05/10/2011 02:45 pm ET | Updated Jul 10, 2011

On Being a Hick

Let me get this straight: A snake escaped the Bronx Zoo and bit Spiderman who was attending the 800th preview performance of a play about Mormons?

Something doesn't sound right. When I lived in the city, only Peter Parker attended the theater and even then...

Oh forget it. There's just so much time I can take out of my empty schedule to keep up on New York. I visited the city recently resigned to the fact that I had no idea what's going on there.

I'm a hick.

You probably think no, that could never happen to you. But losing touch with New York happens to the best of us. Even the most mediocre of us have trouble keeping up. One thing about leaving New York, you take your eye off the city for 20 years and suddenly you're just totally out of it.

When you first move away, you swear to remain oppressively current on all things New York. Then time passes. Board of Ed chancellors change, murder rates on Law & Order eclipse those of the actual city, the mayor turns dietician, Yankees test positive, dogs inherit fortunes, a tree grows in Brooklyn and you wonder if you really need subscriptions to New York, Timeout New York, The New Yorker and The New York Times.

After you pare down, the void is filled by news from formerly irrelevant places, such as say, America or The World. You're amazed by how much goes on in the middle of nowhere. Meanwhile dispatches out of New York get so blurry and jumbled that when sketchy details waft past about someone dropping a Wal-Mart on the Great Lawn, it doesn't seem like the end of the world anymore.

And that's it. You're a hick.

By the way, tell me if I have this right: A month or so after several of the city's organized crime chiefs were arrested, they were replaced by a new capo named Anthony Carmelo who runs things pretty much on his own and leaves everything for the last second?

Again, something sounds off.

To my credit, I'm a pretty high-end hick; the kind who knows that Elaine Kauffman died at Lenox Hill Hospital as did Steve Martin at The 92nd Street Y. See? Some New York happenings keep me on the cutting edge of passé. But those breathless compulsions to know exactly how high the ceilings are in Charlie Rangel's (rent-controlled?) (illegal sublet?) (triplex?)...

Eh. Can't do it anymore.

Before my trip, I considered checking up on that so wrong-sounding story about the expectant couple hawking individual cigarettes from a window ledge at NYU.

But I didn't up on it.

When it's clear you're gone from New York for good, this weird phenomenon occurs in which home becomes the place where you live and the life you're living squeezes out the life you left behind.

Pretty berserk, I know. But honestly, it happens.