I´d forgotten or never realized how tough and amazing New York is. On my previous visits to the city, I hadn´t travelled (or lived) as much as I have right now and, for some reason, didn´t grasp the nature of the city or the American spirit it embodies so damn well.
You can see how tough it really is by the way people use language – that´s a first, obvious clue. Never heard the F word so much (a word I´ve always used with creative and fierce freedom – such a rich word: it covers the best and the worst in human Existence). Exemple: I´ve started reading a Billy Cristal auto-briography. Do you want to know how the book starts? Do you REALLY want to know it? (It may provide nightmares for the rest of 2014 and the whole 2015). Here we go: he starts by mentioning the perils of getting old by describing how his balls (yes: testicles) are so loose he can make tea with them (think for a while…here we go…are you there yet? Not quite? Go on…balls/testicles & tea bags: got it?! Outch. I warned you )
I´m enjoying my reading and have nothing against balls or tea bags but this book opening is something you could never read in Europe (much less Egypt – my two worlds united in a kind of delicate – or puritan? – manner of using language and life´s events). Not even in the conservative versus outrageous England you would read something so exposed, over the top, vulnerable and easy going towards humanity and its weaknesses and dark spots.
New York doesn´t lose time (the gigantic buildings fulf of hyper productive people remind you so): it´s a CAN DO spirit that cuts the crap, the accessory, the fragile (no time or conditions for fragility, honey!) and any remains of bullshit. You know what else? I LOVE IT. Still think there must be some kind of balance between so much boldness, raw, straight in the face kind of living and a subtler, more delicate and sensitive way of life but I can identify with the DARING, directly to the F…………….G point vibe this city exhales.
As if the city wasn´t enough, I had to see (one more time) Chicago Musical on Broadway. One of my top 3 favourite musicals (I am a sucker for Musicals! That´s who I am at my core). The roaring 20s in Chicago (where I will be teaching, lecturing and performing within ten days), the music and lyrics openly talking about life´s ironies and the savage – survival of the fittest rule – world we´ve created with such humour and compassion. Man – I love it! Roxie Hart is a killer who becomes a super star – well done, kid! This is it. The place we live in – murderers becomes presidents; victims are considered criminals; prostitutes are treated like high society ladies and assholes (sorry for the language: I´m sinking into NY state of mind) are celebrated as heroes, As the main characters say in the end of the musical: “And that´s good; isn´t it grand, isn´t it great; isn´t it swell; isn´t it fun, isn´t it, nowadays? In fifty years or so..it´s gonna change, you know? But now it´s heaven…NOWADAYS!”
As my dear host – Morocco – so brilliantly said: New York feels like being slapped with two fish on both of your cheeks. Got it, Rocky, got it.