In Which The Inner Exile Gets His Way

So I haven’t really stuck to the primary motivations I had in starting this blog in the first place… Which I think may still be on that dumb “about me” page. Basically, I wanted to sort of chronicle what the experience of leaving the hip-est neighborhood in the WORLD behind was like. As in, hey, I’m gonna do all this “becoming an adult” shit–get an apartment and fix it up, make friends who aren’t trash, struggle to find better meaning in my life–and tell you all about it.

But I didn’t.

I ripped my sink out and put in a new one, learned a bunch about it in the process and took pictures but didn’t post anything about it. I rapidly lost all my Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick friends and didn’t really delve into that. When I found some better ones I didn’t write about it here. When those turned out to be shit, I was mum. People around me started having babies, I got baby fever for a sec, did some growing. But how would you know it?

I also haven’t written much about the slow disintegration of public transportation in this corner of New York and how every day my commute feels like the slowest of water tortures. Drip…..drip……drip…. every day something tiny and inescapable is driving me slowly batshit. Seriously, I mutter out loud to myself now in public; people glare. You would too if the MTA took every option you had and turned it into a 2-hour nightmare.

I’ve managed a few real, monogamous romantic relationships, each complete with couples house-painting, and I tried to navigate the real estate market, putting my home up for sale and concocting a plan to get the fuck OUT of exile (which failed due to market shittiness and a bad choice in agencies). Jobs, and my relationship to my career, and even to the concept of career itself have changed for me in strange and frightening ways. Blah Blah Blah. All this interesting LIFE shit I just kinda left out of these “pages.” It’s been more fun to get all scandalous about trashy romance shit.

But something happened today (“today” being some day in the distant past when I started this post) in one of those disposable romantic situations that sort of brings me to the essence of my life out here in the boonies. It feels like every issue and challenge I have boils down to the choices I made today: I just bailed out of meeting someone out in Bushwick, the neighborhood I left behind 5 years ago. And it was a pathetic struggle, let me tell you.

At first the idea was to hang out around McCarren Park, where this girl would be playing kickball. After I finished rolling my eyes, I relented because the person is fun to be around and I figured I’m not fucking 40 yet, right? Get the fuck out there, old man!

I had spent ALL GODDAMN WEEKEND sitting on my ass at my parents’ house out West. In the back of a car, in a movie theater, in the car again, on a couch, in a train, car, couch, repeat repeat REPEAT. And then the plane, and then the fucking taxi. The idea of getting back on a train to travel to the middle of my personal ground zero just to prove to some people I don’t know that I can hang, was a tough one to get on board with…

So anyway, I decide on a route involving the G train, because it feels silly to go into Manhattan just to get back to “Top” Brooklyn from “Bottom” BK, and maybe the L was messed up. Plus it’s above ground for a sec, the shift in rider demographics is fun to watch as it approaches hipster central, and there’s a stop super close to McCarren. Done. I set out about two hours ahead of our scheduled meeting time. As I’m making the transfer, which is above ground, I get a text: “Can we meet in Bushwick instead?”

God no, I think. And then I hedge with myself and respond, “Um, where in Bushwick?”

“Somewhere close to my house? No game today.”

This chick wants me to hit Bushwick AND pick where we hang out AND it has to be near her place AND I have to roll with a last minute course correction… Near her place! Fuck her! I’m like an hour into my voyage and she gets even more selfish and wants to basically putz around her hood for a second before sending me back home. What’s the point?, I find myself wondering. What’s the point in even going out there in the first place?

And that’s where it all comes together. Something like this would probably be no big deal if I lived closer, but then again it might still bring me to call shit off. In fact it has in the past. It turns out I’m just a crotchety old hermit on the inside, and the tiniest change in plans makes me roll up in a little ball like one of those bugs you used to play with on the back porch, or stoop, or playground, whatever. I’ve made huge progress in socializing my inner hermit, but the added mountain to climb of getting out of BK Siberia results in a huge amount of antisocial behavior. My living situation reflects my inner world. Quiet and lonely and we like it here thank you very much!

So I agonized for a minute waiting for the train, Yelp’d a couple of potential hangout locations, harangued myself for being such an inflexible dick, then texted her back.

“You know what, never mind. I have a ton of work to get done today so I should just call it off. Sorry for the late notice, let’s reschedule sometime.” I headed back underground before she could respond.

She got to feel like I was the bad guy and I got to turn around and head back to my couch. Win-win (lose-lose). The story of my Siberian life. Obviously there was a little lashing out going on in there. Not quite sure what that’s about, but maybe my shrink does. I’ll ask her later.