Random Blog A Musing Farf

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

EMBRACING DIFFERENCES

Suzanne
recently posted about knowing people who are very different than you and still maintaining friendships with them. This is why I love her: When it comes to the fundamentals of what makes a good friend, we both agree it has more to do with respect and a common understanding that they will take your side in a public fight, even if they think you are completely insane. Would Suzanne beat the crap out of someone because they yelled at me for brining my dogs into Duane Reade with me? I know she would. And would she also privately assail my lack of understanding that not all New Yorkers love dogs? In a heartbeat.

My friends come in all different colors, political affiliations and levels of socially acceptable drug use. I would never stop talking to Dee because she uses cocaine the way most people enjoy wine. Tad was my opposing counsel at a former job and I think he really believes that people should be fired for coming into work 7 minutes late, but I like him anyway. I just would never want to work for him. And Mara is way more liberal than I am but I still love her just the same. I take pride in my diverse friendships and think they help me be a better person. But I am unable to make the same leap in apartment hunting that I do in friendship.

Call me racist. Call me classist. Call me any variety of –ist and I will not deny it. I want to live somewhere where the people look and think like me. I want to live in a neighborhood filled with nice Jewish families (not too religious!) who send their kids to the JCC after-school program and know where to buy the best lobster bisque. I want people my age, people with my income level (well, okay, with Husband’s income level) and people who wear Ann Taylor and Banana Republic to work. I don’t want to live in the Morningside Heights of 10 years ago, I want to live on the Upper West side of today. And so Husband and I have trouble finding an apartment.

If it were up to me, I would never move. I have a backyard and live in one of the best school districts in Manhattan. I can walk to the subway in 5 minutes and live near two different subway stops. But it’s not up to me. Landlords keep raising the rent and really, with supposedly falling housing prices (everywhere but here!) we really need to buy a place.

So I read the names on the buzzer and look for “Cohen” and “Schwartz.” I roam the hallways of buildings and look for mezuzahs. And I hate myself for doing it.

But you know the great thing? My friends accept this about me. Stacy thinks my inexplicable need for a homogenous living environment is absurd and offensive, but she has offered to pound the pavement with me any weekend I choose and help me scope out buildings. Sister sends me apartment listings from various websites and Kir put me in touch with her coworker’s friend’s dogwalker’s uncle (or something like that) who may be selling a place in my neighborhood.

So as I continue to enjoy my diverse friends in my homogenous neighborhood I need to remember that these are the same people who could be living next door to me in my eventual new neighborhood and embrace the likely change. And who knows, I may find that one day my neighbor defends me to a co-op board before privately berating me for letting the dogs pee on the landscaping.

4 comments:

new mom said...

Just keep looking.

Suzanne said...

I'm not crazy about your neighborhood criteria (in fact, I am laughing because it is exactly what I HATE about how this neighborhood is going - I was just bitching up a storm about it yesterday), but I promise to help you find the best deal on an apartment that I can. I love looking at apartments, and I love helping my friends live in places that they love.

mara clarke said...

Who are you calling a liberal? And there is nothing wrong with your criteria. Because while you want that criteria, you are still living in New York City, one of the most diverse places on earth. It's not like you're going to a Kibbutz on Mars where your future kids will never see a black person or eat a proper Taco. If J & I moved back to NYC with our little baby (who sends love and baby smiles), we would certainly never live in the place we used to live. If all else fails on the Upper West Side, there's always Riverdale . . . .

wingin' it said...

I know this post isn't really about housing, but for what it's worth, don't look for your dream home. Instead, look for your first home :-)