The Final Month

Hello Again

This blog has been silent the entire month of July. Truth is, I’ve done very little writing in general this past month. There has been plenty going on personally and in the news (*ahem* Donald Trump), all worthy of discussion, but I’ve been a bit too preoccupied with living to expound on any of it.

I am slowly – glacially – working on the 10 Cities book, which is developing into a memoir/sociological discussion/cultural critique/travelogue (in that order). I have 3 rough chapters written, though by no means finished. I’ve also been working on other smaller pieces that will ideally see the light of day sooner than later.

Otherwise, though, the last few months of my life have been about experiencing New York City. I’ve been bartending and serving, visiting museums and picnicking in parks, seeing movies and live comedy, and drinking through the night. I even managed to find myself in the midst of a short romance. It has been the version of New York living that I imagined could exist when I was a high school student yearning for escape.

It has been very good.

Empty Subway

Square 1(0)

For the first time in over a decade, I will spend more than a year straight in 1 city*. In the next couple weeks – barring any unforeseen circumstances – I will sign a second year lease for my apartment. I won’t give my place of employment a 2-week notice. When I wake up September 1st, I’ll be in Brooklyn (presumably).

I still don’t have an answer for “what’s next?” I’m sticking around Brooklyn for a little longer, that much I know. But beyond that? Maybe France? England? Cuba? All of the above, hopefully. And so so so much more.


The Future

There are, in fact, countless possibilities for my future. I don’t know which one I want most. Not all of them are ideal.

There is a version of my future in which I never publish anything and I grow old serving wine and whiskey to dying men. Bars nationwide are filled with such clichés. There’s nothing special about me that would preclude me from such a fate. It’s just a question of whether or not I have the energy to keep striving.

There is only 1 month left of 10 Cities / 10 Years, a project that was, among other things, always about the unknowable future. That future is now mostly past.

What remains in my final month of a decade long endeavor? Well, I can think of no more fitting way to end this travelogue than with a road trip. I’m currently planning yet another cross-country road trip for the last week of the month. It’ll mark the third such journey in 2 years. I’m quite excited.

After that, I don’t know. Everything is formless and empty.

Those are the perfect conditions for creating something new. Just ask God.



*Technically I lived in Costa Mesa for 15 months, but I was always going to leave so there was no illusion of longevity.

“The Last 5 Percent”

I’m pretty good at math. Especially for a writer. I was doing my older sister’s algebra homework when I was still in fifth grade. When my brother was struggling to even pass his math courses, I was haughtily taking on all challengers. There was a time in my life, before discovering writing, when I thought I would find a career in mathematics.

I say all of this as pretext to this little anecdote.

After work tonight, I sat and had a couple of post-shift drinks with the bartender while we discussed the paths of our life. He talked about some of his regrets having put his musical ambitions on hold while he got a “real” college degree. I told him about the tumultuous period of my project in which I lived with a girlfriend.

Eventually we came upon the inevitable: The end of 10 Cities / 10 Years. August 31st, 2015 will be the official last day of a decade long pursuit. March 1st marked the beginning of the last 6 months.

The bartender poured me another beer and shot of whiskey and casually asked: “What are you going to do with the last 5 percent?”

My first instinct when he said that was to correct them. That’s ridiculous, I thought, it’s not just 5 percent. It’s much more than that. A few seconds of mental calculations later, I realized he was right.

As good as my mental math skills are, I’ll admit that for a brief moment the numbers didn’t add up. It couldn’t possibly be that little, right? Well shit, the math checks out. After 9 and 1/2 years,* I am 19/20ths of the way through a project that has been the raison d’etre of my entire life. 1/20th remains. That is, indeed, 5 percent.

Holy flurking schnit.

I don’t know what to think about that. I don’t know what comes next. I don’t know.


I don’t know.

I’m not sure what kind of precedent exists for what I’ve done. I’m not naïve enough to believe that what I’m so close to completing is groundbreaking or even slightly important. It was (and is) a self-indulgent endeavor taken on because I was too lazy or too bored or too selfish to attempt a practical life.

But I did it, all the same. And save for getting hit by a bus or getting knocked off by one of Obama’s Death Panels, it looks like I’m going to pull it off. 10 Cities. 10 Years. 120 Months. 1000 detours.

The last 5 Percent.


This Way Out

*Okay, so technically I spent an extra 3 months in Costa Mesa (the 3rd year) which messes up the percentages, but I’m going to ignore that for the purpose of this post. You have a problem with that, you can go fuck yourself.