Ever have places you just could not live?
I spent yesterday with a colleague in NYC.
We were covering a running apparel fashion show.
I commented many times to my colleague that I could “never live in NYC.”
Not because I don’t like the city, but because I have rough associations with it — namely every time I had to make a big television appearance growing up as an IVF spokesbaby (yes, I made that term up) my parents and I had to travel to NYC.
I remember going in December, right around my birthday, to appear on ‘Good Morning America.’
I was about 10 at the time. The TV show put us up in a fancy hotel. A car picked us up and whisked away in the morning to the studio. I got my makeup done by the studio stylist. I remember she put foundation on my “too-pale for TV” father and she told my mother she had “cheekbones to die for.”
A comedian who was waiting to go on before me rubbed my face and told me I was “precious.”
I remember thinking TV was really, really weird.
The camera guys told me never to become a TV journalist. “And even worse if you work behind the camera!”
We sat on uncomfortable vinyl furniture and I answered the normal round of “do you feel normal? Do you feel special?” questions.
I hated those questions.
When my parents and I arrived home from our trip, there was a light blinking on our answering machine. It was the booking agent for the “Today” show.
“Saw you on GMA, and we simply MUST have you on,” she explained.
I didn’t want to go.
We went back to NYC and Katie Couric interviewed me. I was asked the same round of questions.
Those questions — probing to see if I was a “normal” kid just made me cringe inside.
My parents knew I hated it.
We saw Diane Keaton eating a table over from us that night.
We had a fancy dessert (or at least my 10-year old brain thought it was fancy).
And I remember thinking I just wanted to go home. Back to where people didn’t ask me if I was normal. Where it wasn’t crowded on the sidewalks. Where people didn’t put makeup on me. Where it was just me, Mom, Dad, and the dog.
It’s not NYC’s fault, but yesterday I felt the same sense of relief when we left the city as I did when I was 10. I guess you never outgrow some things.