I can see the Empire State Building from where I am eating lunch, through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. So much fantasized glamour so close, but so far still. For another day, Manhattan.
Right now I am entirely alone in the world, in no place where I am intended to be for stay or where I know anyone. Oddly, I feel calm and not very nervous or excited, but a little overcome by the weight of bags and having to keep track of everything. Do I have my passport at all moments? I imagine this will only get worse as the trip progresses, but I should have known that this duffel was the wrong idea.
Gorgeous Italian man walked by. He needn’t be Italian, but Italy is where I imagine all creamy bronze Gods originate because Vogue tells me with sunglasses ads. He cannot be American, because American men are not beautiful in such a manner, the way of carrying your wife or girlfriend’s purse and you look windblown but in circumstances that dressed you in leather oxfords and a sharp sweater and Prada. I literally gawked at him, as I have never done before. The very image of a drooler. Mouth agap, head turning in time to his steps.
I also saw a man and his daughter texting on their phones, completely stationary in the exact same position, hip, hand and all, for a good five minutes. Who were they both connecting?
Listening to a thousand accents and languages here. Stayed at the lunch bistro longer than necessary to listen to the Irish man lilt on his phone, now some Germans or Austrians or other Rhinelanders are joking over Starbucks. German man smiled at me. German teen at the next table just gave me the once-over. Not impressed, either of us. But he keeps looking. Bored, probably. Me, too, kid, me too. Now he and his parents are looking here, or maybe not. Talking about me in German. “Facebook.” Understood that one, yeah. Cross-cultural. That is where I have ended up, Starbucks, homogenizing everything with the constant calls of “Tall Cappuccino Latte!” and indie pop in the background. But, I think I could learn German if I tried.
As happy and free alone as I am, I look forward to having traveling companions in a few hours. Will be glad to see Annette’s familiar face, and Anne’s kind-of familiar one, too, from facebook. At least, now I can rotate watching the bags with someone else besides myself.
It still hasn’t yet sunk in, yet, that my next move is getting on a plane to go halfway around the world. I know three of the 1.3 billion people on the Indian subcontinent. I think they have cell phones.
This is the world, already. You are right Dr. Harish, how will I survive?