When I first moved to New York, the habit kicked in as I was filling out paperwork for my internship – but I caught myself, and decided to ask the HR coordinator if it would be OK to list my mother first, and then switch it later. It was January of 2012 and I knew nobody in the city. I had figured I'd wait until I met more people, and then go from there. The coordinator suggested I pick someone more local – a roommate or landlord, perhaps?
So I listed my roommate, who I'd known for a total of 48 hours at that point, and didn't even tell her about it. And as the years have passed, I never changed it; at some point, I forgot about it. Between 2012 and now, I've worked in the same building and lived in the same apartment with that same roommate, and somewhere along the way, I settled into a routine of "going through the motions." Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with New York the way a person "falls in love" for the first time at 16: infatuation mixed in with excuses for the moments that don't feel quite right.
And then, slowly, over time, I fell out of "love." And then, suddenly: a break-up.