Protected: Things bigger than me

•September 10, 2012 • Enter your password to view comments.

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Missing the shit times

•December 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

“The blistered hand of nostalgia gave my heart a good squeeze and I realized you miss shit times as well as good times, because at the end of the day what you’re really missing is just time itself.”

– Steve Toltz, A Fraction of the Whole

Post Script

•September 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Hello again Redhead,

Today I miss New York so much, I’m browsing Craigslist for apartments. I’m listening to Fleet Foxes’ “The Plains / Bitter Dancer” on repeat and it’s sounding like the soundtrack to The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and I’m missing the Met and remembering how I used to wander its halls every Friday evening to escape the loneliness of Barnard. Alone in San Francisco and craving the city on the opposite coast, it is hard to believe I was ever lonely in New York.

There was a time when I thought it impossible to be lonely in a city. In the country, sure, you are always alone with your thoughts and a stray bit of wind. In the city — oh, in the city, you are surrounded by everything and everyone. But no matter how much everything and how many everyones I encounter, I am still alone with my thoughts, alone with my grey Ikea couch and my solemn walks up California Street when San Francisco has shut down for the night.

I come back to my sentence from before: “It is one thing to make yourself at home, but it is an entirely different thing to find yourself at home.” San Francisco is a familiar place. But when will it be familiar out of warmth and not out of routine?

I am tired of being brave and pretending to live in the present when I know I live in the past.

– Co

For kids that think it still exists

•September 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Dearest Redhead,

Tonight was one of those nights when I lay sprawled out on top of a three-day-old pile of clean laundry on my Ikea couch and stared at the barrenness of my beige walls while LCD Soundsystem croaked “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” from the right speaker of my laptop in the corner of the living room next to Chris’ photo of a bespectacled Walkman-wearing fellow I once met in an Au Bon Pain in New Brunswick. This seemed like a good time to cry, but I’ve been dehydrated lately, so my body’s holding tears hostage until I down some more Bubba Gump-sized glasses of water.

I wanted to be in New York City for the hurricane. I wanted to be there when they closed down all the subway stations, I wanted to photograph taped-up store windows and complain about everything the way only New Yorkers do and pretend to tune you out as you energetically and academically discussed the city’s emergency response plans, all while jauntily walking over to the Apple Tree to stock up on potato chips (Baked Lays for you and Dad, sour cream and onion or salt and vinegar for me and Mom), Fizzy Lizzies, and Skinny Cow ice cream bars, which we’d have no choice but to eat quickly if the freezer lost electricity. I wanted to be in the city that’s always moving at that one rare moment when it became completely stagnant. I wanted to be connected to everyone and everything, not through Twitter and Facebook and (your favorite) NYTimes.com, but through actual experience. Mostly I just wanted to be home, but I wonder more and more these days where home actually is. (I’m crying now. Flood warnings in the laptop area!)

San Francisco is no New York. I tried to go to Walgreens yesterday after work and found out it closed at 6pm. Do you know of any Duane Reade that would ever close at such an obsequiously early hour? And once I walked an hour home from the train station at midnight on Saturday and only saw about ten people total. Granted, I wasn’t in any of the “clubbing” neighborhoods, but lack of clubs never stopped any New York neighborhood I know of from having people out and about on a Saturday night. San Francisco has this going for it, though: There are more sidewalks that twinkle like stars! But who will go dancing amongst them with me, at midnight on a Saturday when there’s no one else around? Who will help me keep time with the hum of the city crickets?

Have I told you about how I keep one ear open for identifying city crickets? In New York, it was always the chirping of the taxi meter churning out a receipt. On summer nights, with my bedroom window open and the ribbons of its curtain playing footsie in the shadows, I could sometimes hear the city crickets downstairs mark the end of your evening of gallivanting around your city, your Small’s and your Canfield’s. And when I fell asleep on Mom’s shoulder during cab rides home from one of the movie theaters by Lincoln Center, those crickets were there to tell me, “You can go upstairs and replace your comfy, comfy pillow for that carpet-bag-covered arm!”

San Francisco’s crickets, I’ve found, inhabit the cable cars’ metal tracks in the middle of the streets. They don’t chirp so much as tinker. They are industrial little crickets, steadfast yet comforting. They tinker all day long, but it’s only at night, when the streets are unsettlingly quiet in terms of foot and car traffic, that you can really hear them ticking. As I stroll along in solitude, sneaking a twirl or two on the dance floor of stars below me, San Francisco’s tinkering crickets keep me company.

I’m grateful for that. And for a city that offers new surprises each day, and predictable moments, like the shoe shiners I walk past on my way to work, who never seem to have any customers at 9:45am except each other. Still, I long for that sense of familiarity I had in New York. I have no Carol around the corner, no reliable sunset at the bottom end of the 1 line, no P&W’s, no sing-a-longs, no peacock-lined paradises. I don’t need a Cheers, where everyone knows my name, but is it so much to ask for just one place where anyone knows my name? The pig parts store doesn’t count, since they think my name is Dilia. I know, I know, it takes time. A year from now it will all be different. But a year from now is still a year from now.

It is one thing to make yourself at home, but it is an entirely different thing to find yourself at home.

Nostalging,
Co

P.S. I cringe as I write about New York in the past tense, particularly the sentence “In New York, it was always the chirping of the taxi meter churning out a receipt.” … “it was always” “it was always” “it was always” … I make it sound like my New York exists solely on an old VHS tape in a box in Mom’s garage that I can’t even watch because I don’t have a VHS player. But my New York is living and vibrant and ever-present and everywhere. It just occurred to me today that this is the longest I’ve been away from it in fifteen years, and the realization is hitting me like a gust of wind from the fan at the 168th St. 1 train station. Oowee!

Protected: On what this might be

•September 2, 2011 • Enter your password to view comments.

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July 25th, Attica, KS

•August 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

We stood outside last night remarking that the lack of stars meant there must be clouds.

We danced as we felt the first sporadic raindrops on our shoulders.

I thought the sky was sweating.

You are walking too slowly

•April 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Was my frustration apparent
In the way I cocked my head back,
Threw it to the sky,
And said, Aaaaaargh?
If so, oops.