Thursday, 13 April 2017

... an alien, I'm a legal alien


Serious frowning face.
No smile.
No greeting.
"Where are you from?"
- Italy
"When did you arrive?"
- about 40 minutes ago… on the plane that landed in this airport…
“How long do you plan to stay?”
- 5 days
“Are you planning to return to your country after that?”
- Yes
“So when are you leaving the United States?”
- Wednesday

Evidently whoever runs the New York tourist board is not really in touch with the border control at JFK.
Either agents in San Francisco and San Jose airports are just naturally more relaxed (blame it on the California sunshine) or the mood has changed dramatically in the States in the few months I was away.
The moment I left the airport, a part of me went back to the last question the agent asked me:
“So when are you leaving the United States?”
- How about now, since you’re asking it so kindly?
But that would have been a pity, because I would have missed out on the Wilco concerts and on kilometers walked all over New York.

Wilco were great but my amazement at crowds using gigs as a social event to chat about their last haircut or spending time on Facebook remains. New York will also go down in my personal history as the first place I went to a gig where people eat pop-corn as if they were at the movie.

As for New York, I walked a lot, spent a lot of time in Central Park and in museums. I wandered around library, yarn stores (oh the wonder!) and bookstores, tried to find a decent coffee and failed miserably. I thought I've become a bit better at adapting with coffee, but it looks I'm still my old grumpy and picky self.

New York is a beautiful and vibrant city but, as we say in Italy, "bella ma non ci vivrei", beautiful but I wouldn't like to live there. It's a basic, first reaction, one I've learned to trust in the past years: it's a wonderful place to visit and explore, but it's not a place that fills me with any other emotion that would make me move there. New York was perfect as a tourist, a visitor, an alien dropped there waiting to return to her mothership. I wouldn't fit and to my dismay I discovered that the New York accent grates on my nerves. It never occurred to me how irritating it is. Sure, I've heard it before, in movies and tv-shows, but they have a time limit that allows me to go back to more friendly pronunciations. Being immersed into it however is a whole different experience, one I wouldn't probably enjoy repeating on a daily basis.