I just returned from NJ, where I originated(See posts from 2005 for more on that) the first trip in two years. I’ve decided call this the “fattening shadow banker trip”, or, “How Alexx tricked himself into believing the past moved independent of the now, that the world sits, in situ, until his return”.
What was a small band of weirdos and artists, madmen and drunks, has turned into a pudgy coven of bankers, vague shadows of the people I remember. It was like some grotesque play of my old life, the actors cast just that much off. I saw bankers where artists once lived, curtains in place of cracked paint, nicotine-stained and perfect in its placement. I saw a group of people more related to the middle-age-wine-bar crowd than my own. I was part of uncomfortable conversations, details of the day, the fatuous hopes of tomorrows. I faked energy and interest. I faked enjoyment to cover the depression over existing once again in that static car culture of half remembered turns and forever changed back-ways of halcyon youth.
Of course there were exceptions; of course some still bounced and burned like the frenetic energy of days past, but they were few and widely dispersed. I left, annoyed and depressed, wishing I had the foresight to expect that world to be the rotted, fetid thing,so different from my memory.
The flight back was one of joy, of aching mile by mile to something better, to home. It’s almost as if the last nail of the coffin of my past was pounded home. The world I left had also left me, and I, for one, feel better for the separation.
“…mercy mercy Mr. Percy There ain’t nothin’ back in Jersey But a broken-down jalopy of a man I left behind…” -Tom Waits