6.09.2008

Brooklyn Newsletter: Month Six

Dear Brooklyn,

It's hotter than hell right now in my bedroom. We got back from our monthly girls' dinner a few minutes ago; Sarah is packing things in the kitchen, Goldrick is attempting sleep, and I'm lying here with a large fan pointing at my face. Early June should never mean 97 degrees, at least not when you live at the longitude of New York. Today I walked down to the restaurant from work and could almost see a cloud of haze a few feet above me, which can only mean one thing: the ozone is falling.




I woke up one day a few weeks ago and realized that I had to get out of New York, had to plan a weekend away or else something bad might happen. Like I'd forget what grass looked like. And so I met an old high school friend in Central Park to commiserate (where there is lots of grass, just in case you were wondering!). He and I have been nomadic since our days at Yorktown High and we ended up talking about that traveling itch that never seems to subside, even if it's placated for a time. "But how can we end up happy while stationary?" I asked him. "What are we supposed to do, keep buying plane tickets." "Yep", he said smiling, "we keep buying plane tickets."

And so I did- I bought plane tickets to Budapest and Paris and home again for early next month and sometimes when I think about my upcoming trip, my heart beats faster as I imagine all the friends I'm going to see and laugh with and all the places I'm going to feel beauty towards. And that makes me think that I might not want to come home at the end; but I suppose that traveling, like love, is always worth it, even if afterwards you feel a bit crushed about it. Because at the end of the day, you still had an amazing time.




There are, of course, also many beautiful aspects of New York. I saw SATC with my best friends on Friday night and took advantage of the nice weather to wander around the village for a while alone. I ended up so lost that I couldn't find my way back to a subway and so, in the mood for a talk, I hailed a cab. The cabbie had lived in Europe but was originally from Africa (a common scenario for our cab drivers here) and we talked about the relaxing attitudes of the Italians and the French, the ways that they can appreciate life while it seems us Americans are working like dogs. But then again, we agreed, no one knows how to give you a fair shot like America. My cab driver arrived here five years ago and started working in the stock room at Duane Reed and finished as the manager of his own store; now he drives cabs at night for the money. It was so sweet to hear of someone's dreams coming true.



As for me and my American Dream, I can't say enough about the ways that software architecture has made me think about the way the world is built. I started reading a book the other day called The Design of Everyday Things and it reinforced the importance of building for functionality, of remaining close to the true needs of whomever is using your contraption (be it a teapot or a software application). There are good lessons in this, lessons about communication and being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes. Dare I suggest, lessons that language students know all too well?

But what if we extend the definition of design to not only relate to buildings and software programs, but also to our intentions for the future? If I am eventually my own consumer of the life I'm building, what kind of life must I build to be happy with its design? What do I need to plan for and when do I need to allow aesthetics to play a role? And who makes up the dream team of architects involved in building my life?

I don't have answers to that stuff, but it feels good to write it.



Love,
Jen

1 comment:

Suffragettes said...

Coucou

Non, non, tu ne m'avais pas dit que tu venais à Paris en juillet. A quelles dates ? Je serais ravie de boire un verre avec toi.
See u girl