Saturday, January 28, 2006

Driving Queens

As I may have mentioned earlier, last week my roomate, aka my cousin, aka Lito, took our refuge dog named Lady in a car to the Motherland where she now happily resides. Since neither of us own a car, we rented one. Lito and Sergtwana went on that long road trip from here to there, and I wish I could have participated because I do love a good road trip. Before they went, Lito and I drove down to his church on the shady part of 34th Street to drop of some clothes, cookware, etc that we no longer needed.

Because it has been so long since I've actually owned an automobile, I take sheer joy from driving one. I was whippin' around across the Queensboro Bridge, through the avenues on the East Side, over to the church. Fun, fun, fun. The grid and grit of Manhattan, not to mention the total disregard people have for things like the lines on the roads, makes it even more of an adventure. When they got back from their road trip, I took the car one last time around Queens, just to explore the vastness. I developed an appreciation for my location here in Astoria, because "the rest of Queens" as I like to call it is more or less waaaaay out there, and places like St. Albans, Jamaica, and Flushing seem more like the rotted out ends of downtown Winston-Salem than a part of New York City.

There are these desolate parts of Queens that you come across; industrial areas with houses right in the mix, and bodegas and gas stations that seem misplaced. And then, you suddenly come up on a big ass statue, or some antique signage that still lights up, or some bus stop full of people looking at their watches, and you remember that it is New York City after all, though the side that never makes it onto Sex and the City or MTV.

My roommate-cousin-Lito is talking about moving to North Carolina where his family is, and mine, and now where Lady bird, my niece and his and Sergtwana's bastard child lives. I focused on a time-frame for this, because he has mentioned the idea before but this time he's serious as nails. Before it was an aching longing of sorts, not something he'd really ever go through with. But now, as is known to happen, he's been here long enough to have taken all the excitement with him and he has a boyfriend ready to move too, and all that a person really needs in life at the point he's reached is the peace and quiet of a rural Southern town -- not the hustle and bustle that no longer thrills one to the point of erections. I can't say that I don't know where he's coming from, but I have a few more year of the City left in me. As he might say in the voice of Stevie Nicks, "I'm a few years older than you."

I think selfish thoughts about this. What am I going to do without Lito? How long is it going to be "worth it" to him to keep paying the rent to keep his room here before I have to get a new roommate? Someone I have to adjust to when I'm already adjusted to Lito and Sergtwana, and as much as Lito here's me bitch and moan, I'd want no one else in this fucking smoke-filled apartment? No one else laying on the couch greeting me when I come in from work. No one else putting up with me drinking all his milk and constantly serenading him whether he's laughing or not?

This fortress in which we live is known as The Compound. Shortly after I first moved here, some friends moved in next door. We dominate and controll all goings on around N Hall. But the times they are a changin. Soon it will be just me up in 4B-East, or me and some stranger that will have to learn how things are done in these parts. What will I do with Lito's stuff? How will I...put bandages on the severed wound?

When Lito and I were finishing up with the car, cruising one last time before grocery shopping, we came around the corner of Astoria Park and down the park drive, against the water across from which is the skyline, and the massive Triboro Bridge. It was just then dark outside and all those buildings were lit up. I said to him, "Aren't you going to miss that? Coming around the corner and seeing the Borg Cube?"

Because that's exactly what it looked like, and almost exaclty how it operates.


I've been so useless lately, not leaving the house much, not really living life but rather going through it. It has to do with the winter in large part. Things start to look up in one sense and down the toilet in another. It's a seesaw. Life is a seesaw.


anne arkham said...

Great post, Stroll.

S.D. Hollaback said...

Life is a see-saw. But aren't we the ones that are supposed to bring Order to Chaos? I'm always here for you. Love, M.