Ralph Waldo Emerson coined the phrase, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
My mom has a similar saying that’s sort of a killer combo between philosophical enlightenment and Vanilla Ice’s next one-hit wonder:
“You know, Sar, life’s not about where you end up but all of the different paths you take to get there. You just gotta do you.”
I know in most scenarios this is more aptly apropos for larger life events: career changes, blossoming romances and the occasional pregnancy scare. Tonight I can confirm I successfully applied the very same life advice to everyday life.
Despite the lack of notice that it’s winter and walking 30 blocks to my apartment is not dissimilar to a Naked Mole Rat in Antarctica, I still do it. This is not for martyr-dom, people; I’m like a hamster in its wheel for 12+ hours – then the wheel breaks off the cages’ hinge but my little legs just won’t stop.
I enjoy my walk home on Third Ave. It gives me time to blow off steam from the day’s happenings; I can call family and friends and pick up dinner: frozen yogurt. Like any avenue in New York, I walk by tons of restaurants and bars; from fast food joints to three-star Michelin rated hot spots; dive bars that will probably lie about when last inspection was to the intern-infested underage clubs where the line is blurred between sweat, saliva and alcohol (word of advice: all three will wreak of booze so you’re pretty SOL).
As if someone were writing my slow-mo “international super-spy car explosion escape” or “nerd-turned-hot-girl making her big entrance at the senior prom” scene, I narrowly miss a lit cigarette flicked with an incredible trajectory by the drunk businessman slouched on a stoop shouting, “I don’t need this. Just leave me the fuck alone!” to the homeless man next to him, eyes darting either in genuine discomfort or the paranoia caused by the joint dangling from his lips. My Matrix-like sidestep lands me in the line of fire of a nearby building night cleaning crew about to start their shift and dressed to kill (but, really) in their A-line Tiffany Blue cotton knee-length dresses and trampling anyone or thing in their path. Forced off the curb and almost into an off-duty taxi, the woman outside the bar sipping her martini (martini glass, olives and all) and balancing her extinguished cig, hocks a loogie with a force that simply cannot be taught, only admired and slightly offended.
My dance celebration (not far from Rocky at the top of the stairs) from avoiding cigarette burns, being clothes lined by a line of angry women in unfortunate adult school uniforms and unwanted recipient of a saliva donor was totally necessary.
And sadly quickly derailed by the nearby vomit I danced right into.
So, Ralph. Mom. I see your precious “journey” spiel and raise you a, what I think was leftover Mexican, “destination.”