the state of things in harlem

Haven’t felt much like writing lately, as though I’m in one of those weird percolating stages. Also: I’m scared of what’s to come, specifically the very real possibility that I’ll be homeless come September. But I’m trying to focus on what’s here today: a place to sleep, enough food, a little bit of money. NYC is a good place to be when you’re broke, though I suppose no better than any other large city with free programming from parks and museums and what-have-you.

Last week my friend David (upon whose futon I’m sleeping) told me I should take this jobless time to explore the city because I might never have this much idle time here again. He’s right; I can mope and fret or I can find a way to make the most out of a troublesome situation. (It’s also possible to do both, I suppose.)

I’ll be back in Chicago this weekend to see the boys; we’ll be staying in a hotel by O’Hare with a swimming pool and eating peanut butter sandwiches. I could save myself $500+ a month not flying back to Chicago every other weekend and extend my time before I run out of money, but I can’t stomach that thought right now. It’s enough to give up custody of my kids and move 800 miles away. Any less (or more?) and I don’t know that I’d keep what little peace of mind I have.

I’ve got a job interview in the morning and another few opportunities that might turn out to be something. I’ve got one more week after this one temping at the magazine. There are people who have it worse. I just don’t know any of them.

This sounds like I’m more depressed than I am, which I suppose is the case when the subject matter includes the things I’m facing here. I took a real gamble and it’s too soon to know whether it was worth the risk. I do know that things in Chicago would be no better and possibly worse than they are here.

When I leave Friday for Chicago it’ll be exactly 30 days since I moved here. I’m starting to feel more at home here, knowing the little things like which end of the subway platform to stand on if I want to exit at 35th and 8th at Penn Station instead of 34th, or which crosstown bus lines go where. Maybe it’s only public transit but it’s more than I had a month ago.

It’s all just a day at a time. I don’t know what’s coming next, and that scares me, but it’s normal to be unnerved by uncertainty. It’s good to be human, even if it’s not the most comfortable thing to realize from the ground floor up.