Friday, September 08, 2006
Who can turn the world on with her smile?
...Well, not me, which is why I want to move not to Minneapolis but to New York City, where I'm sure my general surly countenance and general approval for honking your car-horn when the jerk in front of you won't move would be a, not necessarily "welcome" but at least apropos, addition to the city-scape.
My problem is, I'm lazy. It's a pain in the ass to try to find another job and to plan a move (and, at 41, to have to ask my mother for thousands of dollars that I don't have saved so I can pay first/last/deposit on the rent, not to mention the moving van). And I'm kind of used to living in an 850-square-foot house with a yard for $825 a month, as opposed to the 450-square-foot one-room studio with annoyingly loud neighbors for $1500 that I'd be sure to find myself in in Manhattan. The "being 41" definitely comes into play here, too: When you're 21, you don't know any better: It's just "an experience" to live in a shit-hole with obnoxious neighbors, etc. At 41, you've already been there and definitely don't see the glamour in it.
But on the plus site of NYC: For one thing, it has Joan movies showing constantly. At the Chelsea, at the MoMA, in Queens, wherever. And it has drag shows. With interesting drag queens, as opposed to schticky drag queens doing tired old fag jokes. And it's got history; I've been there 3 times, and everywhere I look is something that I've either read about or seen in a movie. (Not that "seen in a movie" is a plus just on the surface, but rather that it's interesting to see something and have 3 or 8 or 12 other connotations pop up in your head.) And it's got energy; maybe I was just hyped up the few times I was there because I was new---a distinct possibility. But I also felt a definite, palpable non-sluggish, non-"I've settled" quality to the town.
I live in Austin, and it's a perfectly pleasant, pretty, liberal college-town, gay-friendly and all that. But there's nothing going on here. Nothing. There's the constantly hyped "music scene" (with no particularly innovative or interesting bands) and there are poetry readings and a small theater scene (with no particularly innovative or interesting poets or shows). There's the "gay scene" (with plenty of generic preppy men or club boys and few non-butch lesbians in sight). I drive to work every day to a generic office building, head out to lunch every day in lunch-time generic office-worker traffic, head home again... All without SEEING anything interesting or different. The local weekly "alternative" paper touts the same minor performers with some Austin connection (like Doug Sahm, Charlie Sexton) that they've been talking about for 25 years... I feel like screaming from the inanity of it all. I could see myself retiring in Austin 20 years from now, but right now it's driving me mad.
At least New York City's not inane. And that's not a given just because it's a famed metropolis---I lived in San Francisco, also called a "world-class city," for 2 years in the '90s, and it was EXTREMELY inane, just as dead artistically as Austin is now. I guess I fear that I'll go to NYC and discover that the everyday, petty annoyances (like loud neighbors and stereotypical gay boys and PC lesbians) will be just the same as in Austin, and that I've wasted a whole lot of time, energy, and money for nothing! (But, screw the people---the buildings there are just so pretty!)