Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Apathy, Jealousy, Wanderlust.

photo by andrew meehan
These days I dream of staring out car, train, plane windows, at unchanging greenery or abandoned factories by a gray waterfront. I look back at my photos from England and I remember Europe and I ache to revisit it. I think of New York's familiar divides, the restaurants and coffee shops and bars I frequent so often I barely need to look at the menu, and I feel so, so, tired, bored, restless. Sometimes I go to different neighborhoods, the Upper West Side or Prospect Park, and find a cafe I've never been to and sit and read and dream. But it's not really enough. I grasp at names of foreign countries, hang on to the promise in accents. Chile, Venice, Moscow. I read books and stare at photos as if I do it for long enough they'll take over the familiar surroundings of my life here. I consider pin pointing a country at random and searching for flights, and simply leaving. In a way I don't even care about the destination, as long as it's somewhere I've never seen. Even a charming small town where I might chat with a barista about her day. Just: escape.

I've been reading Proust and Colette. Such beautiful, lyrical, delicate prose. Proust's dreamy inner world, his fixation on the smallest details, his exquisite nostalgia doesn't help me live in the now as I've been so often told to do, and Colette's life of Parisian theater halls, even though she writes of the suffering performers and the squalor behind the curtain, for me sings of the beauty in a life constantly in flux. The anemic dancers of her short stories glimmer in my imagination. Colette was tired of that life, too, its familiarity, but at least she captured it with such grace. What could I capture here? The cell phone conversations that ring loud, late at night when I try to sleep and escape to my world of dreams (sometimes I dread waking up, for my dreams are always more wonderful)? Overhearing voices and conversations that suggest the most insipid, dreadful lives? Their intonations betray their vacancy, their obsessions are easy, accepted, carefully suited to the slices of modern life. Hook ups and start ups and fuck ups. 

I should be sympathetic, open minded, appreciative of the beautiful vast myriad of varieties of lives: and I am. But the truth is that I am jealous outsider. I wish I could be so easily satiated, I wish I had a life that fitted so easily into a schedule. I wish I constantly had phone calls and dinner plans and wanted less. I wish I didn't feel this need that cripples me, some nights, so that I lay sprawled across my bed, the hardcover Colette tossed aside, my  laptop pushed onto a chair, despondent and dreading, dreading the hours of another day of waking up in the same place and the same tasks and buying the same stables from the same grocery stores. It's all self inflicted! I could and should be doing whatever it is that I need to do to live! Revolutionize! Occupy Wall Street! Protest technology! Be a bohemian, a radical, a not another jaded soon to be NYU graduate! 

Except that I'm cursed with honesty, cursed with a need to express whatever it is: even if it's not bright and catchy and 500 words or less, and I'm good at rambling but not good at always writing what I think people want to read. I'm can't always live up to the life I like to pretend I have. I'm plagued by what's inside my head and the stories I read and the essays I write. Essay: essaie, to try. I haven't figured it out yet and writing is the only way I know how. 

So here I am. No resolution and no happy ending. Simply: trying, again. 

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