Songza stories: Another lonely night in New York

I’ve never felt the desire to move to New York. It’s that city, the centre of the world. At least for writing, for journalism, for many creative things.

Maybe it’s because it’s in the States. Contrary to popular belief and the whole concept of the American dream the States doesn’t seem like that nice of a place to live. Life just seems hard and unnecessarily difficult for a lot of people. It’s like everything that drives me crazy about Canada but much worse and everyone has machine guns. At least here we have a decent social democracy. We still fail in many respects but I feel hope. Some days I feel more than others.

Maybe it’s that it’s out east. I’m from the west. Other than my time in DC I’ve never much cared to live there. My dad’s from the GTA and my sister is moving to Toronto. I headed west. Further west than Calgary. Eventually I might return there.

I headed West, I was a man on the move
New York had lied to me, I needed the truth

“Dead Sea” by the Lumineers

That song lyric comes to mind.

It is not what is playing. There is a mishmash of different music that seems appropriate for a night out strolling New York.

The east is humid and feels far away. I remember the image of Zooey Glass sweating through a fresh shirt. A New York summer seems like hell.

Toronto reminds me of New York. They’re both centres with large populations and older eastern architecture. Not the same but still I think you can call Toronto the New York of Canada. If not for the allure of the ocean and my not being offered a fellowship I may have ended up there.

I always wanted to move to the West Coast. I went to California first and was quickly smitten. I desperately wanted to move there. Then the Washington and Oregon coast. Then Portland. We always drove through Seattle on the way to other places.

Then Vancouver. The lovely and wonderful Vancouver. I remember strolling from our hotel on Davie to English Bay and falling head over heels. Love at first sight.

During our trips to UBC for a debate tournament in high school I imagined myself living there. It seemed like the perfect place.

By that I don’t mean that it has no problems, which it does. Vancouver has lots of problems. Some are unique. Many are shared with the rest of Canada’s cities.

By perfect I mean treelined streets, bike friendly(ish) and the ocean. Always the ocean. It has a pull that New York never did.

I want to go back to Vancouver but I also don’t. It seems like such a precarious place. There’s such a high price that will one day be paid for living in that beauty. There’s the earthquake thing. Nobody can agree on when it’s coming but rest assured it is and it will be nasty. Being my mother’s daughter and an anxious creature I can’t help but ask whether it’s worth the risk.

As sea levels rise with climate change, as they surely will, Vancouver will be swallowed bit by bit. At least parts of it. A marker sits just below Broadway and Ontario saying where the new coast line will potentially be. An artist’s reminder of what the future holds. I think it would be fun to paint blue lines around the city indicating the likely location of the new coast.

But who cares if everything will drown or shake and fall apart? It is such a beautiful place. So many other bad things are possible risks so why worry?

It’s easy to be in Canada. I get health care and they have to let me in. Visas are expensive and complicated. Leaving for Europe is tempting. They have good transit, better social systems and actual work life balance.

I wonder if it’s worth how complicated it will be. Why not go somewhere that is already the way I wish Canada could be? Is it worth staying and trying to help create incremental changes? I like this place and feel at ease here. It’s also frustrating and there are so many problems we are not solving. After our lost decade under Harper the economy is a mess.

We’ll see where I am in a year, or two, or five. It probably won’t be in New York.

As a side note I’ve been meaning to do more of these. July was busy and I let it go to the wayside. I want to set aside time to write and keep doing the creative stuff I enjoy while I’m in school. I hope Songza works in the UK otherwise I’ll be putting this project on the back burner for a while and screaming damn you Salazar at the heavens.

I also planned these to be fiction but it seems like I usually write my thoughts and rambling instead.


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