Saturday, February 16, 2008

Before The Epiphany: Part I

So... the past few years have been a meandering of sorts in my life. I've wandered from college to college and from town to town not really sure what to do with myself. It seems that every couple of years I would take on a new identity, complete with a new girlfriend, a different set of friends and a change of venue. All of this was to my parents' complete and utter dismay. Their brilliant private school boy (speaking from a loving parent's perspective) had fallen into a state of disarray, never to return. This was the course of my life, destined to roam with no direction... until recently.

Every time one of these 'transitions' occured, I would always experience a breaking point. Something inside would snap me out of my dream-like state and I would get serious again. It would fade over the next few months, as it typically did, but something was different this time. This time, I chose to move to New York City; the big apple in all its splendor. Not that I really wanted to come here, but it was either this or move to the beaches in Honduras, start fishing and not leave until I had written the greatest book of all time. This is how my mind works.

After my ex-girlfriend, as well as some of my close friends, told me that the latter was ridiculous, I decided to tamely leave my current job as a technical recruiter in Austin, TX (which, even though my stint was short, I felt I was rather successful at) and follow my roommate, along with his girlfriend, to Manhattan. Unwittingly I think I made the best possible choice. It is true I had no idea what I would do when I got there but I suppose I should mention that I already had a brother and multiple friends living in the city; something I guess I had never considered myself. It turned out to be a great foundation. Now back to before the move...

Since I'd never been too good at saving my money, I needed funds to travel to NYC, and fast because my lease was soon to expire at our quaint little Clarkesville apartment in downtown Austin. I decided to enroll myself in a pharmeceutical study. The promise was $4000 in 2 weeks. Since I had already quit my job and was in the spirit of making absurdly rash decisions, I was fully committed to my new plan.

The study is another tale to be told but I will briefly indulge. It was highly irregular and the people I met ranged from delusional to beautiful. When you are stuck for 2 weeks in living quarters with people from all walks of life, things tend to get a little fantastical. I met travelling brothers with a penchant for some amazing poetry and photography. There were elderly thugs turned entrepreneurs, in there to turn a profit off questionable designer accessories. Others were simply making a living by being a guinea pig indefinitely, while some were reformed inmates unable to make much money elsewhere due to their violent pasts. For the most part, everyone was nice and very friendly, I imagine a result from being drawn together by the bond of shared hardships. It was an interesting experience that I would never want to forget.

Afterwards, Adam, my unintroduced roommate, and I were off via an old '97 volvo with an oil leak and a broken odometer. We had this extravagant road trip planned where we would gamble in Shreveport, pay our respects to the king in Graceland and spend New Years in Philadelphia before arriving to our craigslist ascertained lease in the Bronx. We made it to Shreveport and everything fell apart. I hit a hot streak at the craps table and was unable to leave until I had risen $1000 up and fallen to a mere $450. Adam won as well, and with his final bet, capping him off at a gain of $50, we bid farewell to the Louisianian oddity of a city.

As we were leaving, I saw that the University of Colorado, one of my many alma maters, had played in the Independence Bowl and lost to Alabama. A foreboding sign, or so I might have thought had the craps tables not been so generous. Adam was now behind the wheel allowing me to turn around and wave goodbye to the Southwest. Throughout my travels it had always been what I had thought of as home. Although I was headed to New York, I left wearing my cherry black boots and my brown suede jacket; an homage to the past. And with a nostalgic and awakening sigh, I turned back around and faced the future $450 richer. It was a good start.