Category Archives: Allen

New Year, New City

So after last time, I got to thinking about Cobain, and I wondered where he was from. Then I remembered, but my Google search revealed a real woodsy place as his last residence, even though he looked to live in the city. Hopped on one of those last-minute-flight sites and got a ticket for the next day from La Guardia to SeaTac. There’s a hostel in the middle of downtown, and I figured I would stay there. Got everything booked, and went to bed.

I sat in bed and thought about doing this, but figured what the hell, and got on my way. God knows no one was waiting for me here. I arrived at about noon, having left at seven in the morning, and it’s always a new feeling when you get into a new town. The design looks intentional, it looks like it’s for you. I rate cities as they open up to me, wherever I may go.

Seattle has a metro. Did you know that? I didn’t. And it stops like four minutes from my hostel. Got set up, walked outside, there’s the water, there are the mountains. I can smell fish and salt and bird shit, I see people with one side of their head shaved. I didn’t even rent a car, I just walked. I walked up, I walked down, I walked up this massive goddamned hill, and stopped to have teriyaki at the top of it. It was five dollars, and I could only just get to the end of it. It was sloppy in a way that I wanted it to be. I walked further up the street, and it turned out to be a pretty main drag. Turned right, I see two ice cream shops. Stop in one, they have salty caramel ice cream. You read that right.

The sidewalks were cracked, the roads were curved and unsigned, I never felt like it was industrial or dirty. People look at you when you walk down the street. Everything belongs to someone, a person was responsible for the buildings, and not a corporation, not a company who made their money renting it out to businesses. There was something to see. And there’s only as much at every corner as you can take in at one shot. I stopped at one intersection, and saw three venues on four corners. This wasn’t a place you saw, this was a place you felt. And it’s so fucking tiny. I looked later on google maps, and I could actually track the progress I had made in one day. I was hooked.

Now that I’ve been here for a few days, I don’t feel as excited, but I feel a lot better than I did. I got a small apartment in some place called Ravenna, I’m still learning where it is. It’s silly cheap. This region is significantly less exciting, but I found a bar I like a lot called “Pies & Pints” that’s not too far from my place, they make sweet potato fries. There’s also a wine store nearby, and a Safeway, so I’m surviving. Though I’ll let you in on a secret.

While I’m still thinking about my new place, and what I can do to it to decorate it, I’m not entirely sure I feel all that different. I wake up, and I have nothing to do except decorate the place (more on that later). But I’m stuck here, and I’m still going stir crazy. I have more to explore when I walk around, and it’s a little harder to find things to do. I need to go find some newsletters or something. But I’ve woken up here three days now, and I can’t help but wonder if I’ve screwed something up. I’m now 3000 miles away from where I know, where I am comfortable, and I have planted my flag. I’ve stuck it deep in the ground, and am now decorating the pole. I have no idea how to solve this, and more and more of it comes back every day. I want to scream to people passing by, “I’m not from here!” as if it was some great secret. The further I sit from where I was, the more alone and isolated I feel. I now study the contours of this new place, and not the old one. And then I add something to this place, and think about all of the uses it will have. Maybe that’s why I am on here again, but I feel a bit better when I write here. A little less pressure on my head, or in my head, or something. But you can run miles and miles and miles, and you’re still right where you are. Anyway.

The last place didn’t have a whole lot to it, I always kind of felt I didn’t live there so much as we tolerated each other, the apartment and I. I bought the utensils I needed, it got the cleaning and maintenance it needed; I fixed the showerhead when it spewed, re-sealed one of the windows, soaked up spills from the carpet whenever I had one. No rubbing, at least not at first. When I went back to grab my stuff, I put up a sign, and was already getting a few looks. Within two hours, I had my first call. Frankly, no looking back. Grabbed/sold my stuff in two days, and got the hell out of there.

One of the places I went to near Seattle was a Frye’s in some crappy place called Renton, and I realized that my initial trip here was pretty much all of the good parts, and I kind of want to move. I took the first place I could find after all. So far, I have some framed movie posters, that painting of that guy screaming in my bathroom, a chinese scroll in my kitchen cause what the hell, and I have an artificial wall, a partition of bookshelves. I don’t know how I collected all of these books, I am sure I have not read that many, and as I am looking them over, they must move around to fill in several gaps. With this place, though, this little one bedroom deal, I am actually taking a little pride in decorating it. Which is good, cause that’s about all I do.

And to tell you the truth, I’m fighting the urge to go to a firm and slap my resume down. If you think I haven’t already looked a few up, you don’t know me well enough.

Time for a bottle of wine, I think. I ran this morning, and it’s going to rain soon. I might leave the window open and enjoy it with a few glasses. Rain has always had a calming effect on me. By the way, does anyone know where I can get a cheap car?


And Tired.

I’m getting sick of it. Sick of everything. I’m getting sick of my showerhead not having enough water pressure. I’m getting sick of the cold freezing the whiskers on my face when I walk outside. I’m sick of how tight my thermal underwear is and how tight my socks are and how much I need to work to get them off when I step inside and start over heating. I’m sick of not knowing which way the knob goes when I’m turning on my radiator. I’m sick of the food I eat, I’m sick of this chair. I’m sick of this little room, I’m sick of being inside all day. I’m sick of having songs stuck in my head, and of having words that won’s go away, words that apply themselves to everything I think about. I’m sick of the wind. I’m sick of going to the same places every day, and I’m sick of having to deal with new places I’m unfamiliar with. I’m sick of not going anywhere at all. I’m sick of all the little ways I need to get through the world. I’m sick of having free time.

This was never a problem at work. I had too much to do. How long have I been to busy to know I hated everything around me? Everyone I spent time with socially was really just spending time with me professionally. I have nothing in common with these people. They’re not my friends and never will be.
We were friends by convenience.

I feel like I’m running, and I’m sick of running. Being where I was didn’t help, and getting away didn’t help. What the hell am I supposed to do? I just wake up in a bad mood, and get madder as the day goes on, so I fall asleep having done nothing. Yesterday I watched videos on YouTube all day, and read half of a book I don’t like.

I need something radical. I need to change. Christ, I need to get out of here. I’m sick of the people on my floor, and I’m sick of having to try to figure out where I’m going to go. I’m about to throw a dart at a map. I’m sick of wasting time writing this and not figuring that out. I’m sick of looking at cities and figuring out why I don’t like them.

If I have one more free day where I do nothing, the following day I’m going to buy a gun and go Cobain.

I choose to get off the crapper…

Today is it. I’m unemployed.

To think how hard I had to claw my way into this job, all the things I had to do, all the people I had to please, all the lines I had to memorize. The lies I told; I told a few. What do I have to show for it? Money? My mis-spent twenties? If I hear any of their goddamned ‘speak’ again, it will be too soon. I’m still leaving.

Donovan had given me a choice: leave of my own free will or let him remove me. That isn’t a choice to begin with, that’s what I think. Let them look over the city from their penthouses, their spacious apartments, their glasses of champagne, toasting themselves. Joke’s on them, the Department is doomed without me.

The truth is, I keep hearing there’s more to life than x, and I’m starting to feel like x. And while the coming winter has driven away all the hipsters, maybe I have some room in this idea for myself. It’s ironic they should be attracted to somewhere so concrete; maybe they feel they’re ‘needed’ here. It is a feeling I do not know. It’s become my belief that maybe that was the problem with Angeles, too much flatness, not enough people. The building here are shaped, designed, lived in; everything there is run down, if you can’t make use of it, abandon it and move somewhere else.

It’s also become my belief that white people need someone to talk to, more than anything. We need someone to just air our thoughts to, to let it all out at the end of the day. When someone else does it to us, and then lets us do it to them, that’s a match. It’s better than sex, cause I’ve felt stressed after sex too. Ever considered tomorrow’s schedule while your dick is in a girl’s mouth? I have.

They say being in my situation is winning at life, I don’t agree. I’ve got to figure something out, and fast. I forced myself to let the landlord know I’m moving out at the end of the year. That’s six weeks? Should be long enough to say goodbye to this city, at least the parts I knew. I’ve been saying goodbye for a while now. As I walked across the bridge, I looked south and there’s Lady Liberty. She won’t miss me. I’ve long since taken my departure of Lady Justice.

I really, really need to find a place to live. I like the haste, the anxiety, but I only like it as a problem to be solved; this enjoyment is temporary. Anyone have any ideas?

The Angels and back

Well that was a bust.

What a miserable place. There’s dust everywhere it seems, as if someone had shaken carpets off at everywhere they couldn’t find garbage. And then these two things have saturated the air, and sticks to your skin as you walk around in the sun, gasping for breath. The closer you are to the center, the browner the air gets. I’m frightened to see the rain, if it ever does (judging by the men, it rains hair gel). It’s a town without a well, and I had to stop into the nearest gas station to get a water bottle which I constantly refilled every chance I got. I lost count after eight, as I was in a hydration delerium, and it still felt insufficient. It was like I needed a shower once I stepped outside. If a man becomes accustomed to this sort of air, I do not want to know the conditions of the rest of his life that makes it acceptable. The air in downtown Los Angeles is like standing behind the exhaust grate of a bus perpetually leaving the curb.

I decided to go to a bar, a modest proposal. Regarding the citizens’ modest amount of positives, their adherence to modesty was itself quite modest. It’s like being a snob because you have more trash than the next person. There were large amounts of fat people walking around in jerseys or wife-beaters or long white shirts that drop to their knees, their waist misplaced by about a foot. What’s more, the most exotic thing they had on tap was Heineken.

On the streets, the bikers have a death wish as they white-line at well over 45 miles an hour in stopped traffic, and right past cops; I question the ramifications of these bikers colliding with a car door accidentally ajar. Encountering one of these is like a freight train sneaking up on a deaf person, and the first one almost made me jump into the passenger seat.

The hotel was done right, with a bed that can only be described as plush and white. But this hardly consoled me, as every few hours, I heard an ambulance or fire truck go by. Are there really so many needed in the downtown area? I enjoyed the exercise room, and the reception area, but I’ve always liked the accommodation of accommodations.

I rented a car and drove around a little. Every part of this city looked the same, like the part that gets you by between attractions, or parts worth visiting. It’s all little shut down stores, obnoxiously wide streets in the center or alleyways elsewhere. I didn’t know suburbs could conglomerate until I came here, or that there was a place in the world where there was nowhere to go in public and enjoy oneself. There are more than 15 million people in the metropolitan area, and there’s not a single place I could find that felt public or shared. It’s like there’s no community here at all. I’ve finally found the epicenter of plastic in the world, and it’s Los Angeles. If there is a God that rules all the things that are good and fun and pleasurable in this world as we perceive them today, Los Angeles is his Gomorrah. What’s worse, it goes on and on and on, seemingly to infinity. So does my home city, but 1) we don’t waste space, cause we didn’t go to the desert and leech off of San Francisco, and 2) there is an undeniable sense of class that permeates the buildings, the streets, even the slums. I couldn’t wait to go back, which is definitely counter-productive. If this is California, they can keep it.

Great food though.

I hadn’t even realized that there was virtually no public transportation until I was back and underground. LA is definitely not suitable, and I had no intention to even attempt the people there. Admittedly, I didn’t miss the hipsters while I was gone, but I think this is the only time I preferred seeing a 1920’s mustache and off-kilter tattoos halfway up an arm and a vest/striped pant combo riding a fixie down the street. It’s amazing the different looks a fedora can accommodate, both for evil and lesser-evil.

I must admit I had some adolescent giddiness in me as I left on Friday morning, and coming home Monday night seemed like a disaster, even after a fairly uneventful seven hour flight. I think this sort of thing is what wives are for. At work, the last assignment is as done as it’s going to get (without the posturing, but that’s not our business), and since Donovan is plenty wise, I had no voicemails when I returned to my cell. That was a strange occurrence.

It’s then that it occurred to me that if no one calls me, I have no one to call. With California falling through, it was enough to drive me back onto this blog (no offense). But there’s really no doubt that I’m getting out of here. It’s almost like a panic driving me, some sort of wild fire chasing me wherever I go, keeping me on the run. Which is ironic, cause I haven’t gone running in several days. No fat around the midsection yet, and I’m tempted to just push it.

They say it’s difficult to switch careers at my age, but they never met me.

There are supposed to be some great bands playing all up and down the west side of the island tonight, and all through the week for CMJ. I’m going to get off at Houston station and check out S.O.B.’s and wander when I get bored after a sangria or two. Goodbye.

The Newbie

You’re on a train. You know this because the bathroom you’re in is too automated to be in a house. It’s too clean-smelling to be on a bus. Far too big for a plane. You struggle to remember the last time you were on a train, you struggle to remember having the free time required. The toilet is stainless steel, and the two buttons on the wall control the water flow, one for in and one for out. Don’t flush the paper towels. You know you’re on a modern train, because in spite of the josteling, it’s quite silent, and that means you’re in one of a handful of countries. You could read the signs to see which, but it doesn’t matter. Though your piss flies out of the bowl like it’s shot into space, you know it’s on ties and not evaporating in the atmosphere or on its way to a treatment facility.

What I mean to say is that when I open the door, there’s no surprise. I don’t need to open the door to know what I will see. But I wish I did – no one likes a know-it-all. I know I don’t.

Not that I’ve been on a train in…I can’t even remember. It’s really neither here nor there. A man is found with bruises around his neck, bleeding in a tub in the basement of a house that’s on fire. A dead woman is on the top floor, choked to death. The man claims he lives there with her and was attacked and lied in the tub to collect the blood loss. There is a suicide note not in his handwriting but bearing his circumstances and name on the kitchen table. This is the situation when the police find him. During trial, you know exactly what he’s in for and what his life will entail once he’s convicted, and you know how to make him a free man. You can see every detail for the next four years of his life, and a good deal of your own.

Ericson told me he hired a girl today, sponsoring her last year. I was in the interview on Friday, she’s a clever one. She says top of her class, but it rarely matters. She may be lying anyway, who cares? If a doctoral student graduates bottom of his class, know what you call him? Doctor. This girl will pass the bar here, you can see it with some people. She’s from UC Berkeley, so I think she may need some prep, just with the state level stuff, but she’s got the hardware, and I said as much. More than I did at that age.

I think there’s no staying here. Every inch of this place, it feels like too strong a heartbeat to cater to the new me, whoever that is. It’s the people, it’s the lying clock, it’s the river of streets. The crowds; everyone wants to be in the same place at the same time. I bare no ill will. My passport is about to expire, I don’t like the idea of renewing it. Not for this anyway. I hear Los Angeles is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of place, maybe I will go there. Getting out of here will be no trouble. If I toss a ‘For Sale’ sign out the window, my place will be sold before it hits the ground.

Maybe I’ll go book a ticket right now, and pop over for a visit. California is losing a resident in our new girl, maybe they could use me in place of her. She’s probably going to end up in my office anyway. Why not? It’s far away enough. And I am at my computer.

This weekend, I’m going to take a little trip.

A Burger

Donovan knows.

Jesus christ, I could tell. As if we were fucking each other, he saw a look on my face, read it perfectly. And I realized I was giving it to him. It may have been the first time. God, it may just be the last.

Yeah, well, Donovan, this is on the internet. This is evidence now. Go ahead and use it, I dare you. There’s nothing written that I broke. Those dirty rat fuckers want to meddle with our taxes, well they won’t deign to screw with me personally. This is a declaration of war. You know what’s happening, now you can deal with it, don’t just sit and try to comprehend it. I’m getting out, and I’m going where you’ll never find me. If I ever see you again, it will be too soon.

I don’t hate you Donovan. Christ, look what you become. Today was the first day I’ve run without speeding a case through my head, and I felt empty. So I kept running. I got off at fifth cause fuck it and went north until I saw grass and went around the reservoir and pulled as many circles around that place as I could think of cause why not. Then I ran to that little park in the Village and went the long way round and it was getting dark and I got back on the subway at West 4th.

Something about the college students sitting in the last remnants of the sun makes me feel like I never lived, or that we’ve been in some game I don’t know how to play.

My legs were tired when I got home, but nothing else was, so I started doing push-ups until my knuckles were red and my arms shook. Then I bent them halfway and held it, but that didn’t last. So I did a hundred crunches, that got boring, so I started some curls, and then I realized I didn’t have a case in my head, so I went back to the Village after a shower and hit up Market Table on Carmine between Bedford and Bleecker where the streets get crooked for a minute and got a double bacon cheese. Tomorrow shall be the Delta in Hell’s Kitchen cause they say that’s the best goddamned southern food in the city. I don’t know what today is. If I don’t gain twelve pounds in twelve days, I’m doing it wrong.

That bacon was crispy. I didn’t remember burgers having so much grease. I wasn’t hungry but I wasn’t full, so I got a banana, an apple, and an orange, a package of raisins, a carton of blueberries, some popcorn, and a couple sweet potatoes and just snacked through the night. It felt weird to be constantly on the full threshold, and I don’t know if I want to do it again. There was some Bulleit left, and I had a generous nightcap.

That was last night. I don’t know what I’m going to do tonight.

Why am I writing this? None of you people even know who I am. None of you people have met me. That’s because none of you people exist outside my head. My theoretical audience, I christen thee never-born. Consider it catharsis. I’ll talk about it later. I didn’t sleep, but now I have to go to work. I think I can avoid Donovan today.

A Day Of One’s Own

No one today. My brain is off since I actually have a day away from the grind. Trust me, when I finish writing, it’s going back off.

I think I remember once one of the first times I had seen a plane ticket, my mind had boggled at having admittance to the sky. I must’ve been quite young, I suppose. But it was unlike any ticket I had ever seen, much larger and with so much information I could never comprehend. I had undertaken some sort of classification system in my mind, and tried to find some pattern amongst them and what they allowed access to for determining their shape. The perforated edge I dared not handle, lest it should rip and become invalid. Now, I have at least one in my pile of mail and I don’t even want to look at it. The letter can stay sealed for all I care. I should be studying up, but this is my second day off in a month.

What’s awful is I remember when that didn’t seem so bad. Jesus Christ I need to change careers.

I’ve looked for patterns in the imperfections on my living room wall for about two hours now, and seen ways to trace an unbroken line from the top left corner to the bottom right and been keeping Sigur Ros’ Takk… on repeat while I did it. I actually got up after this and tried to trace it. The pen couldn’t go over any of the little mounds and couldn’t scale the plateaus where it’s fairly smooth. When in doubt, sea level was determined by what was lowest in the area, say, of 30 square centimeters. I wasn’t allowed to go over a previously established line or veer more than 45 degrees in either direction. This is actually a lot easier than it sounds, hence all the rules. I made it most of the way, but there’s a large belt of valleys that were impassable, and it required about six tracks of the CD to rework it to the point that I was able to bypass the range and get to the other corner, though naturally, there’s a ridge just in the corner making true success impossible. I don’t think I’ve used a protractor since middle school, though. You know, now I have a giant goddamned line across my living room wall, and I just don’t care.

If it was raining today, I could sit in front of my window with hot chocolate and watch it. Instead, reflexively, I check my phone every few minutes to see if I missed a call because I set it on silent so I wouldn’t need to worry about it. Then I took a nap in the middle of the floor, face down. I don’t think I had thought about my carpet in two years without involvement of a stain of some sort. I woke up some hours later in my clothes one track back, which means I had almost gone through a full cycle again. The remote was in reach, and I turned it off, and then put the other side of my face on the carpet and tried to sleep again, but I knew it was no use.

I’ve often thought those that lament the loss of childhood have everything backwards. Having adult responsibilities and regular abilities is the best. It’s the middle of Saturday, and I’m going to get in my car, go rent a movie with a body count comparable to my rent, buy a box of doughnuts, and get a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon and make an evening of it. And I’m going to love it, because that will be my dinner. And tomorrow, I will start feeling guilt for it and reading the case as I go for a five mile jog to work it off. Because it feels good to have balance. But I will have accomplished nothing except to avoid living with myself through the day.

I think Donovan is beginning to suspect my intentions. But if he’s smart, he’ll get as much out of me as he can while I’m there. Donovan’s not stupid.