[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
-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?
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.
I haven't spoken to Kim in two months. Somehow, because I too have delusions, I still imagine her going "sure, friend, come stay!"
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
3. The suburbs
4. Home, wherever that is. Sometimes, home is "New Jersey," but that doesn't stop you.
-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 .
-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.
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.
-Jack Kerouac, On the Road
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.
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," 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.
Everyone's happy here, I think. You can't be like "Oh, I'm sad, and I live in Eugene." Right?
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.