Boy oh boy did I blow it. After months of
anticipating mother’s Thanksgiving dinner, fit with all the
home trimmings, I finally arrived in New York sometime during the
early afternoon of Thursday. I smirked the whole way through, from
the descent into my native city, to the ride leaving LaGuardia en
route to the Brooklyn sidewalks — littered with old detritus
and whatever else us Brooklynites no longer want to hold in their
hands.

Kate Green

As always, the home improvements multiply once you’re out
of the house and I was met with a new door that my old key
surprisingly opened. I was back in NY. And I had plans. After
turkey binging and digestion I was to be out. Thanksgiving night is
prime party time and there were stories to be created for the
grandchildren. There was really no reason I couldn’t conquer
the city that very night except for the persistence of some chatty
family members. I guess I didn’t mind it all that much, so I
stayed. Bullet bitten.

Now it’s Friday. Things are different and I’m really
ready. I was seriously fit for some good ol’ Dubya-encouraged
consumer whoring. My four cent tax-return was to single-handedly
reignite the economy and stop terrorism. Debt-filled credit cards
and hard cash in hand, there was no chance for 34th Street. Lucky I
didn’t just buy Macy’s. It was Black Friday, I’m
black and it’s Friday. It was my duty. I procured all types
of clothes that I will never wear and shuttled them back home.

I’m so NY. Day turns night and the mission shifts towards
reuniting with old friends for some catching up and then a repeat
of the dinner with my friend’s family I had before I left for
school, where I got all the United Nations updates and insider
information. Following the meal, we mastered and commanded with
Russell Crowe but I felt the first hit and deep down inside I knew
it was over.

The next day I realized that what I knew wasn’t really
that deep so much as it was right on the surface. My inability to
eat combined with the great difficulty it took to stand and breathe
simultaneously told me it was all wrapped up. For the rest of that
day and what amounted to the rest of my vacation, my temperature
fluctuated like the download time on that naughty KaZaa file. This
meant no Broadway shows, no exclusive NY/LA only movie viewings and
no trendy fusion restaurants. I had to take a raincheck on the
receptive downtown bar folks and the invites to the ’80s
parties and the New Rochelle festivities. I had to say nay to
Golden Krust and shrimp roti’s (a firm handshake to you if
know what those are). Over was the sight of watching neophyte
turnstile hoppers get busted (even I saw that cop), blind
panhandlers walking towards money with no indication of where to go
and being solicited with stolen Rolexes in Midtown.

I simmered in my own juices, while being spun every half hour
all with thermometers protruding from wherever there was room to
stick one. All in all, not too different from the turkey I ravaged
a few days back. But that brave turkey’s suffering was for a
purpose. What greater purpose did my illness serve? None. There was
no lesson, no edification and no moral purpose. It was just a sick
cosmic joke.

In the end, like everything else, I somehow manage to
convincingly blame Michigan for my little flu. Yes, I contracted it
in Brooklyn, but I was made soft by this little palm-shaped state.
The dearth of nighttime activities has relegated me to the role of
a hermitic homebody who looks upon dust particles with trepidation.
Laziness and the over consumption of generic sandwich products has
made me susceptible to illnesses that my little brother laughs off
as immunization. I’ll bide my time and store up. I’ll
be doing my jumping jacks and sit-ups as well as taking my
Flintstones. I’ll take notes on Sex and the City and get into
the New York State of Mind, because when I go back I’m going
everywhere and I’m taking whatever drugs I need to stand
up.

Sadly, as this goes to print I’ll be feeling better in
time to finish my work and well along the path to concluding this
semester’s studies. But I wonder, is there anything truly
crueler than being healthy in Michigan?

Rahim can be reached at
“mailto:hrahim@umich.edu”>hrahim@umich.edu.

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