NEVER SAY NEVER
It is important never to say never.
I was thinking about that as I was winding my way through
Manhattan, bringing some things in my car from the house upstate
to the new apartment we have just rented. It's a great place,
with a view out to Ellis Island and down on Trinity Church.
If you know anything about New York, you know we're moving
ground zero - or you may know that because you've read this
before. As I was attempting just how to get around all the
roads, I couldn't help but remember that once I said I would
in New York.
And here I was, driving in New York. The West Side Highway,
Houston, was closed today to everyone but police cars. Also,
other street - at least it seemed that way - is closed by
and guarded full time by police, who stopped me with a siren
started to drive down one street.
"Could you help me?" I asked the young policewoman.
"I am helping you by preventing you from driving into
the big hole in
front of you." I smiled. At the end of the block, the
street ended in
the hole that is the World Trade Center site. Now I don't
think I would
have actually driven into the hole but I smiled and was appreciative.
So she kindly directed me to drive the wrong way down a one
telling me what magic words to say to the officers in the
guarding that street.
It all reminded me that once I said I would never drive in
New York City
but here I was, driving in New York, wondering if I should
feel proud of
myself or if I was confirming to myself that there are moments
can be a damn fool.
When I was in college I pontificated that there was one thing
I knew I
would never do: I would never live in Los Angeles. I remembered
one morning when I woke up on my 30th birthday and realized
I had said
that and that I had now been living in Los Angeles for five
only had I been living in Los Angeles for five years, I was
fond of the place and vehemently defended the city when my
college trashed the place.
I am not sure that I never said I'd never live in New York.
have. It's one of those things I might have said. You see,
didn't like New York. On my first visit, a year after I graduated
college, it was 98 plus degrees everyday with a humidity to
a time I was suffering the flu and there was a garbage strike
So my first impressions of the city were not the best and
so, for a
number of years, I avoided New York.
Then business forced me to come and I slowly fell in love.
We had a
long courtship, New York and me. [Or is it I?] One day I was
down Third Avenue and realized that I had better have an attitude
readjustment or I was going to be miserable. If you work in
or television, you are almost sure to end up in New York on
basis. So I opened my eyes and began to let the place get
Then, one day, I remember coming into town in a car that
had picked me
up from a red eye into the city and, as dawn began to bleed
light across the city, realized that I hadn't been in New
York in six
weeks and that I was missing the place.
Then I began to commute between Los Angeles and New York
on an every
other week basis and had trouble knowing where I felt I "lived."
was asked to move here full time - and I was glad because
it forced a
decision on me. I was going to live in New York.
We were part of a small West Coast exodus of dot comers moved
coast to the other, all of us settling into the city at the
together still forming a small community. This weekend we
together in helping us move and in celebrating a milestone
another. We are also all linked to the city by the events
of 9/11. We
were here, we survived it, we suffered with the city and we
part of it and no matter where we go in the future, we will
here when here was ground zero of something so much larger
than any of
us or all of us combined.
I have been so lucky, I realize, to have lived in and loved
some of the
great cities in this country. Sitting at the dining room table
weekend, up in the country, looking out at the creek slowly
while watching the soft, powdery flakes of snow fall, I concentrated
my sense of good luck. Because, despite the many untoward
have happened in the last two years, including the dot com
laid off, feeling professionally unanchored for a time, I
extraordinarily lucky. Many of us are. The cocooning that
happening is, I believe, a reinforcement of our sense of luck
desire to burrow deeply into it, to feel and sense and taste
it. It may be the simple thing of watching one's significant
building a fire or as sweetly innocent as putting a kiss on
forehead but this time has been a time of savoring the great,
that surrounds us all.
One of the lessons I have learned is to never say never.
It is a curse
upon oneself. I never wanted to drive in New York and now
I must do it
on a regular basis - and, to tell you the truth, it doesn't
that much, to my great surprise. I said I would never live
Angeles but I did and I passionately love that city and New
though I once thought of it as the most distasteful spot on
hey, there was a garbage strike on!].
Right now, I don't want to move anywhere else, or even ever
I am not so stupid as to say never.