.

She was the perfection that I always hated and decried, but secretly wanted to have. I always told myself, through my entire life, "So what if these girls are gorgeous and rich, you have the real gifts. You have talent and drive and determination, and I'll take that over what they have any day." I keep telling myself that. But sometimes those words, no matter how many times I say them, ring false. And this was one of those times.

I always knew, from the time I was really little, that I wanted to be an artist of some kind. And I also knew that, by choosing this career path, I was setting myself up for what would most likely be a life of financial difficulty. I mean, I could, by some stroke of luck or hard work, hit it big and not have to worry about money. But I try to stay realistic. I tell myself that I'll never be rich. And for a long time, I was okay with that. But now I'm just not sure.

I've been around wealthy people. And sometimes it's hard for me to not look at them and want to do anything in my power to get what they have. The lifestyle, the look, the toys, and the happiness that seemingly comes along with it. I don't know if that makes me a terrible, jealous person or not, but it's the way I feel right now.

I know this must sound pretty awful coming from someone like me who has grown up in a middle class suburban neighborhood, and has not experienced any measure of poverty in my young life. I am grateful for all the opportunities I've been given. I don't have any answers to why I feel this way. I guess it's human nature to want what we don't or can't have.