It’s the late nights returning to Penn Station from dinners at Cranes and L'Ardente by Amtrak (a Happy Meal bundle of things you cannot afford) and haggling with a taxi driver because you know he’s trying to rip you off, but you’re committed to sending your friend home on a Via, an Uber, a Lyft (anything other than a subway to Harlem for a petite Asian woman with no battery on her iPhone, because you know she’s desperately exhausted and still needs to drive to Tarrytown first thing in the morning to carry vegetables and cook for people 200x richer in fiat, but 200th poorer in appreciation), when you learn that the actual market price to go from Penn Station to Harlem is $12±1 because you tried to anchor to the next driver who pulled up to hustle you for cash (you’re still trying to rationalize paying the other guy $15) –– do you realize how foolish you really are for thinking you cut a deal against Uber's $22 hostage fee.
Times like these, you learn that despite your Wharton education, despite your cushy tech and finance jobs (which everyone says you "courageously" gave up), despite your arrogant, entrepreneurial ambition, your Shopify balance is still unremarkably low, and you’re still the same financially insolvent NYC kid, hopping over the subway turnstile so you can get off on Marcy, just to reappear on the platform in exactly five hours to serve cold brews and oat milk lattes to the boys and girls who sat next to you in accounting just five eternities ago.
You may speak Parseltongue, but at the end of the day, you’re still a Hufflepuff.
Yet, these are the times where you feel the most alive, because despite it all, you’re tipping well (tipping better ironically), and you’ve discovered that Saturdays are more fun on Mondays anyway. But the biggest because, is when you say you’ll give anything for your friends, you can’t believe that your actions still march to the beat of your words.
And when they say they love spending time with you—even though you may be bipolar, even though they are so—fucking—tired, even though you promised them you’ll give up saying “fuck” for Lent—they still see you for who you are…. and you can’t possibly believe it.
If disbelief is the suspension of reality, it’s the best high, and there’s no better drug in the world.