Molto Bene

Really feelin’ it. That demand to get out of here, a taste of escape.

There’s a pair of screens in my office, on the wall directly facing me. One shows a dashboard of down servers. The other screen is hooked up to a Chromecast device, and as a screensaver, it shows an endless stream of pictures of all these amazing places that I would rather be instead of my office.

Some of those pictures catch my attention.

Manarola SP, Italy – Photo by Aaron Choi

Manarola SP, Italy, is a seaside village, on the cliffs between the wine mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, nestled in a river valley. It’s one of five townships along that section of coastline called the Cinque Terre, all mostly isolated fishing and tourism villages, notable for the lack of corporate meddling. Most are accessible only by boat and rail. To me, it looks like heaven.

But it’s not for me. It’s someone else’s heaven right now. Round trip airfare from Austin, Texas to Genoa, Italy in June is $1600. Nothing cheap at all.

My wanderlust doesn’t give a shit about seasonal variations.

Am I going to Italy? No. But damn, I gotta get out. But what would I find?

Fresh air.

Foot Path

My longtime friend Pat is moving back home to Wisconsin this week. 16 years is a long time to know a guy and to live in one town. I was one of the reasons he moved here in 2002. But, citing the growing cost of living here, the lack of potential in this town, and his desire to move back to live near his family, he and his boyfriend Will are packing up and kicking up gravel in their wake.

I know my future isn’t in Austin, either. I just don’t know when or why I’d move, or where I’d move to. But occasionally I wonder about it, ponder on my wanderlust. If not here, then where?

Mostly, I think about what I’d miss. The food, mostly. Thundercloud, Ruby’s BBQ (now closed), East Side Pies. Among many others. But yeah. What else? My radio club? Sure. The cafes? Maybe (regardless of how much time I’ve spent inside them). The few personal friends I still see occasionally? Certainly.

Really, I’d miss the squandered potential of my 18 years here. I could have had and done and been so, so much here. All I’d have to do is fluff up my feathers and peacock along with every other dime-store DJ dotcom startup burner techie elite. Instead, I stuck to my muted integrity (somewhat) and got nowhere. It’s not necessarily that people are excluding me, they’re just not including me. I drive around and see places and things, and don’t see the people inside. I don’t call, don’t write, don’t visit. Finding my society means I have to actually look for them, because when I’m out of sight, I’m completely out of their mind.

One day I’ll have it figured out. Until then, my love for this town remains unrequited.

It’ll suck to know Pat’s not around when I need to say Hi, but it’s good knowing he’ll be in a less tenuous locale. Godspeed, Pat and Will.

To Do Is To Be

Constant existential nagging.
Feeling it pretty bad lately.
The stable half that pushes for self-sufficiency
Is in a lockstep battle with
The unstable half that pushes for self-agency.

I don’t think I’ll ever be fully settled in my life,
One of those lives lived in
A permanent state of temporality.

I think it’s a side effect of moving a lot while growing up,
Never having much time to put down roots
And grow from that.
Ever since moving to Austin,
I’ve always felt itinerant,
Like I’m always two paychecks from disaster
And will have to move out in an emergency.
That’s certainly not the case anymore,
But nothing really feels like it lasts forever.

Some things, I’m grateful that they don’t last forever.

What doesn’t last forever is
My youth and agency.
I need to punch Eject and go wander.
The wanderlust is strong.
But I don’t need to,
I want to,
I desire to.

But then what?
Do I return back home,
Return to zero,
Lose concrete resources
And gain ephemeral experiences?
Lose personal capital and
Gain a camera roll?

I don’t think Nietzsche and Sartre ever had a proper answer.
Did they?