I’ve been feeling rather homesick, partly because however much I miss London, moving back home is not an option. And, being a contrary person, generally I want what I can’t have.
With almost every long-term English friend now involved with bringing up their delightful children, my life would be utterly trammelled by the schedules of their multitudinous offspring. And, whilst I don’t want every activity out to be subordinated to the need to relieve the babysitter/husband/nanny, neither do I want to make new friends. I like the ones I have, thank you very much. So, until the disparity in the way we live our lives evens out, London is not going to work for me. Which could well mean forever given that the last time I met a man I really properly liked was at least two years ago.
New York is just so much more conducive to being single. Naturally a loner, (I blame boarding school – it left me with a perpetual need to be away from the pack), living in the centre of everything is less alienating for me. In London, working from home all day means doing so in a residential area, and dragging myself to the shops or a restaurant is either a fifteen minute walk minimum, or braving public transport. So, being extremely unmotivated, I never go out. When everything I need from grocery store to Urban Outfitters is within a couple of blocks there’s just no excuse here for holing up.
And, of course, you aren’t alone here. New York is full of single people, and even the ones in couples go out more. The concentrated nature of Manhattan means that leaving the house isn’t the performance that it is in London, (yellow taxis are a quarter of the price of a Black Cab), so you can be somewhere interesting in ten minutes from pretty much anywhere in this city.
Plus no one really entertains at home in Manhattan, so it’s considered perfectly normal to gather in restaurants here, which means the eternally single aren’t doomed to being the odd man out at laborious dinner parties with disgusting food and then having to drag their drunken bodies home alone half way across London in a twenty quid cab.
So. I’m going to start thinking about the very small things (moments of grace) that make my life more pleasurable over here, and maybe I’ll stop pining for dog walking & advanced ball throwing on Hampstead Heath & Primrose Hill, the Ladies Pond & Gospel Oak Lido, fairy cakes not cupcakes, proper Indian & Chinese takeaways, Daunt’s books in South End Green, Kingsland Road Vietnamese, driving a car, cycling on streets without potholes, Hot Cross Buns, real Cadbury’s Creme Eggs (not the Hershey’s imposters they flog here), very dry wit, my friends’ children, bicycling down the canal to Shoreditch from Camden, Sunday lunch, my lovely kitchen, and a proper London spring.
(BTW I blame lovely Belgian Waffling for enhancing the pining. Although I draw the line at missing the tube & Benjy’s coffee.)