Out in the real world
will cause tremors around the New City.
Two great rocks will war for a long time,
then Arethusa will redden a new river.
Nostradamus (Century 1, Quatrain 87)
So here I am again--huddled over Herman the Powerbook--on my boyfriend BGs rickety little futon in the wilds of the Bronx, New York. This morning, at the other end of the teeny "couch," BG sat working on his latest painting of Sid Vicious's mug shot (he eschews easels), the cat snuggled contentedly between us. Safe and sound once again--far far away from the real world. Except, of course, in my head.
Like most addicts, I justify my newfound web obsession by telling myself it's a harmless diversion. It's not like I'm trolling the streets of the naked city in pursuit of an "angry fix." Except for the monthly internet fee, it's all free fun, so I'm not squandering my money. Besides, It's been a brutally hot summer--and though mad dogs, Englishmen, and BG go out in the noonday sun (BG trudges the mean streets for hours), I prefer the more sane alternative of air conditioned luxury.
As a result, things have evolved to the point where I don't leave the apartment for days. I get virtually no exercise, and I'm smoking cigs with the same compulsive fervor a crack fiend devotes to the pipe. When I'm not on Herman, I'm either:
Zoning out in front of the TV;
Having long rambling conversations with BG over coffee and yet more cigs;
Enjoying ever more frequent party daze devoted solely to the consumption of liberal quantities of liquor and herbal supplements, along with stoned blabbering to a soundtrack featuring all my fave Britpop masters--Depeche Mode, XTC, Elvis Costello, et al.-- and a temporary moratorium on CNN.
But in the back of my mind lately is a haunting irony which keeps me from feeling too guilt ridden, viz:
Even if I forsook all junk food, jogged every day, ate only whole grains, veggies and tofu, and banned all booze and bowleg--all that pristine self sacrifice in the name of longevity could still be a total waste of time. Why not eat, drink, and be merry if tomorrow we could all be vaporized?
Nevertheless, after an evening of partying this past Saturday, I vowed to get up bright and early the next morning and schlep back to my coop in "the city" (aka Manhattan). I had work to do--C, my ex b/f, needed help alternately packing or trashing his voluminous junk, in preparation for the sale of our coop.
But as I often do, especially when Herman or the bottle beckons, I woke up late and quickly conjured up a handy excuse not to get after it on Sunday,
For one thing, the subway service was always disrupted on the weekends, when the MTA scheduled most of its maintenance and repair work. Yeah, that'll work.
But then, of course, there was the even more compelling fact that it was September 11th. I figured if anything untoward happened in NYC on the fourth anniversary of the World Trade Centter attacks, it would be much more likely to occur in Manhattan than in the Bronx. What would they do here, blow up the Botanical Gardens?
So I went into the city yesterday instead, After dragging my heels as usual, I finally got to my downtown apartment by mid-afternoon. C had the TV turned on to some People's Court clone, and we started loading up his crap into boxes and garbage bags.
Then, the regularly scheduled show was interrupted by a special report.
Seems that a large portion of Los Angeles, California had just been hit with a blackout. Officials were quick to reassure the public that it did not look like a terrorist attack--DESPITE THE FACT that just the day before, on 9/11, a tape had been released featuring a dire warning regarding upcoming attacks on Los Angeles, California and Melbourne, Austrailia.
According to the New York Times:
"ABC News broadcast the tape which it said it had received in Pakistan on Saturday. It reported that the masked speaker appeared to be Adam Yahiye Gadahn, a young man from Southern California who is wanted for questioning by the F.B.I. In the taped message, the speaker threatens attacks on the two cities, "Allah willing," and warns that the attackers will show no compassion."
A blackout in LA the day after--some coinki-dink, hey? For awhile, despite the official reassurances, I really thought this was IT. But it turned out that some bozo had cut a cable by mistake, and the power was up and running again within a few hours.
But I suspect that the combo of the 9/ll anniversary, the recent Hurricane Katrina disaster, our involvement in Iraq, and the tragic bumbling of the Administration in getting people out of New Orleans in a timely manner had given me a whopping case of post traumatic stress disorder. As a result, anything I heard or read seemed like one more sign pointing the way to the next indescribable horror.
Many years ago, I saw a movie about Nostradamus called "The Man who saw Tomorrow." Hosted by Orson Welles, it succeeded in scaring the living shit out of me by detailing some major global events he had (arguably) predicted. Although skeptics abound, I was haunted forever after by the quatrains concerning the three Antichrists. Most Nostaradamus afficianados agree that the first was Napoleon, the second Hitler, and that the third--even more unimaginably evil than those before him-- will hail from the Mid-East (though some favor East Asia). To illustrate this, the movie featured a chilling scene of a dusky faced, blue-turbaned man, his finger poised over the nuke button--destination, New York City.
This film was released, if memory serves, during the tail end of the Cold War and before the war on terror, so the idea of global annhilation originating from the mideast rather than Russia was kind of novel at the time. Now, of course, it seems all too likely.
Much has been blogged lately about the Bush Administration's embarrassing and tragic blunders in response to the awesome devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Cutting short his month-long vacation, the Prez finally gave up the figurative umbrella cocktails by the pool and emerged to say some stupid insensitive things while viewing the massive devastation of the area. Unforgivable and tragic fuckups--which left residents stranded without food, water, or adequate police protection for days and days--resulted in untold deaths and injuries, and horrible despair and chaos.
One result of all this is that Bush's approval ratings have plummeted. Another is the chilling reaization that if the almighty USA--busy fighting a war that so many now agree is an unmitigated disaster--cannot deal with a domestic crisis, what in the flying fuck will happen if (or in all likelihood, when) we are attacked by terrorists again?
Today I fully intended to go back downtown and proceed with the trashing and the boxing. But there's been many a day lately where I've just blown it off and kept myself glued to Herman. Maybe part of the reason is that although the coop sale has been much anticipated and a long time coming, I can't predict with any certainty that my new dream will be realized.
This dream involves getting a two-bedroom coop a ten-minute walk from BGs crib. We can hang out chez Elvira, but we can also chill at BG's. In addition, BG can utilize his (much) smaller space as a real studio, where he can paint in peace. If I'm lucky, I can bag a high floor, with a view of the Harlem river and Palisades.
Much like my Manhattan coop, I see this apartment as the culmination of a New York fantasy. C and I bought the Manhattan coop for a song about 13 years ago --(8 grand, if I recall correctly) with no mortgage and a low monthly maintance. The neighborhood, on Manhattan's Lower East Side, had once been a cramped, squalid immigrant ghetto. When I first lived there with my aunt in high school, it was still a 'hood no one considered even emotely trendy. But in typical New York fashion, the area has undergone a dramatic metamorphosis culminating in its current status as a boho playground for the hip. Former tenements and sweatshops have morphed into repositories of innumerable bars, restaurants, galleries, boutiques, unaffordable apartments, and luxe hotels
My Manhattan one bedroom (with full eat in kitchen) is huge by NYC standards (approx. 800 sq ft). All the windows save one feature a partial view of the east river, where one can watch tugboats and sailboats go by as the afternoon light streams cheerfully in. The remaining window in the bedroom--featuring a downtown skyline--offered a prime view of the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks on my birthday--as well as the tip of one of the World Trade Center's towers every night, its antennna's red light blinking reassuringly in the dark.
Six months after 9/11 brought A Tribute in Light (view AWESOME slideshow here)-- an art installation featuring two vertical columns of light next to the former WTC site. Every night from March 11 to April 14, 2002, I could gaze upon this ghostly reminder of what had been destroyed forever from my bedroom window before I went to sleep.
Moreover, if I had ventured downtown on Sunday--and stayed late enough to see the sun go down--I would have been able to see the Tribute of Light once again, as it is resurrected every September 11th to mark this sad anniversary. .
In any case, although I'm always up for ready excuses, I sense that one reason I bagged out again today is because part of me wonders if all the preparations for my next dream might be for naught. In the meantime, I connect with the "real world" in an artificial way--through TV and webcasts, along with reading the many bloggers who have been writing daily about Katrina and Bush's follies. More than ever, I'm trying to live each day to the fullest for obvious reasons, even if that means favoring what I enjoy over what I "should" be doing. .
So now that BG has just returned from his daily Battan Death March redux--toting a brand new bottle of vodka to boot--I don't particulary regret the fact that my venture into the real world will just have to be postponed one more precious day. Cheers!