For lunch, I got a “Woody Allen” from Carnegie Deli: A monstrous pile of pastrami with a couple of pieces of bread to hold it together and some sauce to lubricate all that meal down your throat. It’s a typical New York place, with the autographed headshots of celebrities lining the walls, and people with attitude serving you. Couldn’t have asked for anything better. Half way through the sandwich the stomach cramps started and my body was wondering what post-apocalyptic situation had transpired in which the only food left was pastrami.
Lunch time in Manhattan should be its own tourist attraction. 1.6 million people need to be fed at least three times every day in a (relatively) tiny area. You can be at Central Park at 11 AM and see people eating. Walk south for an hour, and watch people eating on every corner. Hop in the subway and get out at the southern tip, and people are still eating. How does all that food get distributed? My god, there must be thousands of stores, restaurants, streets carts, and other food vendors in Manhattan. Assuming that most of these vendors need to restock daily, and ignoring the production of the food, my brain spins trying to imagine all the trucks with delivery schedules and boxes of food. How does it stay fresh? How do you have time to deliver? It’s like Santa trying to deliver gifts to all the children on christmas eve, it’s a logistical magic trick!
Then there’s the water. I bent over to drink a sip of water from the water fountain in the Public Library. How did that water get to that fountain? Where did it come from? 1.6 million people drinking about a gallon of water every day, apart from showering, cleaning, cooking, and waste. Just how big is that reservoir? How have New Yorkers not drank all the water in the ti-state region by now?
Anywho, my stomach was hurtin’ from all that pastrami, and I needed to walk it off. Down Fifth Avenue I went, careful to stay away from the sunny side of the street. Considering the improbability of actually seeing the sun in the slot canyon that is Manhattan, it wasn’t very hard to do.
I have mixed feelings about traveling alone. On the one hand, having complete freedom over my schedule is freeing, on the other, it can get lonely. Yesterday was the former. Walking around aimlessly, my mind drifts in and out of consciousness, prompted by its visual stimuli. These few days in New York have been really helpful for me. You see, my brain operates like Wario from Mario Kart 64. It’s slow to start, but when it starts, it moves with the inertia of a freight train. That is, it takes a bit of effort for me to commit to a task. However, once the commitment is made and the motivation budgeted, context switching becomes really expensive. This modus operandi lends itself to bouts of forgetfulness and single-mindedness. Just ask my Mom to tell you stories of me getting onto the school bus and leaving my bag on the street, or stories of walking into a lunch joint at 10:30 in the morning and wondering where people are.
New York has restarted my brain. Sure, I get excited about work after doing a demo and I’ll wanna sit at a Starbucks and crank some code out, but the Starbucks’ in Manhattan don’t have seating, and meeting people usually involves public transportation across the boroughs, a task I’m very inefficient at. All of which involves me walking a lot (Averaging 7 miles a day). I left San Francisco concerned, and I haven’t had a chance to dwell in New York.