Block 667: May 21, 2015


For some very unknown and silly reason, I keep putting this off today.

Maybe it’s that nothing is going on at work right now, and I’m just pacing around…

Date: May 21, 2015

Crane: 667

Days Spent on Project: 821

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Still on New York Real Estate adventures, I guess.

Let’s use this Crane on Adam F.

Adam was the building manager– maybe?– of that last apartment building in which I lived during my two years as a resident of Washington Heights.

When I looked at that building, at the farthest western point of 180th Street, it had recently been sold to a new management company. They were in the process of renovating the empty units (what few empty units there were), making them more “desirable” and, generally, trying to fix up the building. The new management company was, noticeably, trying to attract a new group of people to the building… i.e. the process of gentrification had been started!

This didn’t necessarily sit well with some of the people in the building; in a few cases, some of the people had lived there for over 40 years! Some had only ever lived in those apartments, since moving to America. This also means they were living in rent-controlled apartments, sometimes paying as little as $400-some dollars for PRIME REAL ESTATE. You can guess what the management company was thinking and/or doing.

I, unfortunately/fortunately, was the first person to move into the building after the new ownership took over. Think about that.

I actually liked my neighbors. They were all good and nice people. There were a fair amount of other dogs in the building, which was nice for my dog. There were lots of families with young kids. The atmosphere in the building was actually pretty great.

Adam F. wasn’t the person who signed my lease when I first took the apartment. He took over for someone about six months after. He was always pleasant. He looked young.

He was also the person who gave me permission to break my lease back in July when I needed to get to Portland as soon as possible.

He was fine with it. He kept my security deposit, which I kinda expected considering I broke my lease, but otherwise it was strangely easy to clean out my apartment of everything, pack a suitcase, and disappear. It was weird leaving my keys in a Ziploc baggy- taped to my super’s door- and walk out of the building in the middle of the night with my dog. We got in a cab, drove away to JFK, and that was it. That was the end of my time there.

And the city kept moving.

Music I listened to while sewing: Madonna again. Still her latest album. “Ghosttown,” “Inside Out,” and “Body Shop” are today’s favorites.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I’m feeling worried.

If I stay here in Portland, I worry that my life will become all about talking money and receipts, trying to explain to people that you have to spend money sometimes– sometimes there’s no way around expenditures if you want to call yourself professional and be relevant as a professional, trying to defend what we do as costume designers and technicians.

I have to figure out a way to achieve balance. Yes, there needs to be a balance of Work and Life; I’m trying (and vaguely succeeding) at keeping my work anxieties at bay once I leave the theater. But, I have to figure out a way for them to see my workload as too much. There’s no reason why I should have to be at the theater 6-7 days a week, working, with the pay rate I’m at.

But it’s also about Work and Play. Work and Creativity. Work and Distraction.

I can’t let my life become consumed by Work.

I have to figure out a way to keep this project going. I have to figure out a way to keep the gym and running and exercise a part of my routine. I have to figure out a way to create.

I don’t want to have my theater career turn into office work.

I know I talk about this frequently on here, but I really don’t want to wake up in 15 years– in my 50s– and only see the things I gave up.

Is this adulting? Is this real life?

At times like these, you realize why many successful artists come from a background of wealth and privilege. That sucks and hurts.

And I’m a little envious of that.

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