A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
I hope everyone had a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend, and that everyone has returned to their everyday lives with all the fingers you had last week.
On Friday morning, I watched wistfully as everyone in my neighborhood bounded around toting suitcases, overnight bags and golf clubs. I saw my friendly resident celebrity and his partner dragging their wheelie bags and their dogs around the block to wherever they’d parked their car on the street, and I actually gave it a “Stars! They’re just like us!” headline in my internal monologue. Which means I read too many tabloid magazines, apparently. (Also, they really are!)
Anyway, the longing to go on some idyllic long weekend mini-break quickly faded over the last couple of days, and I remembered why I love abstaining from summer holiday travel. As nice as it sounds to pile into the car and go to some nearby natural body of water for a real Americana experience, it also sounds equally nice not to spend two days in bumpadabumpa traffic getting in and out of the city with everyone else, not to mention not competing for lodging and submitting to holiday price-gouging.
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Why simply migrate with the city scrum to some lovely beach? I choose to let them leave me behind so I can celebrate my patriotism in peace. I spent my weekend luxuriating in half-empty restaurants, sparsely populated subways and blissfully clear sidewalks. Gus was the King of the dog run! I had just enough friends around to do a few things, but plenty of time to do nothing at all. There was no pressure to “make the most” of a vacation or precious time away. No guests to entertain, no ambitious plans to uphold. This is the way Independence Day ought to be honored, isn’t it? With true independence! Happily frittered away. Nothing like squandering a long weekend doing nothing and going nowhere to make a person appreciate her free time.
I, for one, feel refreshed and recharged and ready to face the second half of summer. Which I plan to spend coming up with ways to escape the city as many weekends as humanly possible. I mean, come on. It’s really hot.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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