Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lonely Bitch in the Big City

Everything will hit full stride bright and early tomorrow; general GSAS orientation begins at a mind-numbing 8:45, so that they can pull me from my bed and into an hour-long public commute before I've wiped the sleep from my lashes. To tell me about silly things like finding housing (check), learning your way around campus, ways to save money, and blahblahblah. And it's mandatory. Also, why did I think it would be really fun and health/energy conscious to walk a mile to the T, and then have to take that to the commuter rail, and then take that into campus? This is going to throw an extra forty-five minutes (each way) onto my daily routine. Ah well. I should only be going to campus thrice a week, so perhaps it will work out alright. My only hope about the big orientation in the morning is that I'll be able to cruise for cuties outside my program (cuz, well, that's a bit incestuous, dontcha think?). Of course, I'll be looking icky--sweaty, and still vaguely wet from showering. But what can you do?

My first waves of loneliness crashed today. I saw "Inglourious Basterds" alone (I'll review it tomorrow, because it is SO badass), and coffee-ed and read, and came home to my, as usual, empty apartment, had a smoke, crashed in front of the computer, and roused up some energy to cook dinner. Had a glass of red wine and another smoke, and then a very minor panic attack as I realized that this could very well be my life for however long it takes to make friends (that is, assuming anyone in Boston will put up with me at all). After all, that's been the routine every day since I moved in, with an occasional roommate-chat and a few drink-dates over the weekend with current grad students. I went to a little shindig on Saturday night, which was fun, but the fact of the matter is, I've moved into a pretty bustling city by myself and know no one on any satisfyingly complex or intimate level.

One of the grads I met up with is from Alabama, and she told me that she and her husband play a game...something you might call "Frighten a Bostonian," because they'll smile and wave, or say 'hi' to people they pass on the street, and count up how many people even acknowledge their existence. I played the game myself today, on the way back from the movie-ing, and got a single half-hearted smile in return. Everyone else looked away in fear, or returned with a vaguely challenging look of their own--like, 'who the hell are you to smile?' I love the city so far, I really do, but I think today was the first day where I really sensed the disconnect between me and, well, everyone else here. And I understand why you'd avoid strangers in a big city, but it was a bit of a 'culture' (?) shock, I suppose. A homeless man selling newspapers thanked me and told me to have a good day, just because I had said "no, thank you" to his offer of a paper--he thanked me for "acknowledging" him. And to some extent, it's a bit terrifying to think of going day in and day out without feeling like anyone will look you in the eye or try to connect with you.

I get on facebook, and see my friends posting about doing the fabulous, naughty things I used to do with them--nothing against them, I wasn't expecting them to don black veils for the next thirty years or anything like that (doooon't I?)--and nostalgia hits like a fucking deer against the car hood. I miss my dogs, I miss my sister, I almost crave an argument with my mom, and I want to get blackout with all my queens. It's natural to feel this way, I know this, and it will--I'm certain--pass over time, but nonetheless, I don't want to spend the next five years cooking for and by myself. I don't want to have to say "thank you" to someone for simply making eye contact with me. I don't want to not know who to turn to when I'm feeling down. I don't know why I'm sharing this on a public blog-perhaps just to air out my system? There's a certain level of self-pitying narcissism to any post like this, but I figure if I'm going to keep a blog purportedly aimed at updating people about my life in Boston, the good and the bad will each have their turn being exhibited for consumption.

In short, I'm tired. I don't want to get up before 7AM. And to the rest of ya'll who have recently abandoned the carrion of undergraduate existence, I'm with you on it all (because I've seen your blogs too).

Oh, and if anyone's into Fleetwood Mac, the song "That's Alright" is a nice cure for this sort of feeling. Well, not a cure--so much as a commiserating sort of song.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Is Beantown ready for this jelly?

I’m writing this while lying on my bed in my apartment in Boston—well, Somerville, to be exact. It’s bizarre to say/write that; the notion of having a space or place of my own, twelve or so hours from where I’ve spent my entire life settles uneasily with me. Not a bad unease, though, it’s just that I feel as if I’ve gone through the looking glass, as it were, and emerged in a world much like my old one, but with everything shifted slightly left-of-center. I’ve been here since Sunday, officially, as it was the first night I actually slept in the apartment. Move-in was, as most move-ins are, awful. Seemingly in my honor, Boston decided to cook up a heat wave for my first week here, and having no AC at my disposal, I’ve been cocooned in a fetid shell of sweat since unloading that first UHAUL box. You know when you get out of the shower, and you want to savor that freshly-scrubbed, baby’s-ass-sheen of cleanliness? Well, I’ve been denied that pleasure every day this week, and believe you me, walking from my un-air-conditioned apartment to the square where I’ve been doing my coffeeshop-ing and actual shopping (twenty minutes away) is positively miserable. On top of it all, it rained for about five minutes yesterday, turning the area into a massive vagina (or anus, whichever offends you less) of humidity.

So, weather aside, I’m settling in well. I’m hoping the rain today holds off, because I’ve got—for the first time so far in Boston—plans! Well, actually, I tagged along with my roommate and her friends to a drinking/trivia event at a straight bar last night. I wasn’t harassed, which is a nice change from any predominantly straight drinking-locale in Virginia, and had a lot of fun, even if I got a bit too drunk in front of my roomie and complete strangers. The wine was cheap, and the glasses were huge! so what can I say? As many of you know, white wine + Jamie = sexy times. And by sexy times, I mean times when this fag becomes overheated, obnoxious and more incomprehensible by the minute. Two meetings today with current grad students for, I hope, booze, but potentially just coffee—friends! Unless I make an ass of myself, which is the most likely outcome.

My room here is pretty spacious—I finally finished unpacking the other day, and it looks really nice. I even have a little porch/sunroom area, where I’m keeping a reading desk and my keyboard and other musical paraphernalia. This week has been one of learning adulty things, like grocery shopping and getting the internet and cable set up. I think I was a bit too jubilant over my success in setting up curtains. Such are the woes of post-undergrad daily rituals. I’ve discovered, as I said, a nice coffeeshop in town, not entirely unlike the Daily Grind—people set up shop there for the day, there are a plethora of lesbians, and it has the sort of relaxed ambience I like to lounge around in. Potentially a good cruise spot too—lots of cuties, if mostly hipsters. But I’m trying to fit in; I even cut up a pair of jeans yesterday, though I hasten to note that I avoided the v-neck/flat combo that most of the ‘real’ indie boys parade about in here. Stomping it out through Boston streets is a new joy, even if I’m probably the most tranny-ish gay boy I’ve seen so far. I was carrying my Andy Warhol-Marilyn Monroe canvas bag with my face-eating Gaga glasses on the other day, and noticed a few stop-and-start glances in my direction. Well, the stares you get used to—a fashion strut never dies.

As I said, I’ve been experiencing quite a bit of vertigo since arriving. It seems that everything crops up to remind me of my ‘old life.’ I ran into someone from the Daily Grind at my new coffee-hotspot, though we pretended not to recognize one another. Daily, friends post facebook memes dedicated to the fun times of yore, and last night was oddly reminiscent of a Mug Night at the Greenleafe. But I’ll become accustomed to the little jolts as time passes; nostalgia is nice to indulge in once in a while, but I’ve got to ensure I don’t get caught up in it. Much future-thinking going on now; orientation begins Monday, classes start on Thursday. I’m registered! for a Literary Methods course, another called ‘The Body as Text,’ and a third, ‘Race, Desire, and the Literary Imagination.’ I’ll be on campus three days a week, and have a pleasant three-day-weekend, along with a midweek break on Wednesday. Incidentally, I have to deal with the bullshit of public transportation now; as a doe-eyed visitor in April and again in July, I thought it would be the most fabulous way to travel. Now that I’m living a twenty minute walk from the nearest T station, and have to fork out a huge chunk of cash monthly for the commuter rail, the idea seems less inviting. But the silver lining is that I’m not driving my clunker, and that the money won’t be going to gas. If I was a huge activist against carbon footprints, I could also boast my newly environmentally friendly method of getting from A to B. And if I need to impress one of the coffee-hipsters, perhaps I will!

Other than this, I have little to share. It’s been a lazy week—primarily because exerting any effort at all breaks a sweat, and secondly, because I know little to nothing about the city, and know only my roommates. By next week, though, I should be able to offer up something more exciting. Until then, I send out my virtual hugs to all. Scratch that; I’m sweaty.