4. Being Broke and Homeless in New York
I’m not sure if I’ve made a big enough deal out of this yet, but in the past week, I’ve moved to New York, started study in an intensive master’s program at my dream college, and been kicked out of my apartment because the people I’d arranged to live with via email decided they didn’t like me when they met me in person. It’s going to take a long time before I stop whining about that last one. Mostly, I just hate the part where it happened. Seriously, it really stung. And it could’ve happened to only me.
But now I’m in the Big Apple, and there are all sorts of things to do and see. Well yes, but it really helps to have money. And an apartment. Right now, I’m squatting in an unused dorm room right next to a friend’s hoping the building staff doesn’t notice me. I hate it. Oh, I have nothing against my friend–he’s faggy and Asian, but tolerable overall–just the way that I’ve never felt so completely on my own. It doesn’t help that my parents are so overly concerned with my well-being. In its own way, that’s almost as bad as having unconcerned parents. Every time I tell one parent something bad about my life, they tell the other, who immediately calls me up to ask if I’m okay. I tell them I am, then a day later, the other calls to ask if I’m okay. If they can tell each other about the dire nature of my situation, why can’t they tell each other that I’m holding up alright, considering? Confidence, people. It helps to have confidence in your children. But deep down, they wish I’d move back in with (one of) them. At least then, they’d be able to keep an eye on me.
Another thing that sucks about not having money in New York is kind of obvious, but deserves emphasis: I’m in New York. Do you have any idea how much exciting shit there is to do around here? I saw a show on Broadway Saturday night. It was called One Man, Two Guvnors, and starred English comic writer and actor James Corden in a raunchy, slapstick farce that even had a live band to perform during the set changes. It was really funny, and well worth the nearly $200 freaking dollars that my mother had to pay for our (discount) seats. Across the street, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man was playing. It starred James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury. Not surprisingly, it was sold out. I don’t even want to imagine how much a decent seat at that show would have cost. And The Book of Mormon is still selling out, probably every night. I’m not even that big of a theater geek. I just think that the opportunity to see Darth Vader and Angela Fucking Lansbury performing live is the sort of thing that happens literally once in a lifetime. Christ, I wish I had money. And an apartment.
3. Living My Life
Nothing new here, just the observation that while my life has undeniably improved over the past few years, it still sucks. I don’t get up in the morning and look forward to the exciting day that awaits me. I get up in the morning and thank God that I’ve finally gotten to the point where I honestly don’t give a fuck what (most) people think about me. I could have never taken something like getting kicked out of my apartment just for rubbing my roommates the wrong way in stride a couple years ago. I would have gone on a killing spree. Actually, I still might do that. But I won’t turn the gun on myself when it’s over. If I do that, they win. That much, I have learned.
2. Pretty Much Anything Else
Little things tend to annoy me. That’s usually because they’re symptomatic of larger ills. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a decent home-cooked meal. In between scrambling to find a place to live, adjusting to life in an unfamiliar place, and figuring out how the fuck I’m going to survive this program, I just haven’t had the time or the resources to sit down and make myself a nice batch of tacos. I’m a man of simple needs, honestly. You wouldn’t think it would be that much to ask to have a place with a reasonable rent that is near to my school and roommates who aren’t reprehensible human beings, but somehow, that has managed to elude me. My life sucks. It really does. And I’m not going to stop complaining until it starts to not suck. Which, from the looks of things, could be a long ways away.
1. Experiencing Diversity in any Way, Shape, or Form
I’m joking, of course. This would actually be way up on the (short) list of things I don’t hate. I love people from different cultural backgrounds. There is one guy in my program who is from Rwanda. Apparently, people are still living there. All I know about that country is what I learned from that one Don Cheadle movie. Earlier this week, I watched Smoke Signals, a 90s indie flick that came billed as the first movie ever written, directed, co-produced by and starring Native Americans. Like most movies made by and for a marginalized group of people, there was a specificity to this movie that cannot be replicated by outsiders, even well-educated ones. It was a powerful story to boot. I’m not going to give it away, I’ll just say that it makes a surprisingly universal statement about learning to forgive the people who have wronged us and taking the good along with the bad in our loved ones. The last scene is particularly powerful. It’s on Netflix, in case anyone cares.
See, I have more to offer in the way of diversity than most people realize. I’m white, middle-class, and Catholic. Also, I grew up in one of the most liberal parts of the country. That’s harder than you might imagine. For one thing, my eyes got tired from rolling so much. For another, I still met quite a few bigots. Ask me about that sometime. I’ve got plenty of stories.