April 6th, 2007


A Eulogy for The Commons

I just returned from Emily and Jenny's new apartment. It's quite the vision, let me tell you. It's Bizarro-Bushwick, also known as Ridgewood. Think of Bushwick as the fucked up uncle in your family who your parents tell you to stay away from because it's a widely-speculated belief that he enjoys having young children sit on his lap because he's a closeted pedophile. If he's Bushwick, then Ridgewood is the uncle who DOESN'T try to have sex with children.

As I walked home tonight, I got to thinking about where my life's at right now. More and more, with the onset of me finding my own place to live, finding a stranger to live with, and moving to an entirely different borough than the three friends I have living over here, I now realize I'm On My Own. I've been detached from the only way of living in New York with which I'm familiar. On the one hand, it's daunting because there's this feeling of lonliness that tends to overcome me from time to time; but there's also this sense of freedom. Now, it's up to me to find some friends and people to associate with other than those with whom I'm living. I'm now the kid who's thrown into the pool and told, "Start swimming, boy."

Then, there's the fact that I now actually HAVE friends here. Friends in the traditional sense. See, once I moved in, Liz, Emily, and Jenny all instantly became "Roommates". I realized tonight that, we've never actually been "Friends". I mean, I never knew Liz until I moved here; I knew OF Emily because she was Jenny's roommate in Seattle, but we were never friends, we never talked or hung out. And, as far as Jenny goes, we had the Writing Group, where inevitably every time it would dissolve from talk of the literary nature to personal tidbits about life and all that. But, Jenny and I never really Hung Out as friends. We didn't do friend-type things very often - there was a time or two where I went with her and some people to a bar or dancing or something - but everything always centered on the Writing Group.

Now that I'm not living with any of them, the parameters of our association have shifted. No longer will I be able to see any or all of them whenever I want. I can't just walk into the kitchen and strike up a conversation that lasts for hours; we can't just sit around the table in our pajamas and say, "Hey, let's go see some live music." Now that we're proper friends - as opposed to roommates living together - we have to go through the proper channels. I have to call them or e-mail, arrange a time and a place to meet, have our activities all mapped out accordingly - even if it's just to walk around the city and explore, there's that step in between the thought of, "I want to hang out with So-and-So" and actually doing such. Little, teensy, minor differences. Like, the kind of thing where I'm inside their new apartment and they refer to where I live now (where they just moved from) as "The Old Place." Feeling the need to ask permission to use their bathroom because it's in my nature to do so in another person's home, even though we were just living together last month and are fairly familiar with one another. Things like that.

But, there's also an emptiness of sorts to deal with. It's nothing to get all wrapped up in, and it's not like I'll be awake at night mourning the loss of commonality, but there's that feeling of loss. This is where Jenny used to spend her time reading and sleeping and drinking wine. That's where Emily would cook and across the way she'd do yoga in her room. Soon enough, it'll be: that's where Liz and I would talk from her room to mine. You live with people for so long, you get used to their presence, to their being there at these times and when those times come around and they're not, you miss that. It's human nature, at least for me.

It's a different feeling when you're the one moving away. When you move, you're not the one watching the other leave. You get the excitement of the change, the wonder, the unknown; you rarely consider the other person's shoes. I know, I've been that person long before I'm THIS person. I've moved away from a number of people. That's not to say you don't care about the people you're moving away from - indeed you wish you could take them with you and house them right next door or in the same apartment complex. But, those feelings are mixed with that excitement and that wonder, and inevitably those happy feelings tend to take over, especially when you're at your new place and you're moving in and becoming acclimated to your new surroundings.

I'm sad things didn't work out. I wish we could've had at least a few more months in this place - and not just because it would financially behoove me. When I heard about the big move and the big pinch to leave this place in the Definite, in the Concrete, my personal finances were the furthest thing from my mind. As I stood leaning against the wall that separates the kitchen from Jenny's room listening to the chain of events that led to the decision for the extrication from this apartment, all I could think about was this Kitchen Table. My most joyous moments while being in New York have occurred right around this kitchen table. All the guests, the meals, the wine binges, the coffee talks in the morning, the deep and relevent conversations. It was the first place I sat at after getting out of the taxi my first night here. Now, when I get ready for work in the mornings, when I unwind with my laptop at night, I sit at this table watching all of those memories slip away little by little.

But, you know, I never had any delusions about this thing being permanent. That's not the way life works. The Commons was just a stopping point. I landed here because this was the setup afforded to me upon moving to New York. It turned out that we had a really amazing mix of people living inside this apartment. I can't speak for anyone else, but I can say that I've definitely changed more since living here than at any period in my life, with the exception of my last two years of college. And, like that, I knew it wouldn't be permanent. The only thing you can do is try to keep in contact as much as possible, keep those bonds as strong as you possibly can, and appreciate that time for what it was. That way, on down the line when you're looking back, you'll have nothing but the fondest of memories in your back pocket.

By then, you'll have long forgotten all the sorrow you felt when that experience was slipping away.
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Home In July

American Airlines

Flight 269 from JFK

Departs July 4, 2007 at 5:15pm

Arrives July 4, 2007 at 8:30pm

American Airlines

Flight 268 from SEA

Departs July 26, 2007 at 9:10am

Arrives July 26, 2007 at 5:30pm