A little past mid-year

So this is an update to this one...

How am I coming along? Here it is in a mess of words:

1. Reading and writing more -
- well - for all of March, April, May and June, and even the first week or two of July, I was working 50-60 hours a week. I got a lot done before then and will hopefully do more again soon. Barely reading at all now. Sucks. And therefore little is inspiring me to write. I have to admit, also, I'm a bit bored with politics. Not ignoring them, just have no new responses. But I always say that and then write something a week later, anyways.

2. Working on music - 
- yes! - still a long way to go. I am. My standards are high. Fuck, I could make a shitty trendy deep house record right now. But I am not "cool" and I don't know any "cool" people to hawk my shitty record to, so quality and an attempt at, well, who knows, maybe, originality, well, that's my only recourse I guess. And only desire, too, really. Not as easy to fulfill.

3. Improving social interactions - 
- trying, mostly failing. I don't want to blame Providence again, but it's like, um. Ok. So I did try and do some stuff over the last few months. There was a series of Film Noirs being shown at the Library for free and I went to most of them. Enjoyed the movies, although, like: in DC free classic movie is at the East Wing of the National Gallery with hundreds of people at least and a beautifully-restored 35-mm print on a massive screen. Providence: maybe ten people, all of whom are significantly older than I or younger 'cause they are the kids of the older people. DVD or BluRay from ok projector on to small screen. I never befriended anyone watching a film at the National Gallery, but I enjoyed the films. Neither film pleasure nor friend options at the Providence Library.

Also, I went to a show last Friday. It was for a band with roots in radical punk. Lead singer is a god to some people. While waiting in line, overheard: "so glad this show is ending early so I can go and get wasted and put my dick in a skank". No irony there. Afterwards, sitting at the bar, "I guess being from DC is where the singer gets all that politics stuff from". Said to me. How to respond - "well, it definitely is part of the culture". That didn't really go anywhere. Outside, after running into someone I know and going out for a smoke, and meeting someone new: "I like your restaurant" but "I didn't have a good time there last time" because "there was this family with a lot of kids running around and making noise". Ok. No problems there. I hate that too. Except, he had to mention something to the effect of: black kids are noisier and more-badly-behaved. Jesus. Fuck off. Just stared at him until he realized he was an asshole. He did. And the show was ok. Just another nothing's-at-stake-here performance of average music. That's a big Friday night out for me here. I tried! Not the first time: boring bullshit attitudes towards women, political apathy, casual racism. Nor does the fact that it all happened around an "art space" filled with "punks" who namecheck all sorts of bands who, you know, aren't like that, even are against it, well, that doesn't even surprise me anymore. I'm starting to feel really stifled. Either I can be negative as fuck about the things that concern other people, ignored when I talk about things that concern me, or silent. Gonna make so many friends this way!!!

4. Rebuild love life -
- see above. I mean, all the words I hear that make me want to vomit when I leave the house are coming from men. That's at least a decent sign. I think it's just, ok, it's all partially my fault, I am not "putting myself out there" as much as I need to. It's true. But I get tired. You know how when you talk to people and then you mention seeing some movie or liking some band or having some thought about some event and then the other person picks up on it and then you actually start heading somewhere talking-wise? Maybe someone asks a question? That's, like, not happening. At all. And now I am catching myself doing it. But partially, because I don't care. I can't help it. Oh, you saw a band I either dislike or am indifferent to? I'm glad you had a great time, now I feel like I know who you are and am even less interested, don't know what else to say. Weather in New England is weird, huh?

5. Back to a big city - 
the thing about making music again is that I realized I probably dissuaded myself from spending serious time on it previously because the pleasure I feel doing it starts to make the rest of my life feel more untenable. I know, rationally, that my job is the thing that pays the bills so I can do what's pleasurable the rest of the time, but I'm not cut out for that separation. It's not me. The less I bartend, the more I work on music, the more impossible bartending becomes. The great thing about the restaurant industry is that you don't have to take your work home with you. The crappy thing: repetition. If Rush can't pretend "a stranger is a long-awaited friend", well, I can't pretend to be excited about answering the same fucking questions ten hours a day. "The restroom is. The specials are. Any interest in desert? That joke is really funny, sir. Haven't heard it before." I am starting to get physically ill from my regulars. Oh, you're here again? We see each other almost every night. But we have nothing to talk about. And I know you don't care. Also. You don't build anything in the industry. You do your preparatory work. You serve stuff. You clean up. And everything is back to where it was when you started. And again.

Where was I? Split loyalties. New York - highs and lows are much more extreme compared to DC. Neither place is what I want it to be. I miss both desperately. DC is beautiful, livable, walkable, has great food, and that food is much more accessible than in New York, somehow. Too many places in New York can make one, especially one as I broke as I was when I was there, feel insecure. DC is a great place to consume culture, and there are plenty of likeminded people. New York, well, everything is a challenge. And most nights I went out sucked, really. And some of them were the best nights of my life, and, what's more, nights I could not have had anywhere else. There was a reward, also, of, sometimes, just the city itself. Just to look up once in a while and say "yes". I'm sure some of my longterm-readers are surprised I would even consider New York again but...

Now that I have moved to Providence, I can tell you, it's not just gentrification, it's my generation. Doesn't matter where you live. The conservatism, the "progressive" hedonism of tasteful consumption. The complacency, the superficiality. Oppositional culture is done. Folk culture is done. Makes sense, really. I've talked about it. Providence calls itself "the creative capital". Dive bars are an asset to power.

Providence is cheap. I am woodshedding. That's it. You may be reading this, paying too much for a shoebox, thinking, maybe this guy (me) has the right idea. I can tell you now. If you have skills you need to develop, maybe a problem you need to fix, yeah, come on up or go somewhere else, whatever, but once you are actually good, better-balanced, go back. Especially if you are miserable. Most people in small towns aren't. Most people don't seem to want to take on more. You want more, you'll feel alienated.

(Aside: I sometimes don't even eat my first meal until 5pm because I feel so dejected about my options. I walk around downtown cursing under my breath, slowly going insane, getting hungrier, just, fuck. I need to shop for groceries. Which means I need to wait for a bus that may not come to travel thirty minutes to shop and then wait again for a bus that may not come to do that traveling again. WMATA, MTA, I'm a spoiled brat. Spoil me.)

I'm going to do it. The how, the when, I have no clue. I cut shifts to work on music. I need to do it a bit longer. Maybe just get one fucking record out (not for validation, for discourse). And then I'm going to need $4,000. And fast.

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