Tragedy, I think, tends to whitewash the canvas of our memories, leaving only itself in its wake. The fun times I had in New York are hard to remember through the filter of September 11. My memories of a dear friend of mine from those days are discolored by the time I spent in earnest with him during his final days in the hospital. I promised myself I would write a remembrance of him, as so many did when he passed, but I was never sure what to write. Two years later, motivated by an excellent memorial penned by another good friend of his, despite the piles of studying awaiting me once I finish this post, I figured I should just sit down and recover what was lost before another year goes by.
I had no idea what I was agreeing to, but when Swanson invited me to go with him to a screening of Stop Making Sense sometime my sophomore year I think it was, I said sure, why not. Thus do I credit him with introducing me to The Talking Heads. I can’t be certain, but he probably also had a hand in my ownership of Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. He most definitely introduced me to Steve Goodman, however.
Later on through his intervention would he also introduce me to Larry Swenson and Lee Murdock.
On an expedition through the old neighborhood after Mass with Mom and Dad, I tried to resist going into Unabridged Bookstore, thinking of the books on my shelves that have sat, neglected; but I failed, driven perhaps by nostalgia for days past in New York spent browsing the many miles of books at The Strand.
Inside, the simple cover of No One Belongs Here More Than You beckoned me closer, testified to by a staff member’s positive, handwritten review posted on the shelf. The title, too, held a promise all its own, hinting that within its pages might be found a resolution to, or at least some brief sanctuary from, my own unshakable feeling of I Belong Somewhere Else: when I lived in New York; I belonged in Chicago; in Pittsburgh, I belonged in New York; and now, in Wisconsin, I belong… anywhere else.
Six years is a long time to be someplace you don’t belong. But–and I’m reminded of a performance of one-acts I did in college–everybody has to be someplace.
[As I troll through my digital archives, piecing together memories of Scott for a brain that often fails to remember the more mundane details of life (it’s those details that I think not only help provide context to what actually does matter, but also trigger memories that might be otherwise buried unreachable in my subconscious), I find things that I think are worth remembering. I hope no one minds me sharing them.]
If you asked me nowadays, I would tell you that, despite the tragedy of a certain day, I wouldn’t trade my college years in New York for anything. If nothing else, they clarified my love of the city (a term which, by the way, can only refer to one place) and left me with many fond memories–of people, places, and things, and a siren-like call to return.
From a conversation Scott and I had slightly un-recently, speculating about how many people might come to a certain event.
[Scott] I expect it to be low, but I'm a pessimist
[me] But I'm a pessimist as well. 😉
[Scott] and this is but one reason why we are such good friends
If memory serves, this is the first communication I ever sent Scott outside of the notesfiles.
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 20:46:07 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: ISO advice/words of wisdom
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
Hi, Scott. We've never personally met except on notesfiles, but I wanted
to ask you if you'd be willing to give me your impressions on living in
New York, seeing as how I'll be moving out there in a month. I gathered
from your ph that you live out in Queens; what's it like? I haven't
explored much of New York beyond Manhattan below 57th and The Bronx,
around Fordham. I'm thinking of getting an apartment after my freshman
year, and I'm wondering where's a good place to look--Manhattan is most
likely out of my price range, even with a roommate.
I'm just trying to get a feel for the place before The Big Move. Any
comments/advice/etc. would be helpful. Oh, and if you're wondering, I'll
be located on Third Ave. and 9th, in the Village.