Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Everything is bigger...

My love for Bruce Springsteen is legendary.

How legendary, you ask?

This was my Halloween costume at last year's "Come as your favourite year" party:

That's right... 1984. The year that Born in the USA came out. I was 7. And I might have run around the school yard telling everyone that I was going to marry the Boss. And I also might have used my mother's vacuum cleaner hose as a microphone and my badminton racket as a guitar and rocked it out in my living room to every song on the album.

Other examples of my legendary love?
  • I sang a Springsteen song to my husband on our wedding day (Should I fall behind);
  • I walked down the aisle to my favourite song of all time, Thunder Road (a song older than me, I might add);
  • I have no pictures of my husband in my office but I have framed photos of Bruce; and
  • most recently, I went to see him in New York City, at Madison Square Garden.
That's right. Bruce. Springsteen. at. Madison. Square. Garden. Like in his own backyard. The only cooler show to see would have been on the Jersey side of the state line. But long before I went to my first Springsteen concert, I saw the DVD of his 1999 reunion tour with the E-Street band, which was kicked off at Madison Square Garden. And it changed my life. Ever since that day, I knew that I would one day see him perform at the fabled Gardens.

And, well, the concert blew me away. I mean, I've seen him live before but not like this. There is simply no way to put into words what a fantastic experience it was. Three solid hours of music. No. Not music. Revival. His set list told a story of love and loss, beginnings and endings, ups and downs, with the ever reverberating message that survival is the only option.

Amen.

And, well, it also brought me to New York City for a long weekend. For three and a half whole days, the streets of North America's most fabulous city belonged to Hubby and I. And we shoved in as much as we possibly could: shopping up and down (and up again) 5th Avenue; strolling (which turned into shopping) through SoHo; exploring the architecture of Greenwich Village; hitting the Chelsea Market (which also turned into shopping - but in my defense, I stumbled upon a sample sale); a 20-some block walk high above the Meatpacking district and downtown, along High Line Park; dinner in Harlem; catching up with old friends on the Upper West Side for Easter dinner; and running the south half of the beautiful Central Park.

Yes, Manhattan has left me broke, blistered, and exhausted. Not to mention dying to go back for my next trip.

Dying to go back for my next trip, yes. But living in Manhattan, I'm not so sure. I mean, there is the Beast to consider.

Now there are definitely things about Manhattan that my pooch and I would love. Starting with the obvious - Central Park. Which is, after all, the arboretum on steroids, stretched over 50+ blocks. Plenty of trees to pee on, plenty of sticks to chew, and plenty of dogs to herd. I ran through the southern half of the park twice, and both times, I could not help but smile as I imagined Beasty running alongside of me, occasionally leaving my side to sniff another dog or to explore a new patch of grass. Of course, neither of us are likely to enjoy the hoards of screaming children who descend upon the park in droves on a sunny weekend, but that's another story...

Then there is the extreme walkability of the city. Everyone walks in Manhattan. The sidewalks are wide. The grid pattern makes it easy to navigate. And there are literally thousands of different directions that you can take to explore new sights (for me) and new smells (for the Beast). Surely, he and I could burn an exorbitant amount of calories by leashing up and hitting the pavement.

But then again....

As I think about it, there are more than a few reasons why Manhattan would not be a good home for Mr. Beast. In fact, I've come up with five of them. So here they are. The top five reasons why the Beast could never be a Manhattan dog:

5 - Where are the geese? Seriously. Where are they? Despite a park that spans an area of 200 square blocks or so, I did not see one single Canada goose. Not one. Nor did I see one New York goose. A few ducks here and there, but geese are the Beast's preferred game. Seriously. He takes great pride in clearing the path of Canada geese as he and I run or bike down the river pathway. He's taken this on as his job. And absent large enough water fowl to chase off the path, I fear that the Beast would turn his attention to small children - you know, the ones who are about two or three and stand roughly as tall as a goose and kind of waddle in the same gooselike manner? And, well, we all know that this would spell disaster. With a capital D. Disaster.

4 - Apartment living just ain't for this boy. Or at least, the Beast living in an apartment would not be for his neighbours. Because every single time someone would come to our door, or walk past it, he would bark. And we've all read enough of this blog to know that the Beast's bark translates into glass shattering loudness. Which could not BUT drive all of the neighbours crazy. And likely get me kicked out by the condo board. Which would give us no choice but to move to another burrough, like Brooklyn. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but.... Brooklyn ain't no Manhattan.

3 - Just like Manhattan residents have ample opportunity to pamper themselves with designer clothing, ridiculously beautiful accessories, and a plastic surgeon on every mid-town block, so too is there an abundance of puppy paraphernalia to beautify and class up your pooch. Now don't get me wrong - if I had the money, I'd be dressed head to toe in Dolce & Gabbana or Prada, made up by Bobbi Brown, and accessorized by Coach and Tiffany's. But I'll be damned if I will buy into all of that hype for my dog. I mean really. He's a dog. Why does he need running shoes, or a stroller to be pushed around in or a diamond studded collar (just a few of the things that I witnessed in the 72-hours that I was there)? There is no dog in the world anthropomorphized as much as the Manhattan canine, and no dog needs to be that spoiled. At least mine doesn't. Which I fear would earn both him and I our fair share of ridicule.

2 - He might just have a brain aneurysm. Seriously. He is too high-strung for sooooooooo muuuuuuuuch stimulation. I can just picture him walking in midtown with me (not that I would ever be so crazy as to do such a thing, but let's just pretend), where you can see people coming at you in waves for block after block after block, and where there is barely enough room to reach your hand up to hail a cab. And thousands of people = thousands of sounds and thousands of smells = thousands of distractions = the Beast not listening to me = me becoming supremely frustrated = the Beast getting even more agitated = epic meltdown right on the streets of Manhattan. And even the "quieter" places - like Central Park - aren't actually all that quiet, because they are, well, packed. With thousands of people, and thousands of sounds, and thousands of smells, and thousands of children who are tall enough to be geese, and.... well, you get the picture. Poor high strung Beasty would end up in a straight jacket within a week. And if not him, then definitely me.

But the number one reason why the Beast could never, ever live in Manhattan...

1 - He's already pushy enough thankyouverymuch.

No seriously, Manhattan is a wonderful place, and I'm sure the people are lovely, when they aren't being pushy and rude to you. Now in fairness, if I worked in midtown and had to deal with droves upon droves of tourists clogging up the sidewalks to take pictures of 30 Rockefeller Plaza every day, I'd probably be irritable too. But I get the feeling that New Yorkers are raised to be pushy. I mean, how else are you going to get a cab when you have to compete with 20 other people on the same block as you? Or when you have to catch the attention of the sales clerk at the Gucci counter in Saks ahead of the hundreds of other women ready to pounce? Really, when you think of it, it's understandable. But I am spending too much of my precious time trying to teach my puppy that it is not okay for him to get what he wants all of the time, and I just don't need for him to be around that dominant vibe! What if it rubs off on him? He'll become even more of a monster than he already is!!!

So New York City will forever be the place that I go to see a Springsteen concert and to spend all of my hard earned money. But as for home, Hubby, the Beast and I will stay put just where we are. In the sleepy, dull, and unimaginative capital of this beautiful nation of ours.

It's good to be home.