Sunday, January 31, 2010

Generation gap

An eerie feeling came over me yesterday as I was walking through the Lower East Side. Suddenly I was acutely aware that although my daughter C and I have been occupying the same physical space for much of the past 19 years, we actually live in totally different realms within that physical space. My New York is my workaday office and the grocery store and the drug store and the dungeonlike gym I frequent. My life takes place mostly by day. It is a pleasant, familiar, slightly boring existence, brightened by an occasional phone call or visit with friends. My daughter, by contrast, inhabits an entirely different layer of New York. She has a vast web of friends networked by Facebook and iChat and BBMs that is humming in the background all the time. While Whole Foods is my idea of an indulgence and Filene's a splurge, her eye is riveted to the boutiques and designer showrooms that dot the East Village now. That's when she's awake during daylight. Most of her "real" life takes place at night—in bars and clubs and diners. We're like the Eloi and the Morlocks in H.G. Wells' Time Machine. If she weren't my daughter, I would never know her.

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