Bye-bye, N.Y.

THERE is no New York City today. I am on the 45th floor and I can prove it. All morning long, the city around me has been appearing and disappearing in the fog and steam. I look up from my book and a skyscraper vaporizes. I might as well be at the top of the Himalayas, or in a spacecraft. I am safe in the midst of the city.

This is the sort of day we all need to claim. I used to have to turn off the phone when I started taking these days for myself. I don't have to anymore. The world simply leaves me alone for 24 hours. It always returns the next morning, but I've trained it and myself to take time off from each other.

But this is extraordinary. In Los Angeles the city never disappeared. It just ignored me. In London, well, that city is always ephemeral at best, and when I lived there I was still rushing at life. I hadn't yet learned how to play hard-to-get. And in Washington, D. C., I simply was never powerful enough to attract that city's attention. But here in New York I've found a balance. I feel pursued by this city, courted in fact. And yet the city knows how to give me my space, as we say in my country, L.A.

But I never expected the whole of New York to disappear. Just for me.

I'm impressed.

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