When I decided to move, I thought about pretty much everything that could possibly be different or inconvenient. I mentally prepared myself for the impending adjustment to the new way of doing things like grocery shopping (getting groceries for the evening rather than the week, or the month in my past life...), doing laundry (I'm lucky enough to have washers/dryers in the basement of our building, but plenty of people here have to hit the laundromat), or even something as simple as cooking (kitchens are notoriously quite a bit smaller here) but those adjustments haven't been nearly as cumbersome as I anticipated. There was one thing I've done, however, that made me stop and think about just how totally different life here is. And believe it or not, it was a trip to The Home Depot.
I know it sounds ridiculous, but I never really thought about what going to a large chain hardware store would be like in the middle of Manhattan. No huge parking lots littered with orange carts. No families standing around loading their purchases into the back of an SUV. In fact, the exterior of the building was kind of beautiful with lots of intricate white molding that was probably crafted hundreds of years ago. I found myself walking there on a beautiful tuesday afternoon last week. It's only about twenty blocks from my office. I met my roommate there, and we picked out paint swatches, and selected the color for our kitchen and our bedrooms. We bought blinds and over-the-door rack thingies, and lots of other home nesting goodies. And we bought PAINT. Three large cans and two mini ones to be exact. And then as we awkwardly juggled our haul and headed for the door, I remembered that our shopping cart was about to go bye-bye. We would be heading out into the sunset on foot, carrying our goods on our backs like urban pack-mules.
What ensued was exactly the Marx Brothers, slapstick comedy you're imagining. Walking to the subway station, passing things back and forth over the turn-styles in order to get out our MetroCards without hitting strangers in the face with a gallon of "Mimosa," and then taking three different trains to get home, all of which were standing room only. "You two are going to be busy," commented a friendly lady sitting across from us, spotting our home improvement supplies with a glad-it's-not-me twinkle in her eye. But you know something? We made it home without any major incident or injury. And as we slapped a few splotches of paint in the kitchen with the underlying realization that we may not finish this task for another month (or more) with our busy schedules, I realized I live in New York City, so I didn't mind a bit. And, honestly, I'd rather walk twenty blocks, or take three separate subway lines, to get to the ornate facade of the 23rd street Home Depot than ever have to look at another vast, midwestern parking lot again. I don't need the depot to tell me I'm officially HOME.