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Spilled Ink

“It gets late early around here” – Yogi Berra

October 26, 2003

And so now Brooklyn, like most of the country, falls back to Standard Time. An extra hour to fit…this…in. My arrival in June, while not quite a distant memory, is gaining an oddly remote quality. Humid nights lying in the first sublet, listening to thunder and reasoning “this is all new” have passed. It’s still new, but more like a low mileage car starting to lose that just-off-the-lot smell. I can work the radio and interior lights now, but where I’m driving is anybody’s guess.

Despite standard self-discovery rants, life more often seems an exercise in determining what you don’t want. I don’t want to work in an office with four tightly wound women. I don’t want to come home to myself every night. If I keep at it and retain strong faith in elimination’s process, my true path will emerge. I did want to live in New York for a while, and by most estimates have accomplished this. Like the sticker says: wherever you go, there you are.

***

Park Slope appears geared for Halloween with spooky stoop motifs and graveyard scenes abounding. I soured on the deal living near the Castro in San Francisco, but Brooklyn is more in tune with the Halloween of my youth, as opposed to the version embraced by the Joan Crawford drag set. I even carved a few pumpkins last night and set them on the book crates at the end of my bed. This rare display of seasonal enthusiasm is either evidence of emerging festive tendencies or a desperate need for fresh faces around the house.

While my assimilation skills still leave much to be desired, I sense I’m really solidifying my position as a permanent outsider. My passing stranger glance, complete with warm grin and restlessly assured eyes is top-drawer stuff. I’m considering taking this “letter-from” thing on the road. Letter from Toledo…Letter from Burma…it all works. Somewhere among countless possibilities is that elusive chunk of real estate capable of steadying my fickle brain chemistry. Letter from Prozac. I think they already wrote that one.

***

As previously mentioned, I feel in somewhat urgent need of fit, or a deal. Where do people come up with theirs? Are they pulled randomly or summoned from some inner region I’m incapable of accessing? I consider the woman with latte next to me, deeply absorbed with her grad school workbook on Rorschach inkblots. Was she born to pursue this path or did it come to her through long, arduously contemplative nights? It’s likely something she has to do to be awarded the degree. This is why prison works well for many – limited choices and something you have to do. Just break these rocks and we’ll have more here tomorrow. All considered, a Rorschach workbook wouldn’t be a bad thing for me about now.

I’m not familiar with Rorschach’s history. Probably some guy with poor penmanship who stumbled across mind-numbing revelations on the human condition. Like penicillin, many of man’s most beneficial discoveries spring from accidental spills or something grown unintentionally on bread. This is the route I’m relying upon, because left to my own devices I’m all too capable of talking myself out of things.

But I’m straying from my mark. Letter from Brooklyn, right? Fine town, really. Lot of heart. And its upscale neighbor, sporting the second place ballclub with championship payroll? Could kick your city’s ass, I’ll tell you this much. Never lived anywhere like it. Walking though Times Square with my dad one night last week, bathed in the flood of obscene fluorescence, it occurred to me. This city needs me here; it just hasn’t figured it out yet.

2003 Rick Monaco All Rights

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