Theater Conservatory Confidential: New York City and San Francisco: A Comparison.

Eli Diamond, having returned to New York after a brief visit home to the Bay Area, continues his musings about life as a newly enrolled theater major.

Prior to actually attending NYU, the main thing everyone told me about was the city, a lot of “You must be so excited!”, “I’d kill to live in New York!”, “The city’s gonna be so much fun!” Recognizing that this is only my second month of living in the city, I have only one thing to say about it: Meh.

You see, New York City has been described to me as having a very visceral “heartbeat”. You feel as though the city is alive, almost like some sort of organism. This is something I would agree with, but with a little footnote. The city has a heartbeat, but it’s not a healthy one. When asked to describe the feeling of the city, I tend to describe it as “It’s as if the entire city were late to work.” Everyone is always on a rush, you can always hear cars moving and speeding through the street, people don’t wait for traffic lights. No one’s really given the chance to chill.

Compare this to my hometown, San Francisco. San Francisco is a brilliant place for someone who just wants to live. It has its quieter areas, like the Sunset or Golden Gate Park, but it also has most bustling city streets around Union Square and Downtown. No matter what you are feeling, odds are San Francisco has a place that gives you an outlet for that feeling. There are many days where I would just sit in Delores Park with a journal, and just write. They say I could do that in Washington Square Park here, but it’s not the same. No one’s just sitting and relaxing, people are constantly charging through, searching for their next class. It’s not only tiring, it’s depressing.

I returned to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago to visit my parents, my old friends, and my girlfriend, and although it’s been a while, I did certainly notice a change in myself. No matter where I was, or what I was doing, I felt stressed. Stressed that I was missing something, stressed that I was going to fuck up, stressed about the weirdest shit. It took me a while, but near the end of my visit, I was able to get back into the mindset I wanted. The mindset of someone who just wanted to breathe, and let life just flow over him. Perfect timing then, to jump right back into New York and have a bit of an emotional meltdown.

Not that the city is all bad, of course. There’s a lot to do and many, many wonderful people to meet, but, sometimes, I just think it’s important to take a step back and breathe.

Eli Diamond keeps learning to breathe (and maybe discovers the quieter neighborhoods of Manhattan are mostly at the top of the island), in the next installment of Theater Conservatory Confidential.