I came to a realization the other day: I have no money; I have no prospects; and I am incredibly excited. It’s a funny moment when you realize the romantic, slightly comic notion you carry around of yourself is maybe not so far off from reality. I’ll often think, with a laugh, that I am a bum. It’s kind of a joke. But wait a minute, let’s look at the facts here. I possess negative money at the moment – I owe more than I have. I am on absolutely no type of career track. I have no assets. I never buy anything. I have holes in most of my clothes. Holy shit, I am a bum!
But what a place to be one in. I try to live a life of constant engagement with the city of New York. Now do I count drinking on random street corners as constant engagement? You bet I do! The same goes for spending hours in various public libraries, pecking and skimming from a plethora of books. My favorite one of late has been the Hudson Park branch, not so much for its decor as for the fact that it’s on Saint Luke’s Place.
Saint Luke’s Place is what Leroy Street changes its name to, only between 7th Ave. and Hudson St. It’s a street I wouldn’t have known existed if I hadn’t stumbled upon it. In fact when I watched the Audrey Hepburn movie Wait Until Dark, set on that block, I thought it was fictional. But it isn’t and that one block alone has housed some serious writers – Sherwood Anderson and Theodore Dreiser to name a few. Sherwood Anderson’s best known work is Winesburg, Ohio, a short story cycle that comes together like a novel. Dreiser’s is probably An American Tragedy, I don’t know, I haven’t read that one yet, but it’s on my list. (Can you see how that excites the hell out of me: the notion of even having a list?) Oh, Saint Luke’s Place also served as the exterior shot for the Huxtable’s house on The Cosby Show.
Who cares? I don’t know. I do. I like to think that every little bit of knowledge ties me that much closer to the full subtleties of enjoyment. It’s what I’m after mostly. Just pour them on me – name me every name of everyone and every work they’ve ever made. These people really existed, and they’re all saying the same thing: this is the world. And I like this world. It’s also mine.
One time recently I was in a cheese shop looking at all the wonderful cheeses. And I started thinking, this is one reason I’d like to be rich – so that I could buy any of the different cheeses I wanted. And then I thought, wait a minute, I don’t even have to be rich – I mean we’re talking about cheese here. My personal favorite is Parmesan, which some might call “The King of Cheeses.” Which one’s yours?
(originally posted Nov. 14th, 2008 on Takethehandle.com)