Get Back to Where You Once Belonged

So I found a new place and moved in on Tuesday. It’s a townhouse with a family (mother, father, 11-year old daughter[1]), and I get the top floor, consisting of a large bedroom, bathroom and smallish study. The building is part of an entire block of historic buildings, 18th century revivalist style, with lots of trees and ivy and charm. The neighbors all know each other, and it’s generally an oasis of small-town life in the middle of bustling Brooklyn.

On Friday my old roommate emailed me to say that my replacement bailed out on her.

I hadn’t signed a lease or anything at the new place, and it’s such a great place that I’m sure they’ll have no trouble finding a new tenant. So I moved back on Saturday.

Sheesh. Fortunately I don’t have a lot of stuff, but it’s still a pain in the ass making 12-odd trips up and down the steps to the 3rd floor. And the worst part: driving a rental truck through Brooklyn. The first move was a van, so that wasn’t so bad, but yesterday it was a big truck. The last time I drove one of those things, I scraped my neighbor’s front bumper, so I have a phobia about that sort of thing.

It had to be done. Back here in Red Hook, I’m saving $300 in rent every month, and the commute to my new job is about 20 minutes compared to 40 at the other place. Plus it’s “my neighborhood” and I was already starting to miss it[2]. I don’t have to change my address, nor do I have to stress out my already-stressed-out roommate.

It’s good to be home.

1.) She was cool. She’s an actress who had a small part in BAM’s MacBeth with Patrick Stewart.
2.) I’d miss my $10 Cuban haircuts.

Miracles Out of Nowhere

OK I think it’s as official as it’s going to get…

It’s amazing how this town can change the path of your life in under 48 hours. But once again the puzzle pieces have fallen together and the course of my life has laid itself out for me.

Technically it all started three weeks ago in Arkansas when the recruiter who got me my first job called about an interview he wanted to send me on. I hadn’t heard from the guy in a few months, so I figured why not? I had originally intended to drive back to New York to pack up my stuff and move back, but for a potential job, I thought I should fly (which then led to flying out of Kansas City so mom and I could see Tina Turner, another fortuitous alignment of planets). I didn’t make it back in time to even go on the interview, as the position was filled before I arrived. Oh well.

Fast forward another week to last Thursday morning. It began like any other day; I made coffee and watched the previous night’s Daily Show. The phone rang. It was a different recruiter I’d tried over the summer. I thought I had deactivated my resume from their system, so this was another surprise. They had an interview they wanted to send me on, and when would I be available? I said any time, so they said how about 3pm at #3 World Financial Center[1].

I went to the interview and had a good time. The position sounds like it won’t be as intensive as my last one, it’s an internal team, a 35-40 hour work week, and only a bit less than I was previously making. And I’m mostly taking over some responsibilities from my supervisor, so she’ll always be around for questions and training. It’s a one-year contract, so I’ll have the option to leave at the end if I so desire.

All I’m waiting for are results of the drug test I took on Monday. They say I should start Wednesday of next week.

Life moves pretty fast.

Complicating things somewhat is my roommate’s replacement, who is already on her way from Seattle for a November 1st move-in. Since it’s far easier for me to look for a new place than for her, I’ve been hitting the bricks. I sent out an email to my NY friends and got a call back from Tom, offering a room at his house in New Jersey, so that’s my fallback plan. It would be super-cool to hang with him – he’s a keyboardist extraordinaire, Spiraling rehearses there, and there’s a big vintage piano in the living room. Sadly it’s in Piscataway, meaning I’d need to have my vehicle to get to the NJ train, and then take a monster commute every day to the World Trade Center. It sounds like it would be a lot of work, but might be worthwhile. In the mean time, I’m in search of a Brooklyn residence. I vented my weeklong frustration last night when I wrote this fake ad for Craig’s List.

1.) It’s the one with the pyramid on top.

Odors of Autumn

The smells of this city are vastly improved by chilly air. Nothing smells good here in the summer, and so now that October is upon us, even bus exhaust starts to smell fantastic. I wandered around the Polish enclave of Ridgewood, Queens, yesterday and every five minutes it seemed like I was having a Proustian episode of involuntary memory from all the scents. Even bodegas smell better in the fall.

Also last night, Caroline hipped me to Goodbye Blue Monday, the coolest bar/coffeeshop/venue I think I’ve ever seen. For those of you Arkansans who remember Jasper’s Junk N Java, it’s a lot like that, but in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Here are some interior shots. I want to live there.

What Does 700 Billion Mean To You?

So we’re bailing out Wall Street with 700 billion dollars. To quote Seth Meyers on SNL, “to give you an idea of how much money that is, I CAN’T give you an idea how much money that is.”

But I can tell you this. 700 billion divided by the US population of 300 million = $2,333.

So the next time you hear anyone complain about welfare spending for the poor, remember that’s only $50 of your annual taxes. So one silver lining to this debacle is that we’ll never have to hear the argument against welfare from conservative Republicans because we’ve just handed the fattest of possible cats FORTY SIX TIMES more money than we’ve ever given the poor.

The Magic of Baggage Handlers

I’m back safe in Brooklyn, after a long day spent waiting on mechanical problems in Kansas City and running through the airport in Cincinnati. I made my connection with 5 minutes to spare. To my utter amazement, my checked duffel bag made it from plane to plane in the 10 minutes it took me to run from concourse A to B in Cincinnati. They have a magic that I do not pretend to comprehend. I completely expected to wait for hours at JFK for my bag to come on a later flight, but no. Not only did it arrive safely with me, but I must have waited a grand total of 2 minutes to retrieve it from the baggage claim.

It was a long week. Fortunately I had a wide variety of activities to cheer me up:

  • Friday I went to the new stadium at Harrison High School to see a football game with my sister.
  • Saturday I was able to attend a reception for my friend Kevin and his new wife.
  • Also Saturday I went to the Boone County Fair with my nephew Austin.
  • Wednesday I went to see Tina Turner in Kansas City with my mom

That last experience was a pleasant surprise. Mom bought her tickets on a lark and was having doubts about being able to do a mid-week show with a 4-hour drive. So I offered to go with her and do some of the driving, and fly out from Kansas City. The show was tremendous. I had no idea that a 68 year old woman could deliver those songs, in all those costumes (yes, a Thunderdome re-enactment was staged with full dress), and in high heels. It may be the best arena rock show I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Nine Inch Nails and KISS.

So I was given plenty of distraction from the fact that an old friend is gone. Thanks to all who left comments and who emailed me. It was great to see all the folks I haven’t seen in many years.