How To Leave Albany

nycPhoto Andrew Franciosa

If you find someone you like I highly suggest you ignore that person as best you can.  It’ll make this easier.

Think of all the ways you could die.  Decide on the the worst one.  Then think how much worse it would be if when it happened you were in….

Poughkeepsie.  That’s how far I got before my road trip to my new and exciting life had become a long and boring car ride through the depths of hell a.k.a Pennsylvania. The fog and blinding headlights of oncoming traffic took their toll and my head began to throb.  When I finally stopped at a Denny’s in Virginia and watched the sun rise over a strip mall it was quite possibly the most beautiful thing I had ever witnessed.  But to be honest, I could have stepped out of my car and seen two cats blowing each other and I would have been just as happy.  Also, Pennsylvanian roads are constantly under construction.  I think when they get to the end of one they just start back at the beginning again.  Big fucking mystery.  Been losing sleep over it.

I think we all reach our Poughkeepsie at some point.  And this is where I’m supposed to say something inspiringly lame like you need to keep driving and wait for the sunrise.  Well the sun rose over a Denny’s.  It was about as poetic as passing a kidney stone.  It’s just that I was so delirious from sleep deprivation I practically became the double rainbow guy.  Fuck double rainbow guy.  And fuck rainbows for that matter too.  The refractive index of a raindrop does not impress me.

So how do you leave Albany?

I suppose the first step is to realize that there’s something better somewhere else.  That’s certainly easy enough but the rest gets considerably harder and it helps if you start warping your vision of the world.  Take everything you see and view it through the lens of apathy, depression, or if you’re a real sick puppy, optimism.  I say this because the first two leave a whispered possibility of being better than you had anticipated.  Optimism or hope or whatever positive outlook you manage to twist your aspirations through will just end in sad realization.  It is best if you just embrace being unhappy and decide maybe it’d be interesting to be unhappy somewhere else.  There are so many people and things not to like there’s no reason to limit yourself to one place.

Also, make sure you realize the reason you’re unhappy and want to leave isn’t because you live in a shitty place but because you are in fact a shitty person.  People love to say Albany sucks.  Well, chances are, you suck.  You’re probably not a very interesting person and there’s a fair possibility everybody thinks you’re frightfully unattractive.  Don’t leave because you think you’re better than the place you’re leaving or better than the people who live there.  You are very likely not.  You are statistically mediocre in every way and only a small handful of people will truly miss you when you’re gone.

So, now that you’ve gotten yourself in the right mind set, it’s time to pack your bags.  If you need instructions or help with this I highly recommend you shoot yourself in the face.  I will give some advice though: everything needs to fit into the trunk and backseat of your car (you do have a car right?), if you own more than two trash bags worth of clothes and shoes I hate you, don’t bring any furniture or anything large and completely unnecessary like a three foot framed picture of your ugly ass dog, and if you’re going someplace hot please remember vinyl records can easily melt.  Lastly, before you pack your car, toss a fat man in the passenger seat.  Do this because, either like me you brought a fat man with you on your trip, or because I figure that’s how much spare room you’re going to want for all the cases of Red Bull and Hostess cupcakes you’re going to consume on your journey.  Be careful with the energy drinks and cupcakes by the way, if you drink three of those things and pound four cupcakes in a one hour period, you will shit out your soul at the next rest stop.  You might also want the room for picking up hookers, serial killer drifters, or possibly but unlikely, a nice boy/girl you meet on your way.

Give yourself a month to announce your departure, quit your job, and say your goodbyes.  Get everything sorted out sooner rather than later so you can spend your last week without the worries of traveling.  Don’t try and see everybody.  Most of your so called friends aren’t worth it.  Focus on the few people you actually care about and leave the rest to show up at your going away party at a crappy Albany bar of your choosing.  Most won’t show and you shouldn’t care.  If you do then maybe you’re not ready to leave yet.  Try and have sex with everybody you have been wanting to have sex with.  The going away forever thing seems to be an effective ammunition for gettin’ laid.  Have sex with someone regrettable while you’re at it too.  Give yourself one last thing to be happy to see fade away in your rearview mirror.

Hopefully you’ve settled on somewhere to go at this point and you’re not just running off to get raped or killed in the moonlight of an unfamiliar city.  I recommend giving Seattle a shot.  People tell me it’s great and it has a high suicide rate.  Get in your car and leave at night.  There’s something calming about driving away in the dark.

You have started again, but when you arrive at your new home and gaze upon its buildings and its people, remember, everything ends.  If you’re lucky you’ll be somewhere nice when it does.

How to get a job, move to an awesome city, and not care.

[tweetmeme]I have never been surrounded by such a pervasive horde of happy people than I have in Austin. I have not caught site of a frown, a tear, or even an unsettled face in the month I’ve lived here. Folks go about their days in such a blissful state I thought for a while the government was dumping Zoloft in the water. This likely medicated pack of giddy Austinites hold doors for you, say please and thank you, and would probably blow you on demand if you asked nicely.

And I kind of fucking hate it (though I haven’t tested the fellatio theory yet). What exhilarating phenomenon are these people partaking in to engender these moronic looks of glee? Is there no sorrow or loss here? Maybe they need a good flood or some good ol’ fashioned fire and brimstone, blood in the water, locust in the sky apocalypse.

They’d probably let it slide right off. Might not even notice. I mean it. There’s a man who collects the garbage from the IT room everyday before I leave. He’s pretty old and I think he had a seizure at one point because one side of his face is a little fucked. This man is happier than me. He’s probably happier than you. I make twice an hour what he makes. I have my youth, my health, a full head of hair, and oh yeah, the side of my face doesn’t look like I lost a fight with a bear. And yet he accelerates towards oblivion with nary a look of woe. Some sort of cosmic balance is off here. I want to tell him he shouldn’t be happy. I want to tell him when I look at him I’m convinced nothing will ever work out and happiness is a pretense, a masquerade we partake in, and under our masks we are all scared and alone. But in this Twilight Zone world the words get stuck in my throat.

I miss Albany in a way. I miss being a sarcastic asshole and having that be acceptable. In New York we’re often total dicks to one another because we know the other person, deep down, is a giant dick themselves. It’s great. Really. I love that. This subtle respect and consideration for one another down south makes my insides feel funny.

I’m not sure what I’m missing about this city and the euphoria it apparently induces. Austin is nice but Albany is….. not really that nice at all now that I think about it. It’s kind of a big garbage dump – not like Troy bad (I think a fucking shitbomb went off in that town, seriously) but it’s a far cry from heaven. Strangely I miss that. I mean, I actually miss how shitty it is. Something about me feels at home in its shadow. We fit.

I think people move to Austin because they are happy while I moved to Austin because…. well, I’ll have to get back to you on that. It was for much the opposite reason though. I did make some world record for landing a job upon arriving in a city with zero job prospects. In five days I was working doing help desk and network administration for $17 an hour. Don’t worry, I realize how absurdly lucky I am. Funny enough, Apple gave me a call two weeks after I got here regarding the transfer I had put in for months prior that I was sure I hadn’t gotten.

Telling the manager he should hang up and proceed to fuck his own face was by far my most joyous moment in Austin to date.

My move here should be hailed as a financial success. Yet, you find out far too quickly, that without anyone you care to spend it with or anyone you love to spend it on, money is about as useful as a windshield wiper on a goat’s ass (that’s an old Texan analogy, I think Davey Crockett said it first).

But let me end with a glimmer of light and a whisper of truth, a solitary moment of optimism. Life is not all misery and despair. I see the night fading and the sun spilling over the horizon. The moon will sink and a warm….. nope, I actually have no idea what I’m saying right now. I’m rather drunk at this point in my writing and thought I’d try and end it on an uplifting note. That’s not going to happen. Nevermind. Life is shit. Always has been. Always will be. But you know, I think I’m okay with that.