September 25, 2008
When I first moved here, a friend from Fairhope asked me how it felt to be living in such a different place.
"It feels like I'm on a vacation," I responded after giving it a little thought. "I'm having a nice time, learning my way around, but at heart I still feel I'm on a vacation."
I wondered what it would take for Hoboken to feel real to me. I thought about the differences--many--between this town and the last place I lived. I liked the newness, but pondered whether or not I'd ever just walk down the street and run into somebody I knew and take it for granted.
Then last weekend, exploring my new neighborhood, it happened. Maybe not for the first time--the first time was when I ran into Cristina at King's Supermarket, the downtown one. I occasionally shop there on Thursdays, when my Medicare card will get me pricey groceries at a discount. She lives not far from there, so when I saw her and we spoke, not pre-arranged or anticipated, I realized that was probably the first time that had happened to me in Hoboken.
The second time was when I saw a casual acquaintance, Johnson Chu, on Washington and 10th talking on his cell phone. He lit up--it doesn't take much to light Johnson up--and said, "Hi, Mary Lois!" He even put the cell caller on hold for about 30 seconds while he exchanged pleasantries with me. This is such an ordinary-type occurence in life that it's rather odd that I even took note of it. But I did, because it was a first in Hoboken.
I told Johnson I was exploring my new neighborhood. Then I went home to my new apartment, feeling like an old-timer in Hoboken.
The next day I heard someone call my name and it was my friend Alex, coming out of the physical therapist's after routine treatment for his pulled muscle. So it's now happened three times, and this isn't the last. I got an email from the producer of the play The Flora Dora Girls Sewing Circle of Hoboken, and she tells me I have a part after all. I'm going to be the narrator. Save the date: October 19, at the Hoboken Museum. I'm going to be meeting a lot more people.
By the way, I don't look like either of those vacationers above. That was a long time ago, and I was much older then.