Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Enormous Banana

My girlfriend Elizabeth hails from New Jersey, and as a dutiful Man dutifully doing his duty - and an Adventurous Spirit adventuring for the sake of adventure - and an Evil Canadian Boyfriend who ripped his girlfriend away from everything she once knew and loved in her homeland of Freedom and Bravery to hive her away in a den of Constitutional Monarchism and wishes to expiate himself of guilt by Doing Right by Her - I routinely follow her down to what we - so provincially - quaintly refer to as The States to visit her family and permit (permit not am unable to arrest the instantiation of the actuality that) her younger brother (to/doth) beat me, over and over again, at X-Box 360.

This post contains exactly this much content.
Anyway, the thing that we never do on these trips is visit New York City, despite its close proximity to her New Jerseyan (Jerseyian?) town. This invariably leads to the sum total of Everyone In Canada - including friends, family, office compatriots, et cetera - asking how it is that I could possibly have the option of visiting The City and declining, as though the mixing of dirty-griminess and ritzy-glitziness on a fourteen-or-so-mile-long island ionizes quite naturally into a Humanity Magnet that ought to be irresistible to Normal Men, Women, Children, and Small Family Pets.

But this time - this one in particular - we went to New York and I dare say I loved it and I hope to return soon. We visited the Soup Nazi's soup kitchen - in fact called Soup Kitchen International and possessing regulations slightly less draconian but no less Byzantine than those portrayed humour-fictionalistically in Seinfeld - spied on Sarah Jessica Parker qua Carrie Bradshaw's Sex and the City house and then spied on Sarah Jessica Parker's real house, and then ate pasta at a restaurant where we were served by a coked-out waiter who called all the girls at the table "hon" while the manager ordered hits on jabronies (or whatever).

But what is truly interesting about New York City is that, to a mild-mannered Canadian boy like myself, who dutifully eats his American culture with his TV-dinners, New York appears entirely to be a parody of itself. At any moment I expected entire edifices to slide away and reveal that New York City was not a real place at all but a fantasy wonderland equal in kind to Disney's Magic Kingdom, a Zone of Possibility that exists purely for the amazement of village jabronies like myself.

Despite this aspect of unreality, I momentarily became enthused with the possibility of living in this Alterity-Space, and fantasized about all the fun adventures I would have and all the stories I would tell the yokels back home (Side Note: Family, Friends, People of Canada: this Yokel talk is all image, posturing and contrivance; in truth I love you, respect you, would never believe you to be a bumpkin, et cetera, let's get back to the trash-talk as the truth of the matter shall soon resolve itself [colon]:). This feeling of majesty and wonder lasted until my feet, on the way back to the subway, began to ache, and the garbage piled up on the streets began to smell, and the Metro-card system of fare-payment failed and cost me several American dollars and would not read my credit card - a series of events leading to Ultimate Humiliation.

Look, the point of all this is only to say two things:

1. Oh, now I get why all those stories take place in New York!

2. Why do they call it the Big Apple?

Countervailing opinions, similarly drivellous rumination, and answers to 2 (above) all accepted below.


P.S. Soup Kitchen International Really does have crab bisque, but they don't have Medium (a size choice I approve of, because honestly if you're not going to bother measuring it just tell me is it big, or is it small).


  1. I grew up there, but alas moved away. I always enjoy going back but by the end of the visit I remember that it isn't home anymore. The only thing I truly miss is the beach, which I don't have in the Chicago suburbs.

    Interestingly enough, I don't know how NY got its nickname either, so I asked my good friend Google. Here's what she said:

  2. Aha! That makes a surprising amount of sense. I was, however, hoping for something more sinister: mutant engineering plots, fruit cannons, etc. Nonetheless, my curiosity is appeased and I shall, cat-like, perish.

  3. ... or perhaps not-perish. I'm not sure how that works.