a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Then and Now

< by Dave Heller >

There’s a cliché that time heals all wounds. I would argue time also romanticizes stories from the past. Here’s an example.

Date: A week after graduation, 2009

Place: Train pulling into Penn Station, NYC.

I want to think about the existential significance of my entire life fitting into two overstuffed duffel bags slightly more than I want to think about carrying those bags out of Penn Station. Yet the sweat on my forehead is not so much indicative short-term anxiety, but rather the thought of relying on Craigslist to find an apartment in a 12-hour window. I’ll be lucky enough to find a good spot: something safe, affordable, and near the 6 train in Manhattan. I’ll be even luckier if that spot doesn’t turn out to be a torturous sex dungeon, even though that’d be the first sex I’ve had in a while. Deep breath, here goes nothing.

Date: Present day 2013

Place: Outside Washington, DC, with a just-opened letter from the New York IRS saying I still owe them $141 in front of me.

The New York Department of Tax and Finance has serious cojones asking for $141 of money they don’t legally deserve. I lived in New York for three months!

[Looks skyward]

That I had the confidence to head to New York with nothing more than two duffel bags and a smartphone says a lot about my general bravado. That I nailed down a decent apartment on Craigslist, which back then was a lot more secure, wasn’t so much luck as it was my ambivalence.  I would have taken anything short of a torturous sex dungeon, which looking back wouldn’t have been the worst thing. I just wish I could fit my life into duffel bags and be as free spirited as I once was. Don’t buy furniture, kids.

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