Sunday, September 2, 2012

"whatever else remained the same, the light had changed, and you cannot find the pearly dawn at noonday."

I was supposed to be on Fire Island today, getting drunk and lying in the sun. Instead, I have been alternately lying on my bed and on my couch, reading from Middlemarch, looking at apartment ads on Craigslist, and looking at Grindr. There is no sun today. I am in the throes of a weird cold that came upon me yesterday afternoon that has my throat feeling sore, my head feeling foggy, and my body feeling tired despite the numerous cups of tea and coffee I have drank today.

I just ate some bacon and am drinking some Old Overholt and I am feeling quite better, in which case it would probably be wise of me to turn off the Beth Orton before she takes me back down.

10,000 Maniacs it is.

I am quite confused about my life. I don't know what I should be doing with really any aspect of it. I have plans to move into a two bedroom with Jacob in November but am really beginning to wonder if I shouldn't suck it up, move far out to a not-ideal location, pay more in rent, be constantly broke, and live by myself. There are pluses and minuses to both and I can't do the math; it never was my strong subject in school.

There are thoughts about how little money I am making, which is nothing new, but which has been really brought forward as a concern as I contemplate moving, as I look at the price of apartments and see that a good many of them are way out of my price range. And this leads, without many conclusive answers, to thoughts about what it is I should be doing, what job I could be doing that would pay me more money, what jobs I might enjoy, and which of those might hire me. Again, these thoughts have circled round and round with no actual answers to these questions.

I go out to bars a lot and smoke a lot of cigarettes. This serves as a nice distraction.

Summer is over this weekend. With the help of George Eliot, I have been contemplating this summer today. I have been contemplating the trajectory of my life, of what it means, of what I would like it to mean, and how I would like this story to end, where I want to take it now. There is so much incredible wisdom about life on every single page of this novel. And, yes, I have been reading this same book all summer long and am nowhere near completion. I haven't really been in a reading mood this summer, this year, these past few years, and I have put this book down again and again, only to pick it up again every month or so and work my way through another chunk of it, today one of those occasions.

And how is this for wisdom:

That element of tragedy which lies in the very fact of frequency, has not yet wrought itself into the coarse emotion of mankind; and perhaps our frames could hardly bear much of it. If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity. (194)

Or this heartbreaking insight into life told in a throwaway sentence:

But Dorthea remembered it to the last with the vividness with which we all remember epochs in our experience when some dear expectation dies, or some new motive is born. (211)

I will admit that the above sentence hit me like a punch in the gut and I recalled moments from my own life that fit that description, when some dear expectation had died. I thought of when Gabriel and I had a talk on the rooftop of 248 McKibbin that was basically the end of our friendship, how I quit showing up for a job at the time after that, and lied in bed and cried for a couple days that the person I loved more than anyone I had ever met was no longer going to be close to me, that I had fucked it all up. I thought of that day, only a couple of months ago, when Jacob broke up with me on the beach at Fire Island, how all of my expectations of a life together quickly started to fall apart, how up until that moment there were expectations that have now been thoroughly demolished.

As I was walking down Grand Street today to pick up eggs, bacon, and whiskey (Old Overholt for extremely sentimental reasons), I got really heartsick, wondering when, if ever, I would get to that point with someone when love would last, whether this would happen. Grand Street has been the sight of so many of these heartsick walks during my time in New York. That street is where they all started in this town, as I used to walk from Matt's apartment on Grand and Manhattan down to mine on Grand and Keap, this many years ago now at this point, but those memories, along with layers of innumerable other ones of drunken walks home from Metropolitan feeling sad or heartsick or hopeful, all popping up today, apparitions on this gray day, reminders of how many times I have felt this way, how I thought I was done with feeling this way, how fucking comfortable I was, and how those expectations responsible for that comfort have died.

On the walk home from the store, plastic bags swung from my hands against my legs - eggs, bacon, and whiskey inside them. There was a lotto ticket in my wallet that I would soon scratch off when I got home, a lotto ticket that would produce no winnings, and there were other things being carried around on that walk home, things being tossed off as well, and there were thoughts of winnings greater than those promised by the lotto ticket.

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