Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Day Seventeen: One Foot in Front of the Other

Still trying to tackle a walk-in closet's worth of stuff, of the accumulated crap of my life. I pulled a couple of boxes out, boxes I haven't opened in years and found...well, crap I haven't looked at in years. I know, surprising. I found papers from college, a dean's list letter, pictures of people whose names I can no longer remember. It's amazing how time flies and goes and suddenly all of that is in the past. And the parts of the past that still matter, too. I also found pictures of friends from high school, an old letter from my roommate, that sort of thing. It's both fascinating and boring, really. And it's still all completely daunting. I keep waking up in the morning and then throwing myself back in bed, terrified at the totality of it all. I can't quite wrap my brain around it, or figure out exactly what needs to be done. I almost need someone else to come along and say, "Do this, and then this, and while you're doing that, I'll do this." That would be great, wouldn't it?

Yesterday, on my birthday, I went to Bryant Park and watched Jaws. It was great. Not just the movie, which rocks and never gets boring for me, but the whole experience. There were hundreds of people there. I went with my friend Andy. We met at the park at 5 pm, which is when they open the lawn. There were people lined up around the perimeter, all holding blankets and carrying picnic stuff. At 5 pm, it was like the Sooners heading into Kansas...or Oklahoma or wherever the Sooners were. We found our little patch of ground and sat on it for a couple of hours.

The highlight of waiting was this: electioneering. Anthony Weiner, who's running for the Democratic nomination for mayor, came out to press the flesh. As he was working the crowd, this other guy, Seth Blum, was also working the crowd. Blum is an NYC teacher, also running for mayor, as an independent with the Education Party. He was gathering signatures to get on the ballot. Seth sees Anthony and calls out, "Hey, Anthony! Great debate on Sunday [all the Democratic hopefuls had a debate Sunday morning]! Vote for Anthony in the Democratic Primary!" So Weiner thinks that he has a really vocal supporter and waves back. Then Seth says, "I'm running for mayor, too! Sign my petition to get on the ballot!" And Anthony is totally lost, trying to process that information. So he just turns his back on the guy. It was all pretty funny and neat to see. Politicians caught off guard.

Okay, I'm slowly making my way up the big hill. Step by step, slowly I turn...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Day Sixteen: You Say It's Your Birthday

Well, it's my birthday, too. Which is it is. My 32nd birthday. You want weirdness, look at your birthday, followed by 2005. Pure sci fi.

I'm back in "my" apartment, here to start wrapping up my life in this place. I've actually managed to resist the urge to stay in bed forever. Well, sort of resist. I'd had fantasies of getting up at 7:30, doing 450 crunches, blogging, maybe writing a little bit, and then getting down to work. I barely made it out of bed by 8:30 (after hitting the snooze button when my alarm went off at 8), I barely did 300 crunches (I haven't done any in almost a week). But I am managing to blog. That's something.

It's been good to be back here. Good to be fully back in my own space. But it's also so, so daunting. I'm trying to resist two urges: 1) to just say "fuck it", order up a dumpster and throw every goddamn thing into the trash without inspection, 2) to say "fuck it" and beg my landlord to let me stay, find a job and never leave. That last one isn't really an option, but there you have it. You always want what you can't have. Hell, you always want what you don't want.

I did the celebration of the birthday on Saturday night, with a ton of drinking and a mob of acquaintances. I'm not exactly sure why I have these parties. I do like parties, and I do like being a host, but it's always such a weird collection of people, and usually, a fair portion of those who show up are people I don't particularly care to see. Or have too much to talk about with. And then the people that I really want to talk to, I'm too busy to spend any time with. It seems like a fool's proposition or something. Or at least a set-up for disappointment. Especially since I never seem to hook up with anyone. Which isn't really what I want. Augh! All so complicated.

And, actually, it was my second night of serious drinking in a row. I had a pseudo-date on Friday night, that turned into a festival of drinking. The datee presents me with something of a dilemma. I don't particularly like her. She's kind of fun to hang out with, but mostly because I think she's nuts. But "nuts" isn't something that I need in my life right now...I don't think. But...she's interested and available. I think. I don't know what the hell to do about that. Part of me says "move on, you're not interested and you're not that hard up." Another part of me says, "you're exactly this hard up, and, plus it's an experience, why cut it off?" And I'm just not sure which way to jump on it. So to speak.

But today, all that matters is I'm officially 32 years old. Another year older. And definitely feeling like I'm creeping up towards the top of the rollercoaster. I just hope there isn't a shark pit at the bottom. And I hate rollercoasters. How the hell did they get me on this thing?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Day Fourteen: Getting off the couch

I actually have to begin the process of getting off my ass and getting to work on my old apartment and dumping stuff. I really have to get into it, starting tomorrow (which happens to be my 32nd birthday). But first, tonight, we drink! In (most likely) copious amounts! Woo and hoo!

Tonight's my birthday party. Traditionally, I've had it at my favorite bar in the city: McCoy's. It's the perfect Hell's Kitchen hole in the wall dive, with a kickass jukebox. But it's kind of small, and there's really no way to reserve a lot of space. So I've stepped up a notch and we're taking it to Dalton's (no website out there for them), which is owned by the same fella as McCoy's, a nice Irish guy named Paul. Bigger, better food. Hopefully, people will show up and I'll seem extra cool. Maybe even get a little lucky. We shall see.

I'm thinking about new ways of using this blog. While I like the straight-up journal aspect of it, I want to try to...expand what I do with it, what I write about, how I approach it. Things may get a little bit weird. Just so you know. Or I might start a new one? I don't know. But be prepared. Watch this space.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Day Thirteen: Hospitals suck.

Didn't blog yesterday, well, because hospitals are weird and strange places. We all know that they are. We're supposed to go to them to get better, to be made whole, but, basically, they're set up in ways that make that almost completely impossible. Maybe it's reverse psychology. Maybe the theory behind them is "let's make this place as unpleasant, uncomfortable and unwelcoming as possible so people will want to get better quickly and go home." Maybe. Or maybe they just suck.

To back up, the Deadbeat Dad (which is the absolute opposite of what he is, especially since I'm mooching off of him right now) has been having some heart issues. While I was out of town this summer, he had an angioplasty (I had to look it up myself; I've heard it before, but had no real idea what it was) and got some stents put in. He needed one more, though. So yesterday morning, the Deadbeat Stepmom took him down to the hospital he works in (an X-ray tech for north of thirty years: my whole entire life) and he had surgery. By all accounts, this is routine surgery at this stage in the medical game, and there was little risk of anything bad happening. Still and all, my presence (as the dutiful mooch...er, I mean son) was requested. And I dutifully complied.

However, as you might have guessed from where I started this off, I dislike hospitals, kind of intensely. I don't like the vibe of the places, I never have, even when I was a little kid and I'd go there to hang out with my dad. I got sick about ten years ago (my god, I'm old) and had to spend a couple of days in the hospital. That cemented it. I don't like them, and I certainly don't like just...hanging around in one. Which is what I had to do yesterday.

My dad's surgery was scheduled for absurdly early in the day, which, in my role as Deadbeat, I knew I wouldn't be there for, but I was expected to show up sometime after, at least to spell my stepmom, so she could come home and move the car. So that's what I do.

When I get there, the surgery's done and they're moving my dad to the recovery area. So we wait in the waiting room. That's a weird thing, too. Now this isn't the emergency room, so it's not really a high tension place. Most of the people who are here are like me, waiting for someone who's having a relatively routine procedure, something scheduled and planned in advance. We're all kind of bored and uncomfortable (because it's a hospital and comfort was the last thing on the designers' minds), but not really trying to connect with anyone, even the people we came with, because, well, frankly, someone could die and we all know it and we don't want to be caught thinking that, or be responsible for it. And there's somewhere else that we all want to be and we don't want to get caught being selfish, either.

As usual, my stepmom and I are the only interracial family in the place (my stepmom is white and somewhat...old. (I'd say "elderly" but she actually pretty spunky for an old lady)). So, also as usual, no one really knows that we're together. Which gives me a neat little view into the world. Remember that Eddie Murphy skit? The one where he puts on make-up and pretends to be white? It's kind of like that, when a Nice Jewish Lady (with a schmatte, no less) gets up and gives all the older white women cookies, ignoring, obviously ignoring, the darker skinned folks in the room. It's one of those New York gestures that's both cute and disgusting all at once.

Then another woman narcs on the whole lot of them, complaining to the nurse that there's supposed to be no eating the waiting room. Mighty funny.

Finally, the doctor lets us go back and see my dad and he seems okay, groggy, but good. Everyone seems relaxed and happy. I get that sense that I get on a plane. I'm not the best flyer in the world (I'm not the worst, either, but not the best) and the one thing that I use to keep myself from the full-on screaming mimis whenever the plane makes a noise is was the stewardesses (oh, excuse me, attendants). If they're not freaking out about it, if they're just going about their business, then it's cool. I'm not sure what I'd do if I saw one of them running up the aisle in a panic, though. Anyway, since everyone is cool (I almost wrote "backstage") in the recovery room, no one is urging us to say important things or hustling us out (a la the last bit in She's Having a Baby), then all is fine, my dad will be fine and I can go home. Except I can't.

I have to wait for him to get to his room. Thankfully, I get to leave and get something to eat while they do that, glom onto the free internet at Starbucks, etc. But then, back to the hospital I go. And I wait some more.

And finally my dad's in his room and seeming okay. A little tired, and who wouldn't be with people poking around in their innards all morning, and stitches and whatnot. But still, I sit there, with him, while my stepmom goes and gets some food for herself. And we proceed to have one of those conversations you only really have in a hospital. That's the thing about it. You're in a hospital. Death is prowling the halls and everyone knows it and all the art prints and pastel colors can't mask it. So you have these Serious Conversations that sort of mean something, or you want them to mean something, because, well, there's nothing else to do.

It was good to talk with my dad, and we were kind of continuing a conversation from a couple of days before, but still, there's always hanging over your head that in an instant something could start bleating, beeping, someone could come running down the hall and the whole thing could take a turn for the very much worse.

Still, I spent all day there. We watched most of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. My aunt and my almost-uncle (they're getting married in October) came up. And we all just stood there, semi-forced smiles on our faces, trying to, I don't know, pretend that we weren't in this utterly impersonal, antiseptic (which, yes, I acknowledge as good in a hospital), uncomfortable place, and that we're weren't all here against our wishes, really. Which is kind of the good part. We were there because my dad was going through something scary and uncomfortable and we were scared for him, but we didn't want him to be alone. Which is pretty decent of us, I must say.

Doesn't change the fact that, man, oh, man, do I hate hospitals.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The view from the couch... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Day Eleven: A Downside to the Deadbeat Lifestyle Choice?

Believe it or not, there might be a hidden downside to being a Deadbeat. I know, it seems amazing to think, but it may just be so. All of this doing nothing, living on the public teat, mooching off of your parents at 32 years old, sleeping in, all of this might have somewhat negative repercussions. And no, I don't mean bedsores.

I'm talking about dating. Or, the modern collolary to that olde-tyme activity: internet dating.

I have a profile on a common dating site. You know you've tried it. Every few months, I start feeling uppity and I send out some feelers (boy, that sounds real dirty in this context, don't it?). I poke around (can't escape the dirty stuff) and try to meet some chicks. Invariably, it goes the same way: I send out a few e-mails. If I'm lucky, I get a response back. We e-mail for a while...and then nothing. In three years (I'm serious, three years), I've had a grand total of two internet dates. Two. (Well, that's not wholly honest. One girl I met with three times, but knew after the first that I wasn't interested.)

So, of course, in my current state of deadbeatness, and with not much else to fill my time (you can only procrastinate for just so long), I decided to get back into it. I cruised the site (well, not dirty exactly, but scummy-sounding), and I found some interesting prospects. I sent some e-mails and then sat back to let the ladies come to me.

And, lo and behold, one very nice woman did. Out of something like six e-mails sent out, one came back. I'm not sure if that's a good ratio or not.

We corresponded for a few days, about once a day. It's the usual, semi-awkward initial conversation, you know. The kind of conversation you have with someone you meet at a party for the first fifteen, twenty minutes (the "and what do you do?" portion of the evening), but spread over five days. Getting to know you stuff.

Now, I'm a romantic, so I start the fantasy motor going and start handicapping the whole thing. Which is probably the biggest part of my problem. I'm figuring out what we have in common, what are the stumbling blocks to our successful union, what I'm willing to compromise on, what she'll have to learn to live with...all before we've spoken on the phone. Slick, lemme tell ya, slick. I do manage to keep this all to myself, though (not wanting to talk to anyone about my internet dating also helps with the discretion).

But, finally, she asks me about my living situation. Now, I've probably already blundered by mentioning that I'm moving. That's the opening. And now she's walked right through it.

What the hell am I supposed to say? I'm actually serious about that. I sit and think: well, I could lie...somehow. Downplay the whole thing. Say "Well, I didn't really have time to look for a place all summer and my landlord is kicking me out, but it's cool because I can crash with friends". And then what do I say when she finds out the "friends" are my parents? Um, I lied? Or if I say "relatives" instead of "friends"? Same thing. And do I want to start off this relationship on the basis of a lie? Isn't honesty supposed to be the best policy in all things, but most importantly in relationships and such? I was raised pretty right, at least for someone raised in Jersey.

But then...um, how fucking awful does the truth sound: "I'm moving out of my place to move in with my parents." Yeah, I can dress it up in all kinds of prettiness, all kinds of sparklers and whistles, but that's just silk hats on a pig, my downhome friends. And on top of that, I just "met" this chick (well, virtually "met"); do I want to get into my whole "I'm not sure what I'm doing with my life" stuff? And I've already done a little white lie with her and said I was "freelancing" (not "bumming around"). Why stop there? Why not just go whole hog and tell her whatever keeps the e-mails flowing and moves me closer to actual sex with an actual woman, and the possibility of...love, relationship, etc.? I mean, what the hell am I doing on an internet personals site if I don't want to get laid, right? Am I right or am I right?

And I'm right, but I'm, well, for a deadbeat, honest and relatively upstanding. I told, basically, the truth, but tried to make it sound as temporary and stopgap as possible (which it is....right?). I'm just crashing here for a little bit while I look for a new apartment.

Which, I think, also has the unintentional message of "Can I come crash with you? I'll eat all your food and not pay the bills! I swear!" Or at least I think so. I think it's unlikely I'll hear back from the nice lady. All because I chose to be (mostly) honest. It's the best policy, right? Am I right or am I right?

Honestly, it is kind of disappointing. Both in myself, in the world of dating (it's like the world you live in, only harsher and colder and filled with pitfalls), in the nice lady. I mean, okay, I'm not crazy, or a loser (really). I'm just going through some changes, relatively minor changes in my world. I'm not losing my mind and becoming a total flake or anything. Really. I don't even know how long this experiment can last for. And I look at it like an experiment (at least today).

But I can't really be comfortable with that, can I? With this choice (which is what it is, I made a choice to do this)?

But, also, can I blame her if she wants to back out slowly? I mean, I'm living with my parents. The idea of rushing back to my place for a quick snog is out of the question. It would mean spending all our time at her place, if we even got that far. Fifteen, twenty minutes into a conversation (not even a relationship) is pretty soon to figure out if you want someone in your space all the time. Or if you want to take the leap to seeing his parents all the time. I mean, come on. It makes perfect sense, doesn't it.

Yeah, and it still sucks. Or whatever. I gotta keep in my mind that we're twenty minutes in. At this point, it's like she wandered off to get a drink and didn't come back when I went into a rant about how awful the end of The War of the Worlds is (and it is awful). No harm, no foul, really. And the lesson: save the deadbeat stuff for later. Having a good cover story isn't necessarily a lie. Is it? If I'm way off base here, somebody say something. Please.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Day Ten: Inertia? I hardly know her!

See, inertia's the problem. At least today. After a week of nearly total inaction, I'm trying to spring into action and not springing very well. This is the downside of the deadbeat lifestyle choice. When you want to do something, actually want to achieve something, well, then that's when it gets tricky. I'm back in my apartment, and I suppose I should be preparing better to move out, but I'm not really sure where to start. How do you start to unravel eight years' worth of stuff, of life, especially when so much of it, you're happy just to chuck? You don't, apparently. You look at the mess, throw up your hands and play with your computer some more. At least, that's what I do.

In the back of my head, I know I should cut myself some slack (I guess). I'm still a bit in vacation mode, in "blow it off" mode, in true deadbeat mode, putting my faith in the universe to help resolve some of this stuff. Is it just a matter of getting off my duff and getting to it? Maybe. Maybe some.

But, it's also, in the larger sense, what do I want my life to look like. How do I want to live it. I've lived most of the last decade in a certain way: full, full days, rushing from place to place, stacking up appointments and plans, squeezing things in where I can, and not taking a whole lot of time just to sit around and watch t.v. or even to just sit around. Is what I'm feeling now the residue of that? The urge to revert to that? Or is that life a better life for me? One that I want to live? I just don't know. I just don't.

This blog is turning into...what? Therapy? My journal? It's funny. I've always been bad about making journal entries. I'm better about this (so far). Why? Because someone, somewhere might just read it? I don't follow through unless it's public? I don't know! So many things that I don't know!

But, I do know this: I'll figure them out. Won't I? Won't I?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Day Nine: Crushed By The City

The city beat me yesterday. It's been a while since that happened. I attempted to do a simple thing: go from my parents' place to my place to drop off some stuff before heading out to meet some friends for booze and karaoke. This is normally easy, a twenty-five minute trip. It took an hour and a half. An hour and a half, mostly made up of waiting. By the time I got home, I was beaten. And then it started pouring and the lightining was coming down right outside my window and I thought, Karaoke just ain't worth it. So I stayed in. Like a good, little deadbeat.

Actually yesterday was a day of deadbeating and not. I had dinner with my mom, my brother and sister. That was actually kind of fun. I hadn't seen any of them in a while and it was nice.

But then I tried to move around the city and it conspired against me.

One interesting thing: as I waited for one of the many forms of transportation I attempted to take, an argument broke out behind me. Not one of those big, violent things, but a real argument between lovers. It started off with her bitching about how late she was going to get home because of the train weirdness and how they should have never gone to Connecticut. That set him off. Apparently her disdain for his friends was finally too much. They were off to the races, deconstructing their whole relationship and where they were with each other. She tried to say it was just a rough patch, but he wasn't really buying it.

I had that thing, that I think most everyone gets: I wanted to watch. I stood with my back to them, but wanted to just plop down and watch it unfold. And try to figure out the innards of it. It was an interracial couple, and I wondered how much that had to do with it. I wanted to see how it all turned out. But that's a great way to get popped in the face, you know. Strangers in the middle of possibly breaking up really don't want an audience. So when our bus (finally!!) came, I moved away. But I still want to know how it turned out.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Day Eight: A Deadbeat Crisis of Faith

I'm having a minor (or maybe major) crisis of deadbeat faith. Well, more accurately a little, tiny, low-scale...um, panic attack? I guess that's the right word. About money. As in, I don't have any (well, none coming in reliably) and I have one last big debt hanging over my head. I owe my landlord a fair sum of money, to be paid up by the time I leave. I can maybe squeeze a few extra days out of him, but still. I gotta pay it up. And I gotta, you know, eat, and live and such before I move out, and I have to figure out storage and yeah, right now, this whole deadbeat lifestyle choice is feeling a little reckless, a little foolhardy and, um, bad. Who the hell wants to have a panic attack at 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday? No one, that's who. Least of all, a professed deadbeat. Listen, I do trust in the universe and all of that (I dabble in zen-ness), and I know that it all comes out in the wash and all of that, but still. RIght now, I'm just trying to figure out how this is going to work out. And it don't look good. Or more to the point, it don't feel good.

But what are my options? This is the true downside of the deadbeat lifestyle choice: this lack of control. I think I just have to ride this out. This is all part of the experiment, I guess.

Sorry to freak out on y'all (my multitudes of readers). Just needed to vent a little.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Day Seven: A Deadbeat Crossroads?

I think I am coming to a bit of a crossroads, and none too soon. I've been lazing and lounging and eating poorly and drinking too damn much and, frankly, not being very mature or consistent or any of those things. I've been just too much of a deadbeat, I think. Is there a limit? Is there a ceiling on the amount of fecklessness one man can stand? Maybe there is. Which is surprising...sort of.

Now, I know I'm a deadbeat, but I attempt to at least maintain some semblance of healthy-ness. I do crunches in the morning. 450 of 'em. Not superhuman, but not too shabby, I don't think. But this morning...I just gave up. I've been eating so much crap, and drinking a lot of beer, and my body just said, "Uh...nah. Not today." This is not good. This is, I guess, a bit of a wake-up call. This has been vacation, really. Next week, I buckle down...a little bit.

I start moving out of my place next week and that's going to be a bit of Herculean task. Seriously. The cleaning of the Augean Stables, it may not be, but it's close. Eight years of crap, and my apartment is big. Very, very big. So I've expanded to fill the space. It's a scary sight.

Yesterday, I met my future ex-downstairs neighbor for a farewell beer in the nabe. She's moving out as we speak. We both moved into the building in Sept. 1997. It was good to hang out with her, but also sad and strange. Eight years is a very, very long time. So many things have changed, in the world, in ourselves, in that time. It's odd that it's all coming to an end.

Expect more of these kinds of posts, as I start sorting through the detritus, flotsam and jetsam of nearly a decade in one place. It's going to be fun ride.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Day Six: Lunchtime Blogging

I'm in the kitchen, making a couple of hot dogs for lunch. Very exciting stuff. This part really does bring me back to being a kid, making hot dogs for lunch. Only kids make hot dogs for lunch, or get hot dogs made for them. Sure, I've wolfed down my fair share (more than my fair share) of street dogs, rushing from one place to another, but I honestly can't remember the last time I sat down and cooked up a couple of hot dogs. They may not be Papaya Dogs but they'll do.

Didn't blog yesterday, because I was, uh, out actually doing stuff. And by "stuff" I mean, spending money I don't have, drinking beers I didn't need to drink and generally wandering around midtown. Oh, and ogling women. Yes, I'm an elightened, post-twentieth century, '90s-sensitive-ponytail (sans the ponytail) feminist guy and I do indeed ogle women on the street. I make all attempts to be polite and discreet when I do, though.

Last night, I made my journey to my first Drinking Liberally. It was...fun, but not exactly what I expected and yet, kind of what I expected. I think, really, in New York City, at least, it's kind of a moot point, you know. Maybe on the Upper East Side or down in the Battery, it might be a necessary thing, but in Hell's Kitchen, the bluest of the blue, well, it's kind of like any night out, you know. Maybe there were intense political discussion going on around me, but I was pretty much caught in general "and what do you do" conversations. Honestly, I'd be more surprised to run into a conservative out in a bar in New York than a liberal/Democrat, you know. I guess I was expecting a very cutting edge, totally political scene, but it was more casual and certainly more "cruise"-y than I expected. I tried out the same joke (I should have worn my Paul Hackett button) and got blank stares all around. Okay, it's not the best joke in the world, but come on. If you're going to something called Drinking Liberally, you should be up on these sort of things. Or maybe not. I think I live in a different world than most. Liberal dogma is pretty much the air I breathe. I guess for people in other industries and such (one woman I met was a financial analyst) you don't get to be around too many like-minded folks. I should probably just go easy on them, huh?

Nah. Wankers.

Kidding. I'm kidding.

Sort of.

Anyhoo...my very summer-y, very kid-like lunch (two hot dogs with mustard, ketchup and relish and Lemonade) is done. I guess I should be semi-productive. Or just retreat to my room to watch The Life Aquatic or The Office. Either way...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Day Four: Where does the time go?

Seriously. How can it be 9 a.m. already? And, as a deadbeat, what the hell am I doing up? Oh, right, my stepmom is very concerned about the phone guy coming to work on the phone jack in "my" room (the room previously known as the "office"). The phone guy's supposed to come sometime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., so that means we have to be up and ready for him. But, lo and behold, he's not here. Of course, if I hadn't gotten up, there would have been a knock at 8:01, I'm sure. Can't win for losing.

And I had to make sure "my" room was clean. Lest the phone guy think less of us and our good name is sullied in this town. Sullied!

Of course, all of this is a rant about my stepmom waking me up at 8 a.m. on a weekday (in the immortal words of
the Dude: "Is this a...what day is this?"). If that's not the hallmark of being a deadbeat, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Day Three: Taking It Slowly

Today, I'm making my (slow, slow, ever-so-slow) return to the land of the living. Well, the land of the gainfully employed. The thing about sending a mass e-mail saying "I'm back in town" is that you get a whole whack of responses, and then you have to respond to them, and then you make plans to catch up with people and all of a sudden, you've gone from an open appointment book (or Palm Pilot) to a very full dance card. Where's the balance? Where's the easing into it? Not for me, I guess.

I'm back in the living room. My stepmom is practicing piano (she teaches music). Man, it's like being a kid again, huddling in my room, listening to loud music while my stepmom does something classy and cultural. I fight back with eardrum-rupturing blink-182 (okay, it ain't Anthrax, but it'll do, right?). Take that, Mozart...or whoever.

I guess this is living with my folks. People who have never fully accepted that I can actually live on my own. But, then again, I'm 31 (almost 32) and not living on my own. Who's right here? Hard to tell...

But today, I was the dutiful family person. Called (almost) all of my immediate family to let them know I was back in the city. I have a large-ish family that's a bit...well, estranged isn't a bad word, but a little strong. We just don't know each other well. Not really. But I called my older brother, my younger sister, my mom. I was going to call my brother's sort-of-ex-wife, the mother of my niece, and my other sister, but I didn't get to them yet. That's this afternoon's work. And then maybe some writing.

My brother, who's a fine artist, and I were talking about art and the difference between the fine art world and the theatre world, which I work in. I'm not sure if we were clear about what's different, or even right. It's hard for those conversations to not turn into "the [art/theatre] world sucks because I can't get ahead in it." But there are some pretty stark differences. Differences in attitude and expectations. I feel like the art world expects its artists to be inscrutable, distant and complex. The patrons like the feeling of not really understanding what the hell they're looking at. Whenever my brother talks about his world, his work, any of it, it all sounds like term papers to me. Snippets of doctoral dissertations.

Theatre, for all of its many problems (like
this), feels (to me, anyway) like accessibility is more important. The patrons want access to the artist, they want it to be enjoyable and present in the room. At least in the mainstream circles (the more downtown circles are more like fine art anyway). But, then again, that may be the view from the other side of the candy store window.

PS: So that link there, that's my first attempt at hyperlinking. Hopefully someone, someone somewhere will use it and make me feel special. Or at least let me know that it worked.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Day Two: How to become a Deadbeat

So I've migrated to the living room. I'd sit on the couch, but it's actually better to sit on the floor and use the couch as a desk. My folks have all of these glass-topped tables in their living room and it makes me a little nervous to type on them. So I'm typing on the couch.

I guess I should give you (my many, many, dozens of millions of readers) a little bit of background on how I've landed here.

Choice. Conscious choice.

See, I've been, well, a model of stability (of sorts) for nearly a decade. I kid you not. I moved to NYC from college ten years ago in January. In that time, I've had two full-time jobs, lived in one apartment (mostly), had two roommates, two phone numbers, haven't been out of NYC for more than a week or two at a time (and, I'm sure, less than three months cumulatively).

I would lose track of friends for months, as it goes, and when I got back in touch with them, it would always go the same way:

Re-discovered Friend: So...what's new with you?

Me: Oh. Well. Nothing really.

R.F.: Still living in the-

Me: Yup. Same place.

R.F.: And you're still working at-

Me: Yeah. New title, but doing the same stuff, really.

R.F.: Ah.

(Long pause. The sound of crushing boredom)

So, I decided to make some changes. Well, a lot of changes. All at once. I left my job, and took a summer gig out of town. I sublet my apartment for the summer and told my landlord I was leaving when my lease is up in September. My summer gig ended on Saturday and I came back to NYC without a job, without a place to live and with virtually no savings.

Sound exciting? Well, it is.

I really don't know how this is going to turn out. I don't know if I can handle this uncertain a life, if I want this, any of it. But, for right now, I'm certainly enjoying the feeling that I don't need to be anywhere or doing anything.

Except getting some breakfast. I could use some breakfast.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Day One

It's 1:31 pm. I'm in my pajamas, in my parents' "extra" bedroom. I have no plans to get out of bed today. Even to watch the Yankee game on my parents' big screen t.v. (I'm keeping track online).

Today, I'm officially a deadbeat.

I'm unemployed. I have about a hundred bucks in the bank. The lease on my apartment is up at the end of the month. I have neither looked for a new job, nor a new apartment.

And I couldn't be happier.