Sitting on a Rock, Over-thinking Boys.

April 2nd, 2015: Harlem, Central Park North

Yesterday’s first day in the city was entirely uneventful – I ventured a whole 700 feet from the apartment. Today, it’s time to take in the city.  Once I finally get going in the morning early afternoon, I research how to get from New York to Tennessee, Florida, and back to LA.  Right now, there’s no return ticket or date, I’m just aiming for early May.  After browsing Kayak for an hour, devising a handful of travel scenarios in pursuit of the optimal route/mode of transportation…I’m stuck. Do I do New York/DC/Tennessee/Los Angeles? NY/TN/FL/Los Angeles?  NY/DC/FL/LA? Flights, trains, rental cars and/or busses, and in which order? Do I prioritize speed, cost, both?

Generally indecisive, frugal and paralyzingly analytical at times, buying a plane ticket can be a real battle of will, and apparently today it’s a battle I’m not ready to fight.  So the trip remains open-ended while ticket prices (presumably) creep upwards and I resolve to (probably) take care of this tomorrow.

For now, I hurry out of the apartment before I kill any more time devising an 8th, 9th or 10th travel scenario when I could be outside enjoying the city.  Aaron and Caty live 10 blocks from the northern edge of Central Park (110th street) – about a 10-15 minute walk, so I stroll south on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, right past Double Dutch, and head to Amaretto Espresso.  As we’ve discussed, Double Dutch is incredibly crush-worthy, but I don’t want to commit too quickly.  It’s only my 2nd full day in the city, let’s play the field a little.

$9 later, latte and coconut-cream danish in hand (sadly, not as mind-blowing as it sounds), I’m feeling like a “real” New Yorker, or more accurately, like a “real” New York tourist.  Amaretto was cute enough, but more of a one-latte-stand, it turns out.

Amaretto Espresso, five short blocks from Central Park. Photo: Bespoke Harlem
Arriving at Central Park, I perch on some boulders overlooking the 110th street playground, and the running/biking loop, enjoying the 70-something degree weather, and FaceTime my friend Josh, who first taught me the term Funemployed and has been a source of general life inspiration since we met in 2002.  Josh is one of those people you’d want as a lifelong friend – a guy who lives every day hoping to learn and improve and encourage others along the way.  Back in high school we were voted Most Optimistic by the Senior Class, but I have ALWAYS hoped his optimism would rub off on me. 🙂

On my rock, via FaceTime, Josh shares his latest business venture ideas, we brainstorm ideas, and then, when he asks me about the trip, I can’t help but tell him in painstaking detail about my latest guy anxieties. I’m not sure why this is at the forefront of my mind since I’m embarking on a pretty cool adventure for the moment, but I keep thinking about this guy’s storyline, which was basically “oh hey, you’re cute, let’s be friends and go from there…” and turned into, “Did I unknowingly become your mortal enemy?”

Josh, I bemoan, I thought things were going well, and then they got weird, and I just don’t GET IT.  I should be enjoying this time, but my head’s stuck 2,500 miles away.

I can’t remember all he said in the moment, taking the time to console me as if this were an existential crisis and not just, fairly normal stuff, but I know it was wise, hopeful, comforting, and challenged me to think differently.  That’s just the language Josh speaks.  I just followed up with Josh to see what he actually said.  Basically – Girl, you are in NEW YORK.  If he isn’t into you or the timing isn’t there, too bad for him.  

(I don’t like to admit that I still have “why doesn’t he like me??” conversations with my friends but sometimes we just need them to just BEAT the worries out of us with their encouragement.  I am really starting to think friends are God’s gift to man to keep us from going entirely bat-sh*t crazy.)

My phone dies, so the call ends a few minutes prematurely and I’m left sitting on the rock thinking.  I know the current guy worries are one more thing I should probably “let go” but that’s so much easier said than done.  Since I’ve arrived in New York, when I let my mind wander I start revisiting every conversation, text, look, gesture, HOPING to find clues about what happened, what I did “wrong”.
Have you been there?  You figure if you JUST keep ruminating on a problem, you’ll magically figure everything out, and all will be well and you’ll stop feeling so crazy? But in actuality, all this thinking has gotten me… nowhere. And now I’m sitting in Central Park over thinking text messages looking for clues?!? I just can’t.  I have questions that don’t have answers at the moment, and maybe they won’t be answered.  But I don’t want to shortchange the present with these worries, so I try to set the questions and analysis aside for the moment, and take up with what’s happening right now. 
Last sips of coffee. Bites of a pastry.  Sun on this rock.  Bikers, runners, walkers.  Kids playing on the playground below. Taxis and buses driving the perimeter of the park.  All of it a welcome change of scenery for now.  



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