Crain and I walked through downtown last night on our way to Jonas’ memorial at Static Age. Something felt off the whole way, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Somewhere on Lexington Avenue, we got stuck behind a group of drunk tourists. Crain muttered, “Godamnit, fuck” under their breath as we waited for these out of town yuppies to have some level of self-awareness that we were trying to get around them.
When we finally did, Crain commented that the two of us have been walking up and down Lexington Avenue together on and off for 14 years now.
I was so nostalgic about this place for so long when I was away. When I lived out west, thinking about the mountains and the south and Appalachia and my friends laughing in the humid glow of the dusk of matchless summer night used to cause a physical ache in my body. Like a phantom limb. Some part of you so vital, so sacred that you wonder how you keep going without it.
And it’s not nostalgia I’m feeling tonight. It’s this fathomless, nameless sense of loss that accompanies saying goodbye to so many of the people, so many of the places you loved. So many people are gone, and I wish we didn’t all have to feel so rootless. I wish the march of progress wasn’t starving people out of the cities they call home.
I wouldn’t go back to my late 20s. I wouldn’t go back to being a scowling, stomping through the world, kid. I don’t miss the turmoil. I don’t miss the hangovers. I don’t miss the volatility. I don’t miss everyone trying to find their way in the world and stepping on one another’s toes.
But I have so much compassion for all of us. Aging is hard enough. I would love it if life would stop kicking all of us in the teeth.
That ache that filled my body when I lived out west is with me tonight, even though I’m ensconced in the mountains I once called home again. But it’s not the same. We’ve lost so much. So many friends are gone. So many of us have fractured, bitterness and broken hearts or just scattering to the wind.
I’m in the place I called home for so long, but it doesn’t feel like home. Walking through town last night, I felt like a ghost haunting only myself. My memories of this place are relevant only to myself, and maybe a handful of other people.
I don’t give a fuck about sounding egotistical here, but all the punks and the freaks played such a part in making this place what it WAS. Now so many of us are nomads wandering through the wasteland of progress, forever searching for home.
When I lived here a decade ago, I loved this city so much that it filled my heart to the point of bursting. Tonight, I feel like it’s killing me. And I’m not even there, because the only place I can afford to live is 45 minutes outside of town in a house so quiet that sometimes the silence is deafening.