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It's humiliating enough that European tourists, marveling at the decline of the dollar, treat a visit to New York like a trip to the factory outlet. Mike Albo, in the latest installment of his occasional column, channels an even more annoying type: the returning expat.

Hola! Hola! Over here! Aqui! Ha! This is so funny to run into you in the Meatpacking District because I was just telling my lover, my partner, mi novio de vida, Javier, about how this area with all its sad ignorant outdated displays of excess seems not only so depressing but also a signal of the upcoming deep recession that America is about to face, and then YOU round the corner, wearing some crazy expensive Marc by Marc thingie, holding, what is that, a Magnolia Bakery cupcake? What is this, 2005? Ha it's just too funny! You have the most precise comic timing.

Of course I said all this to Javier all in Spanish, because mi amante, Javier, and I speak to each other in fluent Espanol.

Hm? Yes, yes, he estado viviendo en Espana, si si. We just flew in to the city, me and Javier, just to kind of stock up on all the cheap fare available to us here in New York. Like a luxury apartment!

We just read
">articles about how even Irish people with discolored teeth are buying apartments in the city, and we had to make a viaje over here.

We were really just interested in getting some investment property, something simple and basic, for like $1 million. But you know, even if we end up not buying this place, the savings we have garnered from shopping actually pay for our trip!

It's like the Meatpacking District is a Cairo Bazaar! All the cheap trinkets and local food! All the sweet local folk in their Theory and funny large winter hats! We went to Pastis, dropped some coin at Alexander McQueen and Illy, fingered the gleaming baubles at the Apple store and spent nary a Euro! Tee hee! I have never felt so free!

All I can say is thank God I transferred my lifesavings into Euros. I don't know what I would do if I were here, where the price of a simple latte is practically the amount I pay to fill the tank on my elegant Vespa! It's funny how much a country can change when you are gone, and its currency can become more worthless than Dinars.

I mean there's still lots of opportunity here in the U.S. for creative monolingual people like you. Like I am sure you are finally writing for television like you had always talked about. There's always the safe, constant industry of Hollywood!

Huh? Really?

Oh that's too bad. Guess I haven't really been keeping up with the news here.

Hey! Let's make lemonade! Maybe it will be like early 90s, during the last recession. You can hang out in coffee shops and think of surreal lyrics for indie rock songs and stuff. You always talk about how cool things were then.

I know for myself, the periods of strife in my life, (like when I was in my 20s and had that really hard month without a fulfilling job and love?) have made me a stronger person. And if there is anyone who I think is so so so so strong it's you. You are a really strong, strong person. No you are.

Sorry to get so emotional and serious. Its just I have really become more open and European since I have been out of America? Does that make sense?

I won't keep you. You do what you have to do. I'll let you know when we are in town again. Besos.

Photo by Trevor Little.