Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What a unique time we live in, and how perfect for my temperament. I'm a chronic worrier, and I have never been so worried for so many people. Not just my immediate friends and family but people I haven't talked to in years--some of them have kids now and do what I do and, yeah, I worry. Or at least wonder. I'm sure some of those folks and I have nothing to talk about--in a few cases, we never really did, not that it ever stopped me from trying to barrel forward and forge some kind of meaningful friendship out of what I couldn't see was really nothing, since I was too excited to meet other people who liked the same things I did, when I hadn't really before, to see otherwise. Minneapolis is still very real to me, embarrassingly so--I cringe when I realize what an utter puppy dog I was in my early 20s, just as I cringe to realize how much put-on hauteur I had the last time I was in Seattle. New York wasn't much better either, at least as I recollect it. (The first time, I mean; the second time was utter hell, and I knew it at the time.) I worry for myself, too: what I can do to earn a living, how I can get back to NYC to be with Angela, whether the big projects I hope to accomplish, if in fact anyone will want or care to see those projects. Angela's in grad school--she's worried too. We're coming up on a year apart in just over a week; the first eight months we were apart as well, and loneliness adds to the worry.

It bubbles up at odd times. Last night I decided to get a late dinner in the International District--lots of Chinese places open late, two of which I frequent. Honey Court's open later, so I went there. (Hing Loon closes earlier, and is the one I prefer.) I started walking, uncertain where I'd go; when a 43 bus crept up on me, I met it at the stop and took it downtown, then walked to the I.D. When I first moved back to Seattle in 2001 for the Weekly job, I was so keyed up that walking through Belltown to my apartment there scared me when it shouldn't have: the worst that could have happened was that some shiny-shirted club-hoppers might have bumped into me on their way to the gutter they were preparing to vomit into. The walk last night was similar, though I didn't feel in any particular danger--quite the opposite. I just felt like I might combust. Eating helped; so did reading Andreas Killen's 1973 Nervous Breakdown for the 800th or so time.

I remember buying that book vividly. It was '06, second time in NYC, and I'd just finished reading Jonathan Mahler's Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning. I was walking into the Union Square Barnes & Noble, thinking about how much I liked that book and how much I wanted to read another book about a year. (Ladies and Gentlemen chronicles the summer of 1977 in New York.) That was the precise wording in my head when I opened the door, and there was Killen's book sitting there in front of me, a near-instantaneous answer. I wound up liking it even more, since I tend to like reading about ideas more than narrative. The "Warholism" chapter, as well as the congee and kung pao chicken, took me out of myself and back to normal in a way that sitting at my laptop and playing Scramble on Facebook for hours at a time, for its considerable charm, just couldn't.