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A cartoon depiction of the author, wearing a hoodie and smiling

Only in New York!

I had the opportunity to come to New York City for work for the first time since 2017, which seems impossibly long ago. Like, what? When I left in 2016 I said I'd be back at least once every couple years. Then it got to be too expensive for my job at the time to host any events there, so we would meet up in some other east-coast city instead, then COVID happened. Now it's 2022 and I'm here for just over 48 hours and it's the same city and also it's different. I'm not going to get to see nearly any of the people I need to, which is a bummer, and also I'm reading about COVID BA.2 case counts rising and wanting to hide in my hotel room until my flight home.

So all of that put together, and the opportunity to just walk up and down the streets with no real agenda and then to feel my feet hurt afterwards because of how out of practice I am? It feels good, and it feels stressful, all at once. I was enjoying the work-socializing (seeing coworkers face-to-face, many of them for the first time ever!) and then we hit the part of the evening where we were in a loud room together and I couldn't hear what anyone was saying, which I suddenly remembered hating so much about this place! Yes! Something I concretely dislike about this life, here to rescue me from a whole lot of nostalgia and "I could do this again" thoughts.

Anyway, then I went outside to take a walk, and I took this picture, and I walked around until I couldn't anymore.

a photo, at night, of fairy lights strung between a building with an old facade and the makeshift covered outdoor seating from a hotel restaurant. a piece of the new york skyline is visible