Wanderlust

WRITING FINDING FEELING SEEING

"Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something."

"Our purpose actually changes throughout our lives as we try different jobs, travel to new places, meet new people, and grow older. Over the last 30 years, I’ve had numerous different “callings,” from being Big Bird on Sesame Street to being a sports writer to making movies—and I’m currently doing none of those things.

We each have to define meaning for ourselves and accept that our definition might change over time.”

-meaningful work

travel with more time; you’ll be richer

Here is what I learned from 40 years of traveling: Of the two modes, it is far better to have more time than money.

When you have abundant time you can get closer to core of a place. You can hang around and see what really happens. You can meet a wider variety of people. You can slow down until the hour that the secret vault is opened. You have enough time to learn some new words, to understand what the real prices are, to wait out the weather, to get to that place that takes a week in a jeep.

Money is an attempt to buy time, but it rarely is able to buy any of the above. When we don’t have time we use money to try to get us to the secret door on time, or we use it avoid needing to know the real prices, or we use money to have someone explain to us what is really going on. Money can get us close, but not all the way.

more time is better than more money

I bought the book on the first of March and it is now April 15th. There were breaks but it took 1.5 months to read a novel with 289 pages. That is around 6.42222 pages a day. 

I am sometimes a slow reader.

I liked the story but I like-liked that the chapters had titles more, which I barely see anymore. Back down under where you belong, now that we’re happy, our resurrections aren’t what they used to be. In these chapters a man would balance on cranes and beams above the sky. Ledges under ground covered in ice they never slipped.

It is 50 degrees and I am happy it is 70 degrees and I am happy it is 50 again and I am unsure again and cold. It is snowing and everything is changing, even the weather websites. 

Two years ago: I was on the phone on the high cliffs in San Diego and you were on the fire escape in new york city and it was cold there and you were high up and I was high and yes, you were outside in the dead of winter you were tall enough so the beams barely reached your hips. 

In the book I finally finished they never slipped. Two years and two months prior we climbed a mountain and you joked about flying off, together, with plastic wings from Party City.

How many stories was it? Four flights. The fall would not be far I was on the phone across the goddamn country and why would you be out on the icy fire escape smoking a cigarette again

it was not an accident. It was supposed to snow in april so I would remember to write all of this

Maybe if I move my bed to the other wall it’s like I’m living somewhere new. I begin to think I am not qualified to do anything but readjust my head to different corners of the room. I am good at adaptation: switching from potato fries to yucca fries, cold to warm weather jogs, directing only kindness after the recalling of this: you are changing my life.

I move forward because I am not like those college tour guides who can walk backwards and smile and be bold. I move forward because there is no other way.

I am a crane that builds things, beautiful things and then takes to wings.

Every day I am running again. Outside I finally feel hot and my hat blocks the sun and my shoes are still not right (my left pinky toe is squished. Ignore). The first ten steps are the absolute best when I am determined to keep running forever. Like a guitar players’ calluses the blisters are welcomed back on my feet and my hips pop while the laundry piles.

Like a tattoo pain justifies ownership. I possess every tight hamstring every mile it’s probably been tens of thousands now. I feel bliss and discomfort and freed at the same time. I could never explain what it’s like. But everything I need to figure out is figured out on these runs.

I always go to the track first. I watch people and stretch. I determine the route. Sometimes I just stay there — the last time I did nine 200 meter sprints. In my head it was three sets of three. Around the curve I feel like a gazelle as I open up my stride to a peculiar length. I dodge small kids and soccer balls and slower people stuck in the first lane. Women sell churros and soda to my right. My watch always says 33 seconds as I cross the line and sometimes I wish I was fast like I used to be — I once ran this in 26 seconds which in seven seconds faster in a distance so small — but I still feel like the gazelle.

After each 200 meter sprint I want it to be my last one. My legs burn I feel slightly nauseous my triceps are pulling against too much gravity and yet I begin jogging the other curve with quick breaths and I say one more just one more after each one and I could keep doing this forever (a life filled with convincing yourself you can do a thing for a final time but never let it go) and the lactic acid will spew onto the rubber below my feet and I am steel that stretches to the sky, I am a crane that builds things, beautiful things and then takes to wings. 

The buildings across the east river were split open with sunlight. I woke up very early to see it: running in the almost darkness over the pink bridge that was empty and warm. I saw the sun rise on a bench and wanted to tell people I found solace. Running back I negotiate the sidewalks and streets. An elderly Chinese man stumbles through trash and picks up a plastic pink rose and holds it to his nose while I realize how much my life will change.

You stay in bed sitting up in the corner, the light waking you slowly. There is a small cactus in the window from the farmer’s market. There are seashells strung around your neck that have made dents in your skin. Each shell looks like an aerial view of a tiny round mountain I will climb and have collected for you. There are constellations tattooed on your ribcage and bike chain grease on your leg. You think to speak to the plant. You shower. 

Other mornings we lay and list homonyms until we run out. Cranes are paper or tall steel or birds. Fluke, jam, light, sink, chip. Right is morally good and a direction. Perhaps we stopped talking because we picked the wrong meaning of words.

Now I only speak in body language. I show hesitation with my shoulder pulled back and for pure joy my fingers spread wide across my chest. Clarity is wide eyes and pain is locked knees. For the details I write. These stories go on postcards. I ask strangers for mailing addresses and with anonymity I give my words to the world.

to walk

The sun is down, the stars are out.
The bridge moves to manhattan
and we begin to walk.

On an everyday sunday evening the thin fleece feels right.
Walking down rodney, to meeker, left after the gas station
on russel and there is no music playing for once. I follow
the BQE and listen to the cars above and know that life is
like the G train: all the stuff on the subway. Plants, coffee,
crammed bodies and stories for each set of shoes. I skipped
the subway to walk without headphones to dinner with wine
and pulled pork, family, a typical sunday in a neighborhood I
think is almost mine to hold on to. The sky is clear and there
are stars. I search for the tail of the little dipper, three small
dots that have followed me most places. The black sky is 
lit up by specs of amber light and yet I could not find it.

On a monday night it is pouring. From the L train to my
apartment people with black umbrellas walk down
keap, right on to south 3rd street, the bodega is closing
a woman walks her dog in the rain to smoke a cigarette.
There is a collapsed box of raisins in the middle of the road
and I cannot tell if the rain is catching on my eyelashes
and falling, or is it tears, or both, or does it even matter
when you are filled with water and the grey sky
clouds the galaxies. But I am moving. I am warmed.

On a tuesday morning I look for clarity in the faint
salt of the swimming pool. It’s like movement through 
thinning mud, I jog to the east river in the afternoon
to look for missing things. I close my eyes and remember
how you lost your strength and so we posted signs around
the city. 8.3 million people curled out of their houses and
searched with flashlights and with kaleidoscopes.
We unearthed a spirit and flames; we celebrated the peeling
of translucent walls — a biography —  on the lower east side. 

The sun is out, the stars are waiting.
The bridge moves to brooklyn
and we begin again to walk.