It is spring time and once again I have the itchy feet that come free of charge with every impatient traveler. I am not road weary yet — thank heavens, seeing as I am still such a young and spritely twenty one — and I am back to struggling against the urge to give in to the feeling that all I want to do is throw some items in a few bags, withdraw all my cash, pawn everything worth money, and hit the road to sights unseen or places more comfortable.
D.C. has done well for me, I admit. When I moved back here in January 2001, I thought it was going to be terrible. For a while, it was rather bad — lonely, quiet, isolated. In the past nine months my situation here has improved drastically. I am thankful that I am here, have met the people that I have, and that there are so many things to do. Still, I feel disconnected and unsettled.
The main problem is perhaps living where I do. Thirty to forty minutes from what I consider to be civilization (be it D.C. or Baltimore), and then once I get there I am but a suburban transient with no place to rest my feet or take a shit in private. Sometimes all one wants to do is take a shit in private without tracking the car back down and driving back down the highway from which you came. If I could just get out of here, I reason, if I could have my own place where I can shit any time of day with any of my reading material that I so chose to accompany me, then I would feel more at home here.
I like this area. I like D.C. The problem is that I am never going to be able to afford it, ever. My therapist keeps reminding me that I will get better and get off public assistance, and then will be able to work a job with sustainable income instead of attempting to live on $550 a month. The longer this wears on, though, and the less my body heals regardless of what I do to help it along, the less conviction I have that I am going to reach the point where I will be able to get by on my own. I suppose I am losing hope.
D.C. is rather vibrant and has a multitude of art, music, and theatre events, a plethora of museums and exhibits, and an excess of great places to eat and shop. The problem is that it is all so expensive! The scenes are small, tight, and often filled with crap, but that tends to happen when places stagnant and become full of themselves. Here and there are interesting, new things happening, but for the most part there is a certain lacking in innovation.
The lack of innovation, large groups of friendly people, cheap entertainment and living, and central locations for each idea, have me tired of struggling to get by here. Driving around the city late at night with Maude a week ago, I realized I still have that ambivalent and yet unpassioned feeling toward D.C. that I have always had, and that feeling leaves me unnerved. There has never been any doubt in my mind that I love Pittsburgh, Edinburgh, and an unnamed region of North Carolina, and that these locations have firm places in my heart. D.C. I have always simply accepted and been indifferent toward its various offerings.
The more I look around me, though, and the more Maude and I venture to other places and partake of their offerings, the more dissatisfied I am here. What I would not give for an experimental or noise music scene here like Pittsburgh\’s, or the Volunteer Collective scene in Baltimore — even Williamsburg is looking really good.
I just want something like a neighborhood again. Stimulating culture with music and ideas that I actually enjoy instead of hearing the same house, ebm, and indie beats over and over again. To live within walking distance of something interesting, to hear city sounds as I go to sleep at night. After all the nights out with Maude over the past few weeks, I spent last night wandering around the house wondering what the hell was wrong, until I realized that I had grown used to the background noise and that the suburban silence now makes my skin crawl in uneasiness.
Baltimore is so cheap. I have been thinking of moving there. $375 for a two room plus kitchen with roof access in a good neighborhood. Prices comparable to Pittsburgh. I have been driving myself crazy by looking in the local papers of these cities to scour for rent I can afford. There are plenty. You can still get a house in Pittsburgh with three bedrooms, two baths, a living room, a dining room, kitchen, a spiral staircase, and a fenced in yard for less than $800.
I am itching to get the hell out of here. I would more than enjoy living in D.C., but it just ain\’t gonna happen. I have worked hard to establish a life here and would hate to uproot that, but I know it is basically inevitable at this point. I have been asking myself, would I say goodbye to my friends, Maude, and the city I have come to know just to be able to have my own space in the neighborhood again? The answer is yes.
No clue when this is going to happen, but if it does not by my twenty third birthday (June 27, 2004), I am going to offer myself as a live-in sexual and domestic servant in order to make ends meet and obtain housing. I should have done that the moment I moved back here, but no, I had to try it the legit way. Fuck legit; it is time to get drastic. The first thing I need to do is see my lawyer; that takes place on Friday. I have absolutely no hope that it will help me at all, but I am continuing to go through the motions so that I do not go mad. I will drive myself crazy before anyone else will.