Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 4: In which PDXWD/NYCWD skips Day 3 and goes directly to The Strand and finds Updike but no Baker

Day 3 was a mess of Radio City Music Hall, overcaffeination, dinner, train transfers, and muffled discussions, so we're just going straight to Day 4 and concluding. [Ed. note: Lame! You're not getting reimbursed for the full four days, then. Expect that we'll go through your travel receipts with extra care. Anything from Day 3 is on you!]

Before that, though, we should mention--to further solidify the hunch we have about New York's feelings for us--that Stumptown has set up operations here in Brooklyn, a fact that certainly says something about this "special relationship" we're having, doesn't it?

Anyway, to bookend our love of Powell's with a similarly stimulating literary experience in New York, this PDXWD/NYCWD correspondent made a mad dash to The Strand ("18 miles of books") [Ed. note: You're not getting reimbursed for that mileage.], looking for many titles (such as a hardback edition of Nicholson Baker's The Mezzanine), but not finding them, settled instead on others (a first edition bargain of Updike's Rabbit Redux, for example, as well a copy of Julie Orringer's gorgeous debut collection How to Breathe Underwater). Then we went back to the hotel and took off our socks and fell asleep and before we knew it it was morning and we were headed back to JFK. [Ed. note: This sentence should end "without having filed any further posts, in violation of our contract, thus rendering the contract and any pay rates or scales contained therein null and void."]

The thing about NYC, we've decided, is that it makes you feel so entirely inadequate. [Ed. note: Plz change "you" there to read "us", as per pdxwd style. Then change "us" to read "me," since it is only this employee who filed an inadequate number of words.] Walking its streets as an outsider, you never quite seem to know if you're going the right way or wearing the right thing, or if you're even in the right neighborhood to begin with. But just as it gives off this sense of exclusivity--and here's the paradoxical effect of the city--it also simultaneously extends an invitation to join its diverse hoards. New York wants you. It wants you to belong. It wants what you have. It wants you to be here and to call it home; that is, New York City wants nothing more than for you to become an insider, as much of an outsider as you feel you are.

As such then, as you ride the A train uptown, you secretly yearn to read The New Yorker as a New Yorker, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal as your hometown papers. There's something for you in this vast city, you can just feel it. [Ed. note: Deadlines for filing posts, we thought. But apparently you didn't "feel" that.] It pulsates, this thing for you, like the silhouette of the skyline, across the bridges, on the BQE, on each and every street, and it makes a very, very convincing argument that you two really do belong together.

If and when you leave, therefore, it's so that you can inevitably return. [Ed. note: On your own dime, pal.]


  1. I HEART these PDXWD/NYCWD relationship posts. These are a wonderfully whimsical way to follow your trail. Thanks and keep up the great work. Having a blast reading these.

  2. Can I at least get reimbursed for my keychain pocketknife that was stolen by TSA personnel in the PDX airport? I would appreciate that, if nothing else.