The icons of the New York skyline so familiar through recess of memory and the window of film, now examined through the window of a taxi sailing the BQE.
I want to find my notepad to write all this down, but my girl is nestled into my chest. She’s usually fetal with her back turned by 9pm, so I’m reluctant to disturb this spring communion when an isolating city surrounds.
In the morning I wake early and climb the noisy wooden stairs to the rooftop. The panoramic icons glisten in a sunlit post-rain lineup: Liberty, Freedom Tower, Triborough Bridges, Empire.
It’s an outer body experience: like a spectator automated through the motions of another person’s life. One foot after another on a trajectory to I-don’t-know-where.
However, devoid of routine and permanent residence, I choose to let all sense of confusion slip by and acknowledge simple facts: I’m alive, healthy, well-fed, and have an exciting future to build.
I came across a neat community group in Brooklyn tonight: the Fixers Collective.
It’s a group of people who work out how to fix their broken belongings. It’s not a tutorial. It’s a collaborative, practical workspace of puzzle-solvers with immediate results.
I learnt the difference between weft and warp when mending socks and pockets, how to reconstruct a laptop power-socket and how to pull apart a cassette player to clean its capstan. As I was leaving, they were even attempting to power up a VGA Packard Bell, likely a relic of the 80s.
In an age where it is cheaper to replace than repair, it was great to meet people intrigued by the inner-workings of their possessions, who enjoy repairing it themselves rather than outsourcing. There was a very relaxed atmosphere and I enjoyed the generosity of problem-solving as a group consisting of various ages and backgrounds.
It’s entirely free (although donations are welcome) and open to the public – anyone may bring their broken stuff for help to fix it! The group runs most (but not all) Thursdays in Brooklyn 7-9pm. For more details, check out their website: http://fixerscollective.org/
And I got one. From our rooftop in Dumbo under the Brooklyn Bridge, facing One World Trade Center and with Liberty and Empire State like beacons in the distance, we counted in 2012 via the giant digital clock atop the adjacent Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower building.
Isn’t it peculiar how intent we are that New Year’s Eve celebrations be wildly entertaining? A dull NYE is as daunting as spending Christmas without family (although I was well looked after on the 25th…sorry mum and dad!).
As a child, the incoming year began on a beach in the dark of the South Coast of Australia. Simple, quiet; without drama. The most exciting it got was a neighboring family with domestic-grade fireworks.
Sydney and I have a strained relationship. Rarely has she proven herself. I was ditched by a friend one year, and after the 9pm family fireworks in Circular Quay, returned home to sleep it off, only to be woken by the all-too-cheery voices of my parents phoning at ten to twelve, wondering what magnificent things I was up to. Stirred by their optimism, I belted down towards Bondi Beach, only to hear the countdown and cheers before I was halfway down Hall Street. I was detached enough to reason the only thing worse than spending NYE alone must be spending it remotely with your folks.
The following year, celebrations began well at a party with new friends. But as midnight approached, the company splintered off, until I found myself walking the lonely tides of Manly on the phone to South Africa. God bless timezones. There is always someone to speak with.
We remember these first moments of a fledgling year because of the weight of expectation we give it. We could, of course, just lower the bar. My parents now play scrabble and drink tea until the clock strikes 12. They seem like happy, well-rounded folks.
I hope you have a magnificent year… stirred by the reminder of the passing of another chunk of time, another numeral notched… and that we’d better get on with it and do something vaguely more impressive than the year that once was.