Saturday, July 22, 2006

SSN Interviews Jancee Dunn...

When I was growing up, my New Jersey town - Chatham, by the way - was only about an hour's drive from New York City, but we went in exactly once a year, and we did, as you say, the whole Suburban New Jerseyite Tour - Rockefeller Center, lunch in Chinatown. I vowed that I would live there, even though thanks to my father, I had a healthy fear of New York. He painted this dark picture - actually it was more of a nineteenth-century Five Towns picture of pickpockets, confidence men, flim-flam artists - so I didn't know if I had the guts to ever move there. When I got the job at Rolling Stone in the late 80s, they didn't pay editorial assistants that much so I commuted from my folks' house, taking the bus every day to Port Authority. I finally moved to town a few years later and I still marvel: what the hell was I so afraid of? Now I really feel like a New Yorker, although I've only lived here twelve years. Does that make me one? My best friend Julie - I write about her in the book - says that you're a true New Yorker if you travel to other places and the first thing you announce is, 'it's not New York.' Which is exactly what I do.

The other day, there was a rat on my subway platform, and he was just calmly waiting for the train along with the rest of us. When the train pulled up, he went over to the door and everyone was just convulsing with laughter, yet everyone was sort of horrified, too. At the last minute, the rat changed his mind. But it really brought everyone together. It's a beautiful story, isn't it?

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