There is, in fact, something meaningful to be written. Of this I am convinced. Finding it, however, has become a larger and more complex project than I had anticipated.
— § —
We are moving.
Not just to a new apartment.
Not just to a new state.
We are moving to the opposite end of the country.
Almost nothing in immediate daily life apart from the three of us—mommy, daddy, and daughter—will remain the same.
— § —
The reasons for this can be many if we think far too much about it, but in fact if we allow ourselves to be simple and true, the reason for this is quite simple:
We are no longer happy in New York.
This problem has been brewing for a very long time, but at some point early this year, we crossed the threshold from “we are more than 50 percent happy here” to “we are less than 50 percent happy here,” and by the time this summer had come around, we were probably more like “10 percent happy here.”
After a long plateau that hovered just around the “balance” point, happiness vs. unhappiness, we entered a sudden and steep period of decline.
New York fell out of favor and out of logistical possibility, both at the same time, in a matter of weeks. Exponential collapse, if a slight abuse of mathematics ban be tolerated.
— § —
We decided this about three weeks ago now. There are, at the same time, about three weeks before we go.
The act of turning this ship (i.e this family, this financial organization, this individual and set of individual identities) around has been a herculean task. It is not so easy.
We are constantly tempted to allow ourselves to suffer. Sometimes we do, without meaning to.
We also look forward to the change a great deal.
— § —
I think of all things what I want to focus on as “what I will miss” is somehow embodied by the pork bao to be easily had in Flushing and Chinatown.
Bound up in this inexpensive Chinese junk food is every dimension of this city—the multicultural melee, the financial extremes and nuance, the cultural diversity, the indulgence and the austerity, the frustratingly and joyously quotidian mix of the normal and the exotic, the crowds, the individuality, the freshness and the staleness, and most of all, the unpredictable-yet-seductive-and-delicious urbanism of the place that can’t be separated from a hidden undercurrent of ill health and indulgence.
— § —
Moving is a transcendental experience.
I say every day that “there are so-and-so many days left before we go” as though this has some ontological meaning that the human mind is actually capable of grasping.
It isn’t, as a matter of fact, and it doesn’t.
The fact is that in three weeks’ time every single sensory experience that we have on a daily basis will be transformed, will be other than it has been. Every single familiar input will be missing, and every input that we do have will be new
The geography will be different.
The demography will be different.
The economy will be different.
The geology and meteorology will be different.
The very air and sun will be different.
We will be much closer to outer space, where we’re going, yet much farther away from the sea; much closer to nature yet much farther away from society; much closer to financial viability yet much farther away from financial opportunity.
And so on.
— § —
Thing is, all of this is talk and chatter.
In reality, this is impossible to comprehend.
It takes on the character of a fable told about giants or a category of knowledge and power long lost to human kind or an ageless, but not nameless threat that lurks in the night, just beyond the boundary of vision, for all eternity.
In short, it is exhilarating and joyful and terrible and unreal. It is also, and by the same token, the rightful property of the world of mythology, as a confrontation with with myth is the only way to properly approach or endure it.
— § —
Mythomaniacs, my wife used to call people when we first got together. I suppose, having now begun to experience the process of moving, that I must be one.
For surely we now threaten to encroach on high ground long held by entire Jungian battalions.
— § —
August 25th, 2011: Last Touch of New York