Clinton & President

June 30th, 2010 § 0 comments

Adam Gopnik says:

In New York, the space between what you want and what you’ve got creates a civic itchiness: I don’t know a content New Yorker.

Moving is difficult. It’s not so much the physical act of lugging your things from one place to another, albeit an exhausting experience beginning with packing the first box to unpacking the last, but the psychological aspect of being in transition that makes it so traumatizing. All semblance of a routine full of familiarity and comfort disappears as objects are moved, and rather than facing the fear we might feel at not knowing if a new home will become a home, even though they always do, it’s easier to cling to our belongings. I watched my Grandpa horde objects throughout my lifetime, loving his clutter so much that I associated his belongings with his person, and moving his furniture felt just like moving the displaced man himself. While watching his things disappear from a house I loved was like witnessing a small kind of death, seeing familiar, though just as displaced trinkets in my parents various apartments over the years act as a reassurance that they are still themselves. I think about the infamous wagon-wheel-coffee-table scene from When Harry Met Sally when I trash objects I myself fought so hard to keep in my possession. The things that surround us have a meaning we don’t really intend for them to have, and seem to be the most convenient tokens of displaced emotions. Moving this past weekend I realized, only when I was returning the van and all was safely moved, including my most precious yowling Boo, that everything was alright. It’s seeing our lives packed and placed in a homeless state that is so unsettling.

Carroll Gardens

Ten moves in eight years, I keep grumbling to myself. I do love moving to new places, exploring new neighborhoods, but now that I have found somewhere I want to stay these shuffles from borough to borough feel like the precursor to settling somewhere for good, or at least for longer than I have ever lived before. Giving up my little apartment in Queens, the only place I have ever lived alone was the most bittersweet home I have ever given up. Wrapped into that place was a lovely freedom it took me too many years to find. Woolf was wise, and that apartment was my first room. It saw many quiet evenings, a few late nights, and a good many absences. I loved Woodside because it was my neighborhood, I discovered it, and lived in it myself. Perhaps it takes becoming an adult to remember the selfish independence we felt as children. I dreamed of that apartment long before I had it, and I changed my mind about leaving it more times than I ever hesitated about anything.

Clinton St

But Brooklyn and I fell in love from the beginning, and I am happy to be living in it. Carroll Gardens is pretty, full of tree-lined streets, babies, Midwestern styled buildings that vaguely remind me of Chicago, and friendly people who talk to you on the street, distantly recalling Richmond. Carroll Gardens will be a good stomping ground, a new place to explore. It was not where I had planned to move, and I came to see this apartment on Clinton St. in a moment of frustration, but could not seem to resist it once I saw it. Gopnik also says,

…what aspirations and accommodations share is the quality of becoming, of not being fixed in place, of being in every way unfinished. An aspiration might someday be achieved; and accommodation will someday be replaced. The romantic vision—we’ll get to the city across the river someday!—ends up harmonizing with the unromantic embrace of reality: We’ll get that closet cleaned out yet.

I’ll have my loft and studio one day, but in the meantime I have a new neighborhood at my fingertips.


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