Hard Times

14 Jul

I sit in Battery Park, with just $21 in my pocket. My shoes are wearing thin, I’m dripping with sweat after another fruitless day of job hunting, and there is a blister on my heel the size of a quarter. Even my indissoluble optimism is taking a hit today. I’ve resigned myself to bumming cigarettes off of bloated tycoons and wandering into everywhere and anywhere with a resume and a weak smile. Coming to America armed with just a British accent and the aforementioned sanguinity, I’ve found the American Dream to be shallow and undefined, and New York City to be harsh and unforgiving. But then again, it plays to your strengths, and responds to your weaknesses. New York is a pulsating, breathing organism, as if I am in the belly of a giant beast, trying to turn it over to my advantage without getting digested, chewed and spat out. But I’m not going home. And I’m not going to be spat out.

I quite quickly came to the conclusion that anything is possible in America, provided you’re willing to put in some time, and a hefty slab of elbow grease. It’s been four days since my Social Security was put through, and the job hunt started. I’ve already exhausted one pile of resumes, pored over several application forms and sent out reams of emails, with not even a whisper of a reply. It’s as if I’m baiting a trap, but the willow loop reeks too much of my human scent for anything to come close. I need to act, or at least seem, like one of them. But I’m happy. Aside from the languid response from the days of trudging for work, New York is vibrant and fascinating, an enigma that needs to be explored and dissected. It is an entire country in one; is a disparity of race, gender, wealth and age. You walk half a mile and everything is a different price, a different quality, a different type or even a different language.

And that’s the beauty of it. It’s a massive, multicultural, ever-changing globule of human history, emotion, culture and life sat on this tiny island, emanating and pulsating it’s own digested versions of everything that is pumped into it, combining and altering to make its own wonderful product. And that is what makes New York, New York.

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