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Independent Thinking

“I can hear the fireworks / up-and-down the San-fran-cis-co bay” – Van Morrison

Approaching another birthday and getting old. I never seem to “become old” but instead am always getting there. It’s like one last thing to aspire to before dying in failure. Bob Dylan has this line “I’m gettin’ old ; anything can happen now to anyone.” And he’s right. If you go they go, too. Also, the older you get the less you have to lose (time-wise, anyway.) I suppose you lose a whole life accumulated to that moment, but only in that moment and then you’re gone. Losing one’s keys or wallet is a far greater tragedy.

I’ve been dreaming about New York City lately, every night. I went through a period like this about fifteen years ago, before moving back the second time. The dreams are intense and keep coming. New York enters one’s subconscious when energy is low and you feel like you’ve been left behind. Its idea is like a shot of psychic energy filled with possibility and confusion. In one of my dreams last night I’m in a bar and an ‘older’ woman (in my dreams I’m always younger) references my being gay and I tell her “yeah, I’ve got that whole ‘Midnight Cowboy’ thing going on.” Then I’m in another bar with a friend but there’s a waiting list and I overhear a group of young white people saying “Rupert’s kids were here last night.” I’m trying to get my slippers on and noticing that there’s sawdust on the floor and the place only serves beer.

I’m taking care of my friend’s fish. His name is ‘Ralphie’ and she left him with me before going back to New York herself. I’m that guy now, the one who people leave their pets with. A pillar of stable immobility. My brother has gotten in the habit of leaving his dog with me, the one he got for his kids before they left him for college. She’s a good dog and a real chick-magnet (lot of good that does me with this Midnight Cowboy thing going on) but I think I take the task a bit too seriously. Same with the fish. I noticed that he was lethargic shortly after he was put in my charge. He didn’t have the nicest of tanks. It was a dingy little number with some glass rocks at the bottom and he’d taken to hiding in between a couple of the bigger ones. So I bought him a new aquarium, a fancier getup with a real filtration system and everything. Now he’s darting around like a fish reborn and I’m dreaming of New York City.

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  1. Emily McGranaghan wrote:

    Hey Rick,

    Hope all going great..and always glad to see your prose.

    Referring to your 7/4 post Independent Thinking…and dreaming of NYC. It reminds me of why I elected to stay on the right coast after traversing back and forth between Boston and the Bay Area until 2005…When anyone ever asks me (even now-)…”How could you ever leave California??? it’s so BEAUTIFUL?!?” I tell them what I believe, and why this is my center of gravity…and permanent place…. Six words: “It’s all happening at the zoo” (thanks NJ born but Queens-raised P. Simon). It’s all happening here on the E. Coast…even in a “B-City” of Boston. Could be a myth, or a wishful state of mind. But I still think it’s all happening here. Hope you have an agent! My best, E.M.

    Saturday, July 15, 2023 at 5:59 am | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    Hi Emily

    Great to hear from you. No agent, though to be realistic my hopes for an NFL career are dwindling. (Also the whole CTE thing really got my attention post-50.) I was still bouncing between NYC and the Bay Area for another twelve years after 2005. Perhaps had something to do with being too late to receive any come-ons from the whores on Seventh Avenue. Also Paul Simon tends to give me Doug Boxer flashbacks. But to quote the more plucky (pluckier?) Bob Dylan “I ain’t dead yet / my bell still rings.” Might be time for a late-life push back to Gotham. Say hi to Fenway for me.

    Saturday, July 15, 2023 at 7:36 am | Permalink

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