Saturday, March 29, 2014

This Weekend.

Today, Saturday, I had a conference call at 11 and then C and I were going to walk to Target -- a 10 minute walk over the bridge to the Bronx -- for things one gets at Target: laundry supplies, potting soil, dishwashing liquid, toothbrushes, etc. Tomorrow we had planned a trip to Jackson Heights to check out the neighborhood.

C practically had to beg me to make weekend plans. On Saturdays I want nothing more than to do absolutely nothing, I think mostly because that’s how to make time pass most slowly until Monday. The only way to make time to pass more slowly would be to go to work. During the week, the days are excruciatingly slow (except evenings which are like lightning) and I can’t even describe the elaborate hugeness of my resentment of the injustice of that.

C, on the other hand, likes to have plans on the weekend, to do something, to get out of the house, to use the precious few hours he has dominion over. I get it. It’s soul-crushing to contemplate how little of our lives we have any say over how we spend.

C and I are saving for a downpayment on an apartment, and we’ve been sort of casually looking at listings to see what’s available. We hadn’t seriously considered any neighborhood other than the one we live in. Because we like it here, and because we want a 2-bedroom apartment and this is one of the few areas in the city where there are ever any 2-bedroom apartments listed in our price range. In Manhattan, that is.

To be honest, ever since I read House of Blue Leaves in college I’ve thought of Queens as a sad, remote place where people dream of Manhattan but never get here. I lived in Brooklyn for 4 or 5 years in the mid-80s. It was what it was, which is to say it’s not that any more. To be frank, it was a little bleak and most of my social life was still in the East Village where my friends lived. My partner and I moved to Fort Greene in 1984 from the East Village because it was affordable (let’s just have a moment of silence for that: we moved out of the East Village in 19 fucking 84 because it had become gentrified to the extent that two artists making their living as a bartender and waiter could no longer afford to live there).

Needless to say, Brooklyn is something entirely different these days and I have about as much desire to live there as I do to live in the East Village. Which is to say, none. But Queens? Jackson Heights is actually closer to midtown than where we are now. It looks like the buildings are similar to the big pre-war brick buildings in Inwood, and the neighborhood is filled with South Asian restaurants. There’s a gay presence there. (Just last week, C and I were lamenting the fact that there’s not a gay bar up here where you might stop for a couple beers at happy hour on a Friday. There are of course lots of homosexuals up here, like everywhere, but the bars we know about are very young and dancey and no one goes out before 1 a.m.)

But it’s going to be rainy and cold and windy tomorrow, like today, not the best weather for strolling around a neighborhood to get the vibe, so we decided to put off our trip to Queens till next weekend and take our chances with the rain tomorrow, see if we can get to Target and back without getting soaked.

So today after my conference call, the rest of the day is free. C is playing a video game. He’s not the type who plays them all the time, but he’ll get on a jag now and then with a particular game. This one is something about pirates. It makes him happy and somehow that makes me feel calm, his happiness, because -- I know it probably sounds silly -- I see his happiness as my responsibility.

I’ve been in the office all afternoon watching the rain and reading about Wesleyan Perfectionism, which is what makes me happy. I’m neck deep in the background research for our Scarlet Letter musical. It’s like crack to me, exploring the connections between the Puritans (when the story is set) and the 19th century Transcendentalists (when the story was written) and then how those ideas have come to affect how we see ourselves and live our lives today. This never-ending process of deciding what it means to be American. I’m like a pig in shit, with my stack of books on women itinerant Evangelists during the 2nd Great Awakening.

I took a break from my reading to start a big pot of carne guisada in the slow cooker. Tacos tonight.

So C and I both got what we wanted this weekend, which is better than neither of us getting what we wanted. That’s what I know so far about marriage: it’s usually one or the other.