Sunday 14 June 2015

Little Victories #2 - NYC Diaries

Ever since I started writing, I've come to realise that I collect moments and memories and hoard them like possessions. 

Whether this be in long hand-written essays in notebooks, or through that shirt that I just can't bare to get rid of even though I haven't worn it since, it's somewhat a blessing and a curse to be so passionately involved with documenting every sentiment as a human.

But I can't imagine a world in which I would ever not love every moment of doing it.

And among all those fantastical adventures I spent a vast majority of my teenage life scrawling in journals, and then my twenties rapidly tapping on keys, there are also those chance circumstances - minute moments of such fleeting perfection that are so innocuous and noninvasive, they could have just as easily gone unnoticed. 

Last November I made a vow to consciously tune my attention to these moments, and gave them the term 'Little Victories' in a piece which can be found here. 

Fast Forward 8 months, and now that I live in New York City these moments are waiting to be found everywhere. 

And as I mentioned in my last post, in the fascinating way this city has the ability to often make you feel so lost, so small, so irrelevant, I've decided I need to keep myself aware of these Little Victories to keep myself present in every moment I am here, and grateful for all that I get to experience. 

So this is my first documentation of Little Victories NYC.

- O N E -

Mid-way through the bizarre and nonsensical performance of the theatre boat, I'm sent on a very drunken errand to retrieve more beer from our boat, and as I run through the darkness down the track between the old grain terminal and the harbour, the near-tropical wind wooshes through my hair and across my cheeks, and I spin around mid-step to see the towering silhouettes of the Manhattan skyline and suddenly throw my hands in the air in a very drunken fashion as the sudden present-tense realisation of where I am in life washes over me like the balmy New York night.

- T W O -

 One eve we're all sat on the top deck watching the sunset, and a huge truck full of gear and hassled-looking folk dressed all in black with headsets and walkie-talkies pulls up on the pier between our boat and the huge rusted 'Lou-Jaine'. They start setting up marquees and cameras, and after some investigation, our captain discovers they're shooting a commercial for a sportswear brand on the Lou-Jaine. We head over and introduce ourselves, and I even get to help carry some of their gear up into the boat. Later that evening we make friends with them and let them come chill aboard our boat on their breaks, and they repay us with a whole platter of sandwiches from their buffet cart.

- T H R E E -

I'm gazing out to sea and a movement catches my eye on the shore, only to see this wandering goat trotting around the harbour. Turns out we have goats living in their own little house on site and they'd escaped. I manage to approach one and give it an apple before it was lead back to it's little home again.

- F O U R -

My cabinmate Chloe and I are both heading off out into the city to celebrate our first Friday night, and we jump on the bus to the subway station only to find it doesn't accept bills, only coins. The bus has already departed and we're panic-stricken but the driver hears our accents and decides to kindly let us off and have a free ride. Later we thank him and get off at our stop which is on a notoriously difficult junction to cross. We're each still holding our giant American-size soda takeout cups we'd had to stop and get on the way as the heat was unbearable, and seizing the opportunity of a brief lull in traffic, we sprint across the road to an absolute cacophony of car horns that honk at us, and we reach the other side unscathed and falling about in breathless laughter. 

- F I V E -

On my first day in the city, I manage to see what to me, were three perfect and unintentional art pieces. The first, in Times Square, an off-duty moving statue performer sat outside a coffee place debating passionately with a friend, a bronze-painted arm gesticulating wildly to emphasise his opinions. The second, in the New York Public Library, a homeless man inside one of the phone booths, receiver held up to his ear, pretending to be on the phone whilst he actually sleeps. And the third, on the way home after a long day, walking down the staircase at Smith 9th Street subway station, a very irate looking woman jumping down the stairs as quick as possible, with two laughing children with thick curly hair fastened into little plaits secured with colourful plastic bobbles, under either of her arms.

- S I X -

A friend of a friend I'd met a couple of times lives in Manhattan, and invites me out to a gig with a few of his pals to show me around the city. It turns out he's a Wall Street banker and we head to one of his work colleagues' apartment for predrinks. We head into the heart of Williamsburg in Brooklyn and they invite us up to the roof for beers. That was the view. 

- S E V E N -

Later that evening, we head down to the gig, and suddenly I look up and Michael Cera is onstage performing. Amazing.

- E I G H T -

Lastly, just as I am writing this at this very moment, I look up briefly and notice that Chloe has shifted in the top bunk, and her hand has dropped down the side of the bed and is just hanging above me. At first I'm startled with alarm but then I suddenly realise how mysterious and beautiful, creepy yet fascinating it looks, and I jump to catch a photo in the few seconds before she moves. I'm struck with an overwhelming want to paint what I've just seen, and wonder if it's a bit weird that my cabinmate's hand just became one of my Little Victories. 

And there we have it. To another week of Little Victories in this mad, mad town.