Thursday, March 20, 2014

You can't go home again but even when you do, you try to figure out how to go on tour with a band

I've spent an inexcusable amount of time lately trying to figure out ways I can follow Arcade Fire on tour for the rest of 2014. It turns out they are playing in many cities that house people I know and can crash with, however, the one minor snag in my plan to spend my life dancing to my favorite band in the world is that I have yet to figure out how to finance such a venture and how to justify that existence to my parents. I may be almost 40, but unless I was to spread out my life beneath the haze of an umbrella made of umbrella smoke, I wouldn't be able to look into my mother's disappointed eyes like mirrors. Haven't I done enough by denying her a grandkid??? Over the weekend I met a lot of new people and two of them were a couple who literally said the following: "We don't know what we'll be doing this year yet because the Phish schedule hasn't come out yet." I chuckled and thought my judgey thoughts but honestly, it was only because I'm jealous. I might be safe for now because Arcade Fire doesn't have a Phish-ish following. Yet.

In unrelated news, this happened in January. Without fanfare. And I just found out about it this morning when someone shared the link to that article on Facebook. I found out about the shutting down of 7A in exactly the same way, also a few months after that happened and also because someone randomly posted it on Facebook. (Facebook. Erasing my past, one link at a time.) I actually teared up. Not because I'm a big hot dog fan or anything but because that place used to be across the street from the Barnes and Noble bookstore where I worked in 1999, freshly arrived to NYC with no money and no plans. I ate there when I was truly broke which was always. I was so sad to hear that Barnes and Noble closed last year and after I made yet another visit to a Greenwich Village that has morphed into something wholly unrecognizable to me, I think I finally understand that Thomas Wolfe was right. You can't go home again. It is just one more shuttered place in a city that, while always kinetic, has been in hyper drive the past decade and is barreling headfirst into a future I don't recognize and won't really be a part of and that kinda hurts.

And the thought of that book was a diving board. I heard the reverberation as I belly flopped into a handful of memories from that time in my life. I was reading "You Can't Go Home Again" when I first started at Barnes and Noble. And even though I didn't finish it and the pages of my copy have yellowed, I associate that book with commuting from Washington Heights on the A train alllll the way down to West 4th and that dirty, loud tunnel that greets you when get there. I talked about that book with the tall beardy Russian art school kid with whom I shared a Grey's Papaya hot dog with once, coincidentally enough. And it wasn't some deep analysis of the book or anything but because I had the hots for him, I've made it so in my memory. What more than likely happened was he asked what I was reading and then we likely made out in a booth at the Slaughtered Lamb. (And I can't bring myself to look up whether or not that place still exists. It was a hangout for me because they were lax about underage drinkers there and even though I was of age, most of my friends weren't.) Then I spent, like, an hour cringing because of how that whole debacle ended and I actually am craving a hot dog right now. But I can't justify eating one. Had I known the place was closing, I'd have gone for one last recession special. I'd have gone across the street to buy a book from the bargain bin and who knows? I may have run into a familiar face or two. Honestly, all of that would have depressed me even more, in a tangible way so maybe it is better that it depresses me from 50 miles away.

See, if I'd been following Arcade Fire on tour, I never would have even read that article! The cure to mild, depressing nostalgia is clear.

Meh. What's going on with you? Want to go get a hot dog?

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