Saturday, rain, library, indoors… Back to my routine, in my isolated wet village… It’s quite amazing to think a few days ago, I was in New York.
In less than a month, I’ll be back at work and I don’t really know how faithful I’ll be to the blog then. I’ve been wondering a lot about the point of it all – writing brought me more interrogations than it brought me joy lately…. I wish I could feel alive more, taking part more. And writing just makes me feel empty and frustrated with everything.
The week I’ve spent in NYC was nothing like what I’d experienced before. This is the destination which made my early twenties. That was what my dreams were made of. I craved for a feeling of belonging. Now 25 years later, I can see how much I have changed. And so has the city.
Everywhere you go in Manhattan, you pass people with EarPods, talking alone. And as sad as it seems, I’m sure that’s what the future will look like. People will be connected by a little device such as these bluetooth listen-and-talk ear buds. Every coffee shop you go, every street, every metro you ride, you get surprised by people on their own, suddenly speaking shamelessly out loud, without doing a gesture which will give you a hint of what’s happening. Until you see the little white bud in their ears, you think they are weirdos talking to themselves. I’m sure soon enough, French people will follow suite, starting with Parisians. No more intimacy talks in the corner of a cosy meeting place. No. Just people in one same zone, conversing incautiously, not minding the other human beings around.
Another new thing which regularly titillated my senses during my urban treks was… dope! Man, New York smells of Jamaïca! I’m not complaining because, although I’m not a smoker, I rather like the perfume of marijuana. But the smell is at every corner of every street. On the metro which took me back to the airport, I sat behind a man who was rolling a joint. The smell was so powerful, I felt it impregnated my clothes and feared the customs dogs would want to sniff me from closer! So that you know, in 2019, New York enacted legislation expanding the decriminalization of recreational use of cannabis, but did not legalize it. Possessing any amount of marijuana is still illegal. However, under the new law, penalties have changed.
- Possession of small amounts of marijuana, up to and including two ounces, is now considered a violation;
- Possessing over two ounces is still a misdemeanor.
In short, the amount of marijuana a person has in their possession dictates whether or not police impose criminal charges — whether or not a person consumes it in public is no longer relevant. And that, you can tell!
But let me just add I’ve never been disturbed by anyone smoking pot around me. No smoke to be seen even!! Just the smell. So no trouble really.
One last thing which struck me during my stay is the use of Spanish. In the U.S. English is spoken by 239 millions whereas Spanish is by 41 millions. My previous visit doesn’t date back from that long. Maybe 6 or 7 years ago. But I don’t remember hearing so much of it.
Snow talked about this subject not long ago in her Speaking the Same Language post and my experience resonated with the matter. Contrary to what seems to be the problem is Finland, I’ve always been talked to in English in shops or cafes. But I was surprised to see the number of employees talking amongst each other in Spanish. Working in a multilingual environment myself, I’m quite familiar with this issue. The ferry company which employs me is French, the crew is all French but our customers are 90% British. We’ve always been told not to speak French in front of customers for fear they will feel excluded. Which makes perfect sense. So it made me wonder and compare with France. I’ve never been surprised to hear Arabic spoken in my country , as it is the second-most common language in French homes, with several million speakers. But here, I’ve never ordered a coffee in French with my order being transferred in a foreign language by the cashier to the coffee maker in a different language.
The question of integration is a sensitive subject these days and I don’t intend to discuss it today. I lived and worked in a country which wasn’t mine, and as a foreigner then, I have an opinion of this behaviour. I just found the difference between our countries interesting. The history of the U.S. explains of course why you cannot really compare…
I will end up on a lighter. I’m working on a list of places I’ve visited and liked. You probably know by now how much I like posts such as 31 Best Things to Do in NYC on your First Visit ! No seriously, it will rather be a melting pots of addresses and tips which I find relevant.
This present post was written while my first impressions are still “hot” in my mind! I’ll leave you here with a few of my favorite evening photos. We walked across the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges several times to end the day. On a clear day, the light and the view is just extraordinary.
This is my definition of
Summer, beach, family or friends, food, outdoors.
For this week’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge Sandy asks us to share a photo depicting SIMPLE JOYS.
CAPITAL / exclamation INFORMAL•DATED
- used to express approval, satisfaction, or delight.”That’s splendid! Capital!”
I chose to use Viveka’s prompt in a slightly secondary sense today. Let’s all start this new week cheering “Capital“!
This week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge #82 is hosted by Viveka and her prompt is: CAPITAL