Beginnings

I may or may not believe in the end days.

survivalistIt started with a Cormac McCarthy binge the summer that I got to New York and culminated into the night that superstorm Sandy arrived to the East Village. We lost power at about 8pm after the ConEd building blew up. Overcome with curiosity, we ventured outside to experience a blacked-out Manhattan, the stuff of pre-gentrification urban legend.

Bars were bustling with candlelit faces while cars blasting bass beats sped through intersections. Tourists and locals wandered the streets in hushed fascination, heady from cocktails and the Gotham City version of New York all around them. Some of the nearby blocks were being closely guarded by old-time residents holding brooms and making sure we weren’t looters.

After about an hour, we knew that we had to leave our home and find something we could recognize about New York City. At dawn we headed uptown, geriatric beagle in tow, to lights and friends.. to work and normalcy. What a privilege that was — to just decide that you want to do something and make it so. Not a single bomb or angry mob in sight. No political protesters or well suited army to sidestep. Just some down trees and overturned garbage cans blocking the sidewalk. We could just leave and start fresh because that’s what we had been doing our entire lives. We could let it all go so quickly, everything but each other.

All these years I had believed that California or Florida would be the first to go. One bursting into flames right before being buried under a mudslide and floating away, the other sinking into ocean and being preserved in myths like a poor man’s Atlantis (think more neon bikini shops and 7-11s). Every day I go outside and I think I’m invincible or important, that I made it out of my hometown and landed in the greatest city on earth and so I did something. Then things happen. A storm takes your grandmother’s house away. A fire consumes your vacation home. An army tells you to leave and never look back. Or, people say horrible things about you because you dare want more than them, than your parents, than everyone else around you.

Every day, there is some evil in the world that tries to take you down and every day, you have to get up, stare it in the face and tell it to fuck off. Prove that you’re better than that. I’m tired just thinking about it.

The artist makes something out of nothing. So now I’m going to just write and see if it becomes something. Where there was nothing, now there is something. And when the world ends, I’ll still have my mind and my dreams and my family. And I’ll still want more out of this world than it’s willing to give sometimes.

 

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