Tuesday, April 08, 2008
The reality of it all
They drove by slower than most of the traffic that speeds though the hyper-active intersection at St. John and Topping.
The old car, apparently, had been sitting one block up waiting, watching and hoping that the two middle school kids would follow their same route home.
From my office I thought it sounded like fireworks at first, but even Black Cats have a subtle sounds of random noise. This, somehow, sounded like deliberate and even an angry noise from the street in front of our building.
In their tinted nest of a Jeep, they were taking pot-shots with a .45 caliber handgun and knocking holes into building. The two kids they were aiming for managed to duck down and alley way.
They emptied the clip and sped off down the street and into oblivion.
I have been amazed at how brazen some of the residents in the Northeast seemed unphased by the activity and random acts of violence around them.
The old asian woman standing outside while everything happened stopped to talk to me, but when her bus arrived she had no second thoughts about talking with the police if/when they showed up.
"What am I going to do?" she implored as she disappeared onto the bus and down the street as well.
But after this past month, nothing, at this point, would surprise me.
We were sitting at Mike's Tavern swilling our usual dark beer and continuing our usual bitch fits about inconsequential things. We seemed to usually get stuck on points that really, we knew, would not matter come the next round and could even laugh off the notion that we would ever be having an adult conversation in this place.
But I managed to shatter even that this time around.
"I think my co-workers husband is dying of cancer."
"Wow. How do you even deal with that as a co-worker?"
"I have no clue."
My co-worker is one of the nicer people have met in this foul industry. She sells ads but rarely has she ever come off like the glossed over and frosty haired sales reps that used to infest the old paragraph factory.
She is sincere when she talks and about as scattered in life as she is in her office ornaization. goes to punk shows and does not hide the fact that she was lost kid in the foster care system in this state.
She is tough, but watching her cry in the office when she got the news was something that not even the hardest of counselors is prepared to deal with.
But adding to the frustrations was an already dead computer system that meant all the work we had done in the last month was now lost. Our cars were being broken into and neighborhoods.
Another co-worker was having her own relationship problems that seemed to be only exacerbated by my own as we would sit and vent during office hours, on deadline, after work with a drink clutched in our hands.
We, as an office, were not doing well and we knew it. We joked and called it the Bizarro Editions. We hated what we were putting out and the tools and those who supported us out side of this institution were all failing — one by one.
But deep down, beyond the jokes and the attempts to get it together though booze, pain killers and other stimulants, we knew we heading for disaster. This couldn't last long; but if it meant i could stop feeling like shit each day, then I was more than happy to see it end.
I think I was becoming a downer to my friends. We were suddenly haveing very adult conversations and each of those conversations left us a little more dead on the inside knowing what was crashing down around us was inevitable.
This is not a diatribe about getting old or growing up, fuck, we have ranted about that far to many times.
This is, if you are even here still, is about how there are a great many of us still hoping and searching. Thinking that the next great adventure is still out there. But we, hell, I am constantly disappointed.
Some writers much more famous than myself call it a quarter-life crisis. The idea that now at 23 going on 24 I was supposed to be doing much greater things with my life. I was supposed to be in a relationship or married at this point, right? I was supposed to have the love of my life both professionally and personally right at my side and everything was supposed to be figured out.
But it's not.
"You want it all and you want it now..." I have been told. And what the hell is wrong with that.
We are young, untested and idealistic in a world that values age, experience and critical reasoning to the problems before us. How do they expect us to be happy in this heap of a world. Even our own presidential election is pitting the youth and idealism of one side ofhte party against teh aged and
I stood at the bar down in the ritzy new entertainment district here and watched as those around me seemed to have it all and were getting it right hten and there. But that is the crux of this crisis that these writers have concocted. We see everything that everyone else has and want it too.
But the central failings of this crisis is that there is no fix. There is no solution outside of recognizing that, yeah, life's a bitch sometimes. People die, politicians continue to fuck around and the price of milk will always go up.
I had avoided making adult decision or dealing with this kind of shit in the past. But too many friends are getting sick, divorced, pregnant or unemployed to ignore that fact that we will never be as good as we thought we were going to be.
You can't have it all.
It's been one year since I moved downtown. From this new Department of GOnzo HQ we have launched some of the most insane moments and take this foul beast of a life for a hard ride.
While most look back on their lives year-by-year,around Christmas or the New Year — as is only natural. I kind of like to look at my year as starting this May.
MayDay will prove to be the begining, not only of year 24 for me, but also of the second chapter in my downtown adventures and mas of people who make up this area. I might not get it all at once, but knowing that its at least out there and ready for the taking makes me feel a little bit better about the next turn in this truly bizare life.
This summer promises to hold some very interesting stories. The winter had gotten to me and I think much of this malaise — and even part of giving up on this blog — was the desire to make some significant changes. Regroup and come back to you all with some more of my patented wit and wisdom; not these five-page long blatherings that really only benefit me.
But it even as we lookc back on this fun little experiment we can see some central themes that usually get missed when reading only one or two of the entires at a time. The lows seem to equal the highs and even though we have hada low month or two, that means once the sun comes back out and the temperature heads back into the 80s and 90 then we will see some of those adventures return.
As the new horizons and opportunities. Maybe this time around we can learn from this past year.
The Election judge took my ID as I was signing in to mark my X for a new candidate and another smoking ban.
"my goodness, boy, you look so young in this picture," she said looking at my driver's license, which was taken only two years ago.
It could have been the beard or the glasses, hell it could have been the clothes i was wearing that day. But seemed to think that this man standing before her was much older than the kid in the photo ID.
It will be hard to accept that not everything it going to come up aces, or that my business plan with my attorney will ever pan out, but at least I can take solace in the fact that whom ever came up with the term quarter-life crsis is making money somewhere off my own confusion when really all i need is another drink.
The only thing I can wish and hope for is that I will not be like that woman who simply boarded the bus after something as life shattering as a drive-by shooting.
"What can you do?" Well, hopefully there is a lot you can do and will be willing to do as we get ready to buy the ticket and take the ride time and time again.
I thought originally I would be ending this by saying I would be right there with here on that bus. Giving up and getting the hell out of the crime scene, but I won't. I don't think I even could.