Block 670: May 24, 2015


I just saw the new Mad Max movie and OMG I can’t stop shaking it was so good.

Date: May 24, 2015

Crane: 670

Days Spent on Project: 824

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: I feel like I may be winding down on New York-centric experiences to write about here. If I’ve brought myself up to the work I was doing in 2013 and 2014, I’m almost to where I currently am in life.

I still have 330 more Cranes to go! I need to think of more people!

Seriously, where do we go next?

Well, in 2013, things got slow for me. But I was keeping busy-ish with this project for an hour a day, trying to find more (paying) work, going to the gym, and writing what would turn into The California Project. Things were neither great or awful. They weren’t good, but they were’t horrible. I really wasn’t that happy. Nor was I sad. I was anxious though. Stress was something I dealt with constantly.

For some reason, as things sometimes do when they look bleak, a weird opportunity came my way. My old boyfriend Dave, having lived in Los Angeles for over ten years started asking me if I wouldn’t want to visit the west coast and see what his life was like. I don’t remember what started those Facebook messages again. I can’t say that I initiated them; I was at a point when any kind of expense on my end wasn’t going to happen. He had to have been the one to suggest the trip- a mini-vacation- if you will. A weekend in Los Angeles.

He had enough frequent flyer miles to buy a round trip ticket. I could stay in his apartment. All I’d need to do was get myself to JFK and make sure my dog got to his sitter for three days.

Totally unsure of what I was doing, I agreed and made the arrangements. I sent my dog to his babysitter one Thursday, and took the Subway from one end of the A train’s route to the other- to JFK. I picked up my ticket and flew across the country.

I landed in LA in the late afternoon. Dave picked me up from the airport. And then the weekend started.

Contrary to everything I was expecting- remember, people in NYC like to look down on LA- I actually ENJOYED myself. And I enjoyed myself a lot. I went out in West Hollywood. I saw the Hollywood sign. I went to the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. I did brunch to celebrate someone’s birthday. I went to The Grove and Beverly Hills and through downtown and had drinks at the Chateau Marmont. LA… after the bleakness of what I was experiencing and feeling in New York… LA was just nice.

I was so incredibly lonely and alone in Washington Heights, trying to find work, sewing my Cranes, going to the dog park, running at the gym, and so on. For the first time in years, I felt that New York was forgetting about me, that I was excluded from life there. LA, strangely and surprisingly, was an oasis.

Before Dave and I broke up back in 2002, he and I talked about continuing a long distance relationship. He always knew he was going to leave Louisville for LA at the end of one year. I thought, and he agreed for a short period, that maybe I’d like it out there too.

I never assumed that Dave’s reaching out in 2013 was anything motivated on that situation, a dozen years earlier. But feeling backed into a corner in the upper reaches of Manhattan, LA seemed like an option.

Because of that weekend, I also confirmed that The California Project would be happening in the spring of 2013. (So, maybe in the end, that weekend trip needed to happen for a variety of reasons.) Because of that reason, I woke up to the fact that I WAS lonely in New York and that there was a chance- a big one- that I needed to get out. I started to expand my sights beyond my zip code.

Over that weekend, I made a lot of friends through Dave. He introduced me to a lot of his good friends, and I saw that he did have a social network there. I was happy to see him happy.

The first person I probably met was Billy D. He worked, if I remember correctly, at a bar around the corner from Dave’s apartment. If the lore of Dave’s life is correct, he was one of the first people Dave met in Los Angeles. It sounds awful or cliched maybe, but Dave always went to him to get drinks at this bar. (He made great Margaritas!)

He served more than a few drinks to us that night, I’m told.

Don’t ask why I can’t remember more of that evening…

Music I Listened to while sewing: Today, I’m in the mood for a song called “Celebrate Life” by Eelke Kleijn.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: One of those newly discovered “Sunday Fundays” that are actually about doing nothing and not spent anxious over something.

Went to a friend’s place this morning. (Notice what I did there? I said “friend.”) Five other people showed up. We made breakfast/brunch. We sat and chatted, and only minimally descended into discussions about work. We went to see a movie. We later got fries at an outdoor restaurant. We went to a rose garden. We looked at vintage furniture.

How very Portland!

I’m still not sure, if things stay the same here at work and socially, that Portland will have much to make me drop anchor here, but it’s right for the present moment.

I’m not sure what it is exactly I’m looking for right now/anymore.

If I want more design opportunities, I need to start hunting and the hunt will be elsewhere.

If I want to make more money, I’ll need to venture outside of work, start minimizing the amount of work they ask of me, and hunt elsewhere.

If I want more friends, I certainly need to get away from work. The friends I have there are great, but there have to be more people in this city with whom I can make connections. If I want a boyfriend, or even if I wanted to start casually dating again (how many years have I sworn that off?), I’ll really need to start hunting. I know there *have* to be gay men here, but where do they go? When everyone here looks like a lumberjack/hipster, how do you even tell here?

But for the moment, things feel okay. Having survived this *first* season here, I feel like I have accomplished something. I’ve done the work. I’ve done it well. Nothing burned down or was delayed or destroyed or ruined or bad (on my end in the shop). I have re-learned that I want to be creative. I want to do the work. I’m not ready to resign myself into *just* having a theater job that pays the bills.

Hopefully this job will allow me to live my life somewhat comfortably, and also allow me to find the outlet on the side. I still need that anchor here.

But it’s only been 10 months, this was a huge life and living shift for me, and the workload was an intense marathon.

Maybe it will get better. Maybe I’ll find the area that I love. Maybe I’ll find the people that I love here. Maybe I’ll find that balance between working and living. Maybe I’ll find that outlet. Maybe I’ll make that outlet, if one isn’t here.

But for now, brunch was great. The conversation was great. The movie was great. I’m planning on hitting the gym later tonight to get back on track with that. I’ll watch some TV. I’ll read one of the several books I have on my nightstand. I’ll go to bed. Tomorrow, I’ll enjoy a Memorial Day without commitments or work or things to do. I’ll try to enjoy it for what it is- another day in my life.

Hope things are looking up for you. Hope things continue to look up for us all.

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