POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.
Monday night, with a blizzard just hours away, Lily, Jamie, and I walked four blocks home from a neighbor’s apartment, where we had drinks and ate dessert and watched the previous weekend’s episode of Girls. It was 10:50, just minutes before the citywide travel ban was scheduled to go into effect, during which subways and buses stopped service and all cars were to be off the street.
It was quiet outside, a rare thing, even for a Monday. The streets were deserted, the sidewalks white. Above us, an empty J train clattered over the Williamsburg Bridge.
We crunched through the snow, our faces sleet-stippled.
“We haven’t even lived in this city that long,” said Jamie, her voice muffled inside her hood. “Can you believe how little time it’s taken for all of this” — she gestured to the ice, the snow, the whipping wind — “to feel normal?”
Later, with nothing else to do but watch the snow from our windows (and complete a maddeningly difficult 1000-piece Edward Gorey puzzle), we hunkered down, settling into the quiet. "There are so many things we're used to now that were foreign to us not so long ago," I said. We no longer notice the noise, for instance, leaving our windows open at night in the summertime. We walk miles daily. We sleep on trains.
Things that were once wildly unfamiliar are now part of our everyday landscape — like the bodegas and taxi cabs and snow hardened on the edges of sidewalks, they're details we've seen so many times we don't look twice.
For me, there are bigger things, too. I’m more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable than I’ve ever been. I like change. I wait for it. And I've been lucky enough to find that on the other side of uncertainty (and pain, and loss, and things-not-going-my-way) are often the best, most mind-boggling surprises.
“Just follow your path,” my dad said to me when I Face-Timed my parents last week. “Whatever happens is okay — even if things don’t look the way you thought they would. Even if you get lost. Even if the path leads you into a ravine.”
“Shoko,” my mom said brightly, chiming in from the kitchen. “You’re still so young. You have so many ravines ahead of you.”
She said this with a smile, with energy, with encouragement.
It wasn’t what I’d expected to hear. But I loved it — it surprised me.
So I had to laugh.
You can find my previous POV entries, here. Thank you so much for reading. Photo by Lily Tidhar.