Thursday, May 03, 2007

You Got a Fast Car, I Got a Plan to Get Us Out Of Here

A lot's happened lately in the smokin ' hot life of Auto-Win . Not "good things" necessarily [besides the Marie Claire article, yow!!!], like winning the lottery or surviving cholera, but "things that've occupied significant mind-space." What follows is the result of "space-mind."

[Speaking of space; moved on Monday night, with assistance from the Man-with-a-van, Little Fierce Haviland, Tara "I Haven't Worked Out in a Year But I'm Still 10 x Stronger than Fitness-Fanatic Marie" D, and my new Angelic roommates Ryan and Zoey. I'm still unpacking, a.k.a. co-existing with chaos, but I'm gonna be happy here. It's delightful. I haven't been this close to a New York Sports Club since '04!!]

However, I learned a lot about myself while packing, e.g., I own eight sticks of Secret deodorant and six travel-sized tubes of toothpaste. This means I often leave home unsure if I've adequately transformed my body's natural bacterias from "gross" to "powdery/minty freshness" and I attempt to immediately remedy this at my local Duane Reade. Because of "love thy neighbor," etc.

Today on This Automatic Life: MY GREAT ESCAPE PLAN


"[W]hen you are twenty-two or twenty-three, you figure that later you will have a high emotional balance, and be able to pay whatever it costs. I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month."
-Joan Didion, "Goodbye to All That


There's this sensational moment in Beverly Hills 90210 when Brenda discovers that Kelly n' Dylan have been riding the hobby horse and she's like: "Look, I hate you both. Never talk to me again!" and walks off into the California sunshine. Next season, Brenda's in London. Poof!

[I fully realize the lead sentence of that graf is possibly the best way EVER to begin a sentence.]
[Besides: "So, I saw America's Next Top Model at the gym today ... [or "Last night, while Haviland and I lay naked in a field of poppies..."]

I really liked that scene, so I re-enacted it in 1997 by running away to boarding school. All my friends cried. Leaving home felt like actual flight, even though we drove there and I cried for the first three days and wouldn't let my Mom go home. Luckily [!!!] I still wore ski caps then--every day, even in the summer, ALWAYS--so no one could see my puffy eyes anyhow.

The point is: even if we haven't personally been betrayed by Dylan+Kelly, we've all felt like walking off into the sunshine sometimes. It's an itchy instinct: you face disaster, heartbreak, challenge, loss -- you flee -- If the life you lead is not the one you dreamed about, then flee. [-Micheal Cunningham, A Home at the End of the World]


Like many New Yorkers, I've dreamt of living here all my life. [Read: threatened to run here all my life.]

Now when I get pissed off, I can't say I'm leaving you for New York City! so I just say really crazy things, cause what do you say when you're already living out your escape plan?

I think we've all got our "Screw it all, I'm moving to ______" plans/threats. Right? Yeah.

Ryan, mid-mental-breakdown, often announced he was: becoming a monk or moving to Africa to feed the children because food is the only joy in my life now, and I'd like to share that joy with others. Krista fantasized about a custom-built lakeside house in the woods, in Northern Michigan, Scot often threatened to flee for Chicago [home of his brother and The Cubs]. My Mother's announced more than once that she's moving to Australia: we have family there, and the gays can marry.

What's your great escape plan?


Plan of Escape:
Or, What I Think About When I Think About Saying Goodbye to All That

Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying


Bring it Back Home Y'all: Michigan
This's a common narrative thread in my blog. You know the deal: no DSL (or DHL), no Duane Reade, no MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF KICK-ASS FUN, no Haviland, no Tasti-D-Lite. Possible job involving pantyhose, e.g., a cubicle, GM, Bob Evans.


Reno, Nevada:
I haven't spoken to Kim in two months. Somehow, because I too have delusions, I still imagine her going "sure, friend, come stay!"


Flowers in Hair, etc. ..San Francisco, California:
Reno's appealing partially cause it's close to San Francisco. I imagine many New Yorkers threaten to move to San Fran when times are tough. Some people threaten L.A., but those people are not the kinds of people NYC wants anyway. Like, take your sunshine and your plastic body parts and your smoothies,whatevs, see you at the End of Days, suckers.

Which leads me to this hypothesis:

The most common escape-routes of New Yorkers are, in order of popularity:

1. San Francisco
2. London
3. The suburbs
4. Home, wherever that is. Sometimes, home is "New Jersey," but that doesn't stop you.

"My God, how much there was then to leave behind and forget."
-Rilke, "The Prodigal Son"
No-Sin City. Las Vegas, Nevada:
I don't understand the appeal of gambling. I'd only gamble if it somehow involved Scattergories, but even then, I'd rather just chill and play the game. [Which I'd Automatically Win, P.S.] Isn't money enough of a game as it is, and therefore, isn't gambling kinda meta? And therefore
Already Over?], TB and I enjoy tossing about the moving-to-her-parents'-house-in-Vegas idea. Like Jack and Diane, Sid and Nancy, Jack and Dean, and Waldo of Where's Waldo?:

"I could be a bartender, and you can be a cocktail waitress."

[Relationship metaphor, anyone?]

When we aren't working or sexing, we'd be writing/reading. A few miles away, lights would continue blinking, cash-ching-chinging, coin-clattering, pop-crooner-gay-magician-showing, but in our hideaway, all that would feel so far away from our Waking Life that it'd almost not exist whatsoever.

Challenges include: TB's employed in NYC, The U-Haul joke, and if Al Queda attacks, they're definitely hitting Excalibur or Tropicana first. After totes smashing the hell out of Circus Circus. Not that we'd be in any of those places, but we could be passing through on our way to the library .

"You got a fast car/I want a ticket to anywhere."
-Tracy Chapman, 'Fast Car"

Astoria, Queens, New York City, New York:
Astoria's practically on a different planet, just because I know if I lived there, I'd never leave my apartment. I'd start thinking about the Q train and get super overwhelmed and need to lay down. So I'd lay down and stare at the walls of my big 500-dollar room, drink something fizzy with a lemon twist--and decide to stay in Astoria. Maybe I'd go out with
Vater, cause she always meets weirdos in Astoria at the Athens Cafe. Then I could start a blog about being a twentysomething upwardly-mobile entry-level-employed savings-accounted gal in the big city, except it'd be about Vater's dating life, not mine. That would be the "twist." To seperate it from the other 65 already up on that topic.

Summer Camp:
I don't know if I'm qualified to teach a child to do anything besides how to cook Easy-Mac, but it'd be fun to be like C'mon kids, lets go eat worms! and stuff. Or direct plays. Or make poetry and lanyards. Then I could get away from all you people and be around the children because Children are the Future, just like Whitney said. Also, I imagine getting very tan and sheperding the cool kids into the counselors-only area to smoke and talk about lesbian sex.

"We were all delighted, we all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing our one noble function of the time, move."
-Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Wilmington, Ohio:
My Grandparents wanted all their grandchildren to land in a top-tiered University, and if not: Wilmington College. Even sans college, they'd take me in with open arms and I'd feel like the Best Grand-Daughter Ever. But sometimes it gets so quiet there at night that trucks whizzing by are comets through a cornfield; I get scared all over. Like all that space, that quiet must hold a really dark secret. Also, I'd find a way to go into debt at Wal-Mart or Odd-Lots.


" 'I'll be thinking of you,' he'd say at the door,
while already he'd be in his car,
singing, the music all the way up."
-Stephen Dunn, "Often The Pleasures of Departure"


Wherever Ryan Is:
He won't disclose. Apparently it's top-secret. [Still more reassuring than last year, when he lived in Beirut.]


With Ryan's parents on the ranch in Oklahoma, regardless of Ryan's actual location:
Because it's beautiful there, and I love Christy and Ted and Grandmother. I'd be like, Lets go round up the horses! or whatevs. Chop chop! Gallop! Then we could go into town 'cause there's tons of good food there if you like BBQ Ribs and coronaries. Also, Poteau, Oklahoma is home of the world's highest hill [in Ryan's backyard!]. If it were one foot taller, it'd be a mountain.


"My wife has disappeared along with her clothes."
-"My Wife," Raymond Carver


Anyone who grew up in a Midwestern state without any of it's own super-hip-cities [e.g. Michigan, Indiana] knows that Chicago's always the default escape route. Everyone's got a friend or two in Chicago. I've got like: six [I rarely talk to, which doesn't make them any different from my friends here]. Ingrid would take me in. She'd cook me filet-with-fancy-sauce and I could read her Harper's and New Yorker and listen to The Roots while Ingrid furthers her Art History knowledge. I could work for Oprah or Barak Obama. Or both.


Eugene, Oregon:
Everyone's happy here, I think. You can't be like "Oh, I'm sad, and I live in Eugene." Right?


Missoula, Montana:
Delp, our Interlochen writing teacher/surrogate father, often scoffed at our stress over the college admissions proccess, admonishing that if we knew what was good for us, we'd move to Montana, where we could fish and write all the time. I've never been, but he was right about everything else, you know?


That being said: I've got no escape plan right now. This is good: right here. This apartment, these roommates. My friends. Whatever life I build for myself over the next month. TB, striving towards perfection, etc. All of us, all of us, all of us.


Razia said...

Wow I really hate to be the bearer of bad news but the gays can't marry here, federally at least coz our PM - who is like wannabe Bush - changed some constitutional stuff bc he obviously like has a defective brain in addition to his small peen. However, state laws in Victoria have some sort of de-facto "civil ceremony" type thing. Alas, that's the only thing about Victoria that's to like... and don't let no crazy person from Melbourne tell you otherwise!

Seeing that I still live at home (boo! hiss!) when things get me down its more like can't wait to move out and into the city but i just KNOW that when that gets old I'm gonna head towards London, or at least attempt to coz the weather is rainy and the gays can get married there. Maybe I can weasel my way into the LSE *sigh* I hate having aspirations coz failure is inevitable...and it hurts.

Congrats on the move...

Ingrid said...

You can absolutes run away to my little corner of heaven in Chicago! You could show up at my door, and I'd just pull you inside, sit you down on my leather chair, take off your shoes for you, and pour one bottle of wine straight down your throat and then we'd savor the next one. I have to tell you, though: there are wild green parrots that live in my neighborhood, and there are like parrot wars going on right now over nest sites or something and it is quite loud around 6 am.

Anonymous said...

It's so weird when you write TB because I always think Tuberculosis and my father is dying of this (admittedly romantic) complaint. When I saw TB's picture I finally managed to read your blog without picturing the sanatorium, or the stick-thinness of the arms, or the scary red dots in otherwise impeccable kleenexes.
Did not mean to be gruesome. I live in Paris, you can come live with me. You could wear striped T-shirts all day plus we French LOATHE gyms, so they are always empty. And did I mention the croissants?

Kim said...

Sure friend, come stay...seriously..and bring TB. sometimes it's like a three ring circus, but never any drama. :)

Abby said...

We have civil unions and a female Prime Minister who has no Bush aspirations whatsoever, and we are Nuclear Free, New Zealand is the place to be! Nah you shouldn't run away here except on holiday, New York suits you.

I have run away to-

Waiheke Island - many times, an island half an hour ferry ride from the city I grew up in, once there it feels like you are a million miles away from everything and everyone, you can be the only person on the mile long beach which is minutes walk from our little shack of a holiday house. My favorite place in the world.

London -left after 3 months, hated it, no sunshine, grumpy mean people, bad food, no ocean

Melbourne -left after 3 months, mean woman who broke my heart lives there and John Howard

Bali -lkeep going back, love it and would love to live there at least 5 months of the year despite the corruption and tourists, while there met my gf online so had to come back to NZ

Napier, New Zealand -Still here for many reasons, it's an experience if anything, live by an ocean and am surrounded by vineyards, but fuck knows where all the people are! It's an odd place, last month a woman phoned police to complain that her marijuana plants had been stolen...

riese said...

razia: I guess a civil ceremony is still better than what we've got in Michigan? And, re: LSE...Natalie thought the same thing about getting in there, and then she totally did! Also, my Aunt who grew up and lived in Melbourne most of her life now lives in London. I don't know what that means, but it means something.

ingrid: I'm digging all the man-handling involved in that hypothetical...also, p.s., as I am unpacking my room, I'm realizing a good deal of my decor is cards-from-Ingrid. Like, I've only just begun, and I've already got three Ing-creations on the wall. You're like, here! Even when you're not you know--"here."

K-Lilly: You are like, the sweetest girl of all time. Seriously. And obviously I love drama.

1. I am so sorry about your father that is awful!
2. I told her the same thing, that "TB" always makes me think of Tuberculosis, but she said that was probably not a common thought. I still have it, though. Glad the photo has assured you that she's not all sanitorium-y.
3. We were just talking about Paris today! The only thing is I don't know French.

Abby, every place you've lived sounds interesting, at least. some people just hop around within the state of ohio. I like the idea of bali. just saying "i'm running away to Bali" seems like a good idea. I might just do it.

melaina said...

nobody moves to Eugene, OR to run away. you move to Eugene if you 1) want to attend U of O or 2) grew up there and never really left. i was down there last weekend to visit a friend (of the never really left variety). we went to the store to buy beer and witnessed two college-age sorority types oohing and awwing over a six-pack of 6oz Coors Light cans.

i'm still trying to figure out what you do with a can of beer that small. my guess is that those girls are their target demographic.

Mercury said...

I sorta have an escape plan? Actually, I have a plan, a very detailed one, but most of the time I think I'd rather escape to somewhere else. But that's why it's a "realistic" escape plan or whatever. Right? Because it's probably actually gonna happen. I'm not staying here forever, so there will be some form of escape occurring.

sloganx said...

"Fuck this country, let's move to Canada."

This is a common phrase between Green and I. Then I think about how cold it is there and my nipples get hard.

So yeah, Canada is my favorite runaway destination.

Happy Housewarming, I will bring alcohol and a plant and if you kill both it's completely forgivable.


Heathar said...

Possible escape plans used to occupy a good deal of my thoughts in middle and high school, as well as...uh, today. yeah, I've never really gone anywhere save for a weeklong stint to Aiken, South Carolina, and it wasn't the escape of my dreams. Driving three hours to sit on the beach at 3am was cool, though. Otherwise, I've just moved form place to place in Illinois, and not even Chicago. I guess I'll be cliche here and go with NYC as my big escape route, although I wind up getting lost in this town of 50,000 on a regular basis. Oh well.

Congrats on the move, the relationship, the article and all good things in general.


abbie said...

I was just recently in Chicago where things are cheaper, friendlier, cleaner and nicer, but I will never accept the fat that it is the fall back city of the midwest, and then when someone asks where you are from and you say "Michigan", it's pretty boring and common. At least when you live in NY you have the fantasy that you are exotic or something b/c you are from Michigan, and not NJ or strong island. I would also like to run away to summer camp like in Wet hot american summer and get really tan.

riese said...

malaina: really? I always thought eugene was like, paradise-y. Who told me that?, yogurt and mountains and rare bookstores and stuff? And re, coors light cans: calories. Less calories.

mercury: I think you are balancing my mysterious-ness with yours, eh?

sloganx: hard nipples=not always a bad thing. gay marriage and stuff, right? and thank you in advance for forgiving me for killing the plant, which i obvs will.

heathar: it's okay, we used to drive to canada for no reason all the time. just to like, buy postcards and say we'd been to canada. a beach is fosho a step up.

abbie: you're totes right about how michigan sounds exotic here, compared to the NJ/LI/Westchester chicas. Unlike in college, when saying 'ann arbor' was pretty much the least cool thing ever. I keep thinking of that SNL skit when I think of Chicago (da bears,etc)?

Anonymous said...

yeah, you can't marry if you're gay over here in australia. so it'd be a long way to travel for our dickhead prime minister to turn your mum down.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

Just stumbled across your blog via This is What We Do Now, and the transplanted New Yorker in me was quite impressed. Keep doin you.

The quote from Michael Cunningham's "The House at the End of the World" resonated because I just read it. As for being a camp counselor, you get the best tan ever, and get to be hero to and corrupt the future leaders of tomorrow. Or something like that. It's great good fun.