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In a New York state of mind

June 11, 2013
Barnes and Noble.

In Barnes and Noble.

I had been waiting for the shock of returning since I returned. Usually when I travel abroad and come back home, I am quickly struck by an overwhelming feeling of happiness and amazement at much how easier it can be in the United States, a country built for comfort.

But for the first couple of days, I felt normal. Not much had changed for me from Beirut to New York City. Except the prices of cabs, and you know, the fact that I could understand most of what was being said around me. Traveling was still a pain in the ass though. And though language wasn’t an issue, getting someone to stop and help me with directions was just as difficult. Most people just seemed really disconnected from the world around them, lost in Smartphones and whatever is playing on through their headphones.

Walking into a Barnes and Noble in New York City, I was finally struck. This is what I wrote in my notebook as I sat on the carpeted floor of the store.

“Everything is so orderly. There is a uniformed guard handing out plastic bags for each person to put their dripping umbrella in. I’m completely soaked because I don’t have an umbrella, or a coat. I liked being the alone one in the street crazy enough to just let themselves get waterlogged.

I’ve always liked the comfort of Barnes and Noble. A place that lets you read and touch whatever you’d like. No one watching you over your shoulder as you flip through magazines. No bartering.

I take out my camera to snap a photo and hesitate. “Is it allowed?” I’ve been in the Middle East too long.

I just wander around, unable to lay my attention on any one section or book for more than a moment. I can understand everything that is being said around me. And I understand why people are acting the way they are. People are sitting on the floor everywhere and it’s perfectly normal. It’s this realization that brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. I guess I’ve missed you after all.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Diana McClure permalink
    June 12, 2013 2:16 am

    Beautiful and so sensitive and thoughtful. Are u home now?

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