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Zack Moy
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4 Tips

To survive moving in a pandemic (NYC edition)

Prose4 min read

It's almost been a year since I moved here, so I thought I'd offer four tips to anyone going through similar changes. (Content warning: death, suicide)

1. Say yes to everything. Even if you have friends here, you gotta make new ones to settle in! You now play all sports, eat all cuisines, drink all spirits, and love all forms of media. All of the time.

2. Prepare for the elements. Rain gear, winter gear, summer gear, and good shoes are the minimum. How else are you gonna meet up with all your new friends?

3. Call the National Suicide Hotline. Get through another day. Ask yourself why your brain suddenly decided to go haywire, and remember it's always been this way.

Go to Fort Greene and question whether you picked the right neighborhood. Stroll around Gramercy Park and marvel at the windows. The history. The HOAs. Walk up 5 flights until it's second nature. No, your butt is not actually getting bigger.

Talk to your therapist over Zoom and realize this just isn't gonna work for you--state license transfers, notwithstanding. Keep working the corporate job. Apologize for the ambient noise. Sorry, it's loud in New York. Heh, yeah, it's a concrete jungle alright. Get really good at walking really fast. Strut and storm and stomp your way past these fucking tourists.

Pour a cup of coffee. Eat your way through the Village and become a food snob. Why anyone would pay $30 for a pasta doesn't under—oh, fuck me that's good. Fall in love unequivocally and undeniably. Fall in love tragically. (Maybe you're really just in pain?)

Go for a run across the Williamsburg Bridge. Shit, it's cold. Get running gloves. No wait, shit it's hot again already. Looks at bottle Definitely get prescribed the wrong antidepressants. Helllllllloo, mania!

Learn the subway because, wow! Doctor offices are all over the place. Trip balls under medical supervision until the urge subsides, or at least until it goes into hiding. If you can ride the subway while still dissociating, you can do anything you set your mind to!

Cry on the subway. Cry on the street. Cry curled up on the couch during your seventh foreign language TV drama binge. Notice that every show has always featured death. Cry when people are looking at you straight in the eye. Don’t wonder if they noticed. Hide the bluebird in your heart.

Change careers. The details aren't important. Distract yourself with work so you don't think about suicide. Whoops, today's memorial is for a 17-year-old who took her own life. Cry during the eulogies of people you will never know. Pour a cup of coffee. Watch the sunset from your fire escape. Step in dog shit once.

Steal a kiss from 8 years ago. Steal one from the future. Tell yourself to return them to avoid any complexities. You've got a lot going on. Call your Dad on Valentine's Day and ask him why he broke your family, and listen to him reply, "it wasn't love, it was a convenience thing." Learn a bit about yourself by accepting his tragic flaws.

Finally find your Thai place and perfect your order. No, we still haven't tried the Pad Thai yet. Try writing four line poems again. Stop when anyone could read between the lines. Be angrier than you've ever been for no reason you can explain to anyone in words. “I'm doing OK. How are you?!”

Live vicariously through the children sledding after the season’s first snowfall. Host a “plant-based picnic” in Strawberry Fields with old roommates. Forget yourself in the bliss of an endless wander resulting in wine-mouth, sore cheeks, and gelato. Central Park is worth the hype. But wanna know what's even better?

Call the National Suicide Hotline. As many times as you need. Try their live chat function and immediately judge the app's user experience. (Careful, Zack. Your San Francisco is showing.) OK fine, I'll meet you in Times Square, but I really don't think we'll have fun. Forget how all social interactions work. Fail to make eye contact.

Pour a cup of coffee. Read up on adenosine blockers and realize your daily tribute to Paul isn't helping anymore. Wake up on November 11th. Has it been 7 years already? Today is a lucky day so add a bit of cinnamon. Maybe try decaf. Maybe try pour over. Maybe try a different hotline.

"Zack, it's so good to hear your voice. I miss you." Remember that despite your thoughts, you aren't trying to be seen. You're trying to be seen the way you wish you were.

Pour a cup of coffee for someone else this time. Iced, just the way they want it and get used to it. New Yorkers can be particular. Realize that though they’re not nice, they are kind. They are trying. And they’re moving the same as you.

And they’re moving the same as you.

4. Leave behind most of your things before the move. The less baggage the better. You really only need a bagel place to be happy. You'll figure the rest out like we all do—good luck!

If You Know Someone in Crisis, Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741)

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