Thursday, April 19, 2012

Moving thoughts

I finished reading Terry Moore’s “Strangers in Paradise” series last night, the second time I’ve read the series through. It has one of the best endings of any comic series, a nearly perfect ending. You all know how much endings in books and movies mean to me, so that’s saying something.

The confluence of reading SiP and other recent events in my life has made me think a little about the future. I know, dangerous. Trying to see the unseeable future almost always opens the way to fear of the unknown. So the challenge is to consider the future in a disinterested way (the right definition of disinterested, please, not what most people think it means – look it up if you’re not sure).

Two of the three people most involved in my day-to-day life – Kacey and Piper – are both moving with their roommates to new residences in the next two months. Both of them were forced to do so by their landlords. I, on the other hand, am staying put at least until March. I love my place, or at least I will once all the renovations are done. They say it’ll be in June, but who knows. Right now I just want them to hurry up and get the second elevator replaced so we’re not all relying on a single elevator that is prone to breakdowns.

Anyway, all this to say is that I’m thinking about what’s going to happen next March when I sign a new lease. My expectation is that my rent will skyrocket beyond my willingness to pay because of the upgraded building. I don’t think my landlord is paying thousands of dollars in renovations just to keep the same customers they already have. With a modernized building, they will want to price the old tenants out and re-let units at a higher price. So whether it’s next year or the year after, I can see the writing on the wall.

I hate moving about as much as I hate looking for a new job. So I’m thinking about buying a place – I have enough saved up for a downpayment. So this year I need to start looking at where I might go. My job at Nearing seems pretty secure, but you never know. My company went through a takeover battle in 2009 right before I joined, and if it had been successful, our office would have been closed. That could happen again at any time. See what I mean? Fear.

But if I bought a place and my job situation changed, it wouldn’t be much different than if I were renting. I’d still have to deal with a possible move and either breaking a lease or selling a property. And it just makes sense to start building equity at the rent prices I’ve been paying the last two years in Manhattan.

The big issue is, where would I go? My job in Princeton confines me to living on the west side of Manhattan or New Jersey, rather than Queens or Brooklyn. If I moved back to the Garden State, I could get something bigger and nicer and not pay New York prices and state taxes. But being outside of Manhattan makes it much harder for Puck and my friends to visit me, and for me to justify coming in for my three to five monthly activities for my poly/kink groups. I’m sure I could adjust, but I would feel the loss after living in the convenience of Times Square.

The other option is to stay in Manhattan and find something I can afford to buy. That would probably involve a downsizing and moving to a different neighborhood, but it would have to be relatively convenient to Penn Station to keep my long daily commute bearable. That’s probably where I’ll focus my search first and see what’s available.

Aside from logistics, my other concern is how it affects my relationships. Puck is my family even though we don’t live together, so I want to make it as easy as possible for them to see me and be comfortable staying over. We’ve joked that I should get a place near Ryan and Beth so they could visit all of us at the same time. It’s a nice thought, since that would be very close to Princeton, but quite far away from Manhattan. That would probably mean driving to work and taking the train in for fun, which means I’ll have less of it.

Anyway, whatever happens, I know I’ll get through it the way I always do, with hope and faith that things will work out where I’ll find happiness and make others happy as well.

This past weekend was full of good stuff with Puck. I left work after lunch to drive out to Stony Brook and took Puck, Perri and Dave to dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant. The food was excellent, but we had to rush a bit to have time to get ready for the LGBTA Drag Show.

Puck and I grabbed front row seats for ourselves and Gillian and Jenn, who drove down from Massachusetts to attend. I also finally met Lauren in person, which was a treat for me. We didn’t know each other when we both marched in Slut Walk several months ago. I took a picture of her holding a sign and posted it on Facebook, and our friend Emily recognized her and introduced us online.

So we’ve had some nice conversations about trans issues and other social justice topics – she’s much more active in that than I am and I admire her for it. She used her assets to her best advantage by volunteering to collect donations for charity at the show, having people deposit bills into her front of her dress.

The show itself was a series of lip-synched performances by drag performers, including Emily, who did an impression of British comedian Tim Minchin singing a song about boobs. During the song she plucked Puck out of the front row and buried her face in their corseted bosom (she asked permission before, of course!)

After the show we took Emily and her partner Ken to the diner for a late supper and then back to her room to watch a few episodes of "Firefly" (she wasn’t around for our Firefly marathon in 2009) before we returned to Translandia (Puck’s former suite) to crash on the air mattress.

Saturday we got up at noon and went home, stopping at the Cheesecake Factory for brunch. We unpacked and got dressed for the evening’s performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Classic Stage Company near Union Square. It was a wonderful modern interpretation of the play, with beautiful effects using smoke and mirrors, and thousands of rose petals. The costumes and props were also beautiful, as were the performances by well-known actors like Anthony Heald (Silence of the Lambs), Christina Ricci (Addams Family Values, Sleepy Hollow, TV’s “Pan Am”) and Bebe Neuwirth (Jumanji, TV’s “Cheers”).

Sunday Puck had made plans but they fell through, so we took a drive upstate to the Woodbury Common outlet mall to do some shopping. I got them some nice button-down shirts at Calvin Klein, and I got a couple pleated skirts at Tommy Hilfiger and Jones New York. We looked in some high end stores like Versace and Zegna just for grins, but CK’s shirts fit the best.

After a few hours we were both worn out, so we drove back to Staten Island to watch Doctor Who, have dinner, and watch the first half of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King on my projector with the family.

This week has been quiet in the office with everyone out traveling. Tonight I’m meeting Lori for dinner then going to my women’s poly group. Tomorrow Piper’s coming to continue our Hitchcock marathon with Rear Window. Then Friday I’m going to see a play with Kacey at a private residence in Brooklyn.

I’m also going to note that I’m in the sweet spot with one of the books I’m reading, Charles de Lint’s “The Mystery of Grace.” You know, the part of the book where you’re hooked and can’t wait to pick it up again, but you don’t want to finish it too quickly.