January 1, 2005

It has become something of a New Year's tradition that I redesign my diary site on New Year's day, and then I have to post an entry to show off the new design. So, here I am, writing some filler.

I just got back from New York City a couple of days ago, but I managed to overcome my jet lag by taking a long nap yesterday afternoon, and actually managed to stay up until midnight last night, but faded soon after. My trip was mostly good. I've had a cold on and off since Thanksgiving, and it decided that the day I flew out to the east coast would be a good time to flare up again. So, I had to endure a 6-hour plane ride with a temperature of 102. I felt guilty about the possibility of infecting my neighbors during the flight, but as it turned out, they both had colds, too, which assuaged my guilt.

It had been a little over a year since I'd last been in New York, and it seemed like even longer. The subway costs $2 now! But really, I think it is I who have changed more than the city. I remember the first time I visited Berkeley; I was living in Boston at the time, and as I walked down Telegraph Avenue wearing my east coast all-black ensemble, I felt like all the fresh-faced Cal undergrads I passed were looking at me and thinking I was some sort of vampire. But now it's the opposite! Walking through Manhattan, I felt conspicuous for wearing too many colors and not enough fur. People in New York City these days wear a lot of fur. In San Francisco, not so much. Of course, that's partly due to climate differences. (It was cold in New York! I don't even own a pair of gloves these days, so I was ill-prepared. Of course now that I've left, the New York Times tells me it's 57 F there right now.) And then there's the whole animal rights/political correctness aspect, which is definitely bigger out here than it is there. But even besides those things, I think there's just a certain attitude associated with wearing fur, a certain swagger that New York collectively has and San Francisco doesn't.

My aunt who I stayed with in New York owns several fur coats herself. She offered to lend me one when she saw how inadequate the cold-weather gear I'd brought with me was, but I just couldn't do it. A friend of hers who was a guest at our Christmas dinner arrived wearing a natty suit with a beautiful, fluffy fox-fur collar. After the guests had gone home, and we were rehashing the evening, my dad said by way of complimenting her "oh yes, she was very nice! She didn't seem at all like the sort of person who would wear a dead cat around her neck!" And it was true, she didn't.

Unfortunately, I spent most of my time in New York recovering from my cold, but I did get to see my family and some high school friends. I got to go to the Metropolitan Opera and see Renee Fleming from the middle of the front row. And I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art one day as soon as it opened, which meant that I had about half an hour of seemingly having the place to myself. Of course, within an hour it was mobbed, and I wound up skipping the Van Goghs and the Egyptians altogether this time, just to avoid the crowds. I'd really wanted to go to the refurbished MoMA, but the day I'd slated for museumgoing was a Tuesday, the one day of the week the MoMA is closed.

So, a little visiting, a little culture, a little shopping and a little walking around, and now I'm back in San Francisco and trying to get psyched up to dive back into work. I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but I resolved to myself a few months ago that I was going to do everything in my power to graduate in 2005. So I'm calling that a New Year's resolution. And so I should really go in to work today, but that would involve changing out of my pajamas. So maybe I'll just clean the bathroom instead, and then lie down and read some of my Christmas books. You've got to pace yourself, you know.

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