The first time I went to New york my dad was supposed to pick me up at the airport. He got frustrated and angry due to a miscommunication, so I told him not to come get me and left the airport. After one night in a hotel and a bus to Grand Central Station I had maybe a dollar in my pocket.
What I did have was an address for an infoshop cut from the list on the back of some newsletter for me before I left. It didn’t take me long to realize that streets in New York aren’t numbered the same as in Portland, but I made it. Walking in right at closing with a 2 year old on a skateboard, on a pile of stuff in a stroller, with little bags hanging off the side I was immediately asked by the woman working, “You need a place to stay don’t you?” She took us home with her that night.
The next day at the infoshop Thadeaus and two other guys were there hanging out. We quickly got to the topic of Portland. The first thing Thadeaus asked was whether I knew this or that bike punk or anarchist kid from there. I responded to one of those name with a story and he said, “you’re coming with us.”
That moment reveals a lot about what I know of Thadeaus. He creates the world around him through human connections and is ever ready to hook people up with what they need. Anytime I have a friend or friend of a friend who needs a place to stay in New York he’s always the first one to say yes, this is what I’ve got. If I or they need anything else in the city he’s always the most solid resource, this is even for people he hasn’t met.
When he took me and my then 2 year old back to the apartment the first thing I remember is a hefty bag of dumpstered vegan donuts. We were so happy! They had our favorite ones that we could never get because they were too expensive. We probably ate all of the glazed ones in the bag. We slept on the roof with a view of the city and talked about politics and friends until we fell asleep. I know that’s what we talked about partly because that’s what we always talk about and partly because I can still remember. The city was so amazing from the rooftop.
Things have never been weird between me and Thadeaus. This is worth pointing out because there’s little bits of weirdness between me and lots of friends, especially male friends. Less so amongst this particular loop of anarchist kids because there are conventions in place that support respect of women in a different way than in other circles. As well as just more effort towards equality and people seem to recognize the work of mothering a little better too. Even when I went and met my dad after those few days a lot of the male friends I’ve had would be weird and question me about it or show disappointment, or somehow create weird energy around it. Thadeaus has never done anything like that.
That’s probably a big part of why we’ve been friends so long. We’ve had lots of fun too! Spending all day at Kinkos printing copies of zines from Portland for New York and from New York for Portland. Visiting gardens all over the city with him explaining their history and the fight to save them. Helping the little bit bigger girl be brave in the dark underground heading into a squat. I cried when I had to leave that spot and no one would have ever taken us there or anywhere else like it if he hadn’t.
My daughter is almost thirteen now. We make a point of visiting Thadeaus anytime we go to NYC and I don’t see that stopping. Mostly that’s because real friends are the best thing ever. And also that he’s willing to put out at least as much effort as we are to meet up. He feeds and houses us and shows us the freest version of the city I can imagine. Willing to share all he has and all he knows, as far as I can tell, and was willing to do that from the very beginning even with what could have been a crazy two year old in tow.
- A. Rose