This is the writing of the Whiner’s Bio.

Some of the homies hustling,
Some of my players is pimps,
Some of the homies struggling.
~E-40, “Big Ballin’ with My Homies.”

In spite of the absence of any such thing, my last eight months have carried with them the same emotional tone as a breakup.

Not a bad breakup, the kind that rattles and rearranges your world. Just a mild, inevitable breakup that you can’t move past for whatever stupid reason.

And, in the great tradition of idiot suckers, I’m addicted to the low. I couldn’t be looking forward to going back to Baltimore next week to look for a place to live any less.

It’s sort of embarrassing when I look at it objectively, because it’s a confluence of happy circumstances. Some people who read a paper I wrote two and a half years ago want to pay me $22,000 a year to read books and ogle senators’ daughters, which is twice as much as I’ve ever made in a year in my life. My dad’s motivational speaking endeavors have won him the friendship of a Baltimore Harbor realtor who is going to set up appointments at apartments (ha!) and drive me around to them. I have a friend in Chicago with whom I’m going to spend the 4th of July, and who is going to drive me to the airport the next morning, saving $300 and a four hour layover versus flying out of Cedar Rapids. My parents are like, "don't worry about money, if you find an expensive place you like, we'll help you out" despite the fact that I've yet to spend a single day in my life as a self-sufficient, self-supported supersleuth.

Why does it sound so awful to me? Well, for one thing, it annoys me that I have to leave my house. I’m moving in roughly a month. That, to me, is terrifying. Terrifying. And I’m going to be spending a week of that month in Chicago, two days in Clear Lake, and two days in Baltimore, leaving me with scant more than two weeks to lounge in my recliner, which, let’s face it, is all I’ve really done for the last two years. When I wasn’t busy blogging, or hating somebody. Shit is scary.

Compounded with the fact that I’m going to grad school, and 90% of my experience with grad students is directly related to one-upmanship. Oh, that you could have been a fly on the wall when all the prospectives were gathered together with some booze in them. All but a couple all but pulled out their cocks and slapped them on the bar to compare. It was, of course, pretty fucking awesome in its way, a bunch of people trying to figure out their place in a pecking order in a pretty uniquely level setting ("well, we all got in... what next?"). I was, of course, the worst (as in most insufferable) of all of them. I’m bad enough as an amateur smartypants who doesn’t know anything about anything. What the fuck am I going to be like when I employ snark, which is another word for critical inquiry, for a living?

So this is a concern. Also of concern is the prospect of homelessness, or living too far from campus to walk every day, which is a legitimate worry, since I’ve waited until three weeks before moving to actually bother to find a place to live. Good move.

In the last eight months, nearly everyone I know (and actually like) except my two best friends has managed to drift into serious, committed relationships that looked like longshots at best or misfires at worst a year ago but now seem to be imbued with the semi-staying power of middle-American oddball romance. Lucky love, upping the stakes and heading either towards total disaster or connubial bliss. Meanwhile, I’ve just kind of been falling apart while my life and I drift inexorably towards the biggest change we have seen so far. Grad-studentry, with an emphasis on self-sacrifice in the interest of great gains in knowledge, and each increase in knowledge a new wound, as Byron sniffed. All following maybe the loneliest, saddest epoch of my life so far. Certainly the most absurd.

This is scary to me, because I’ve never actually tried at school, and I’ve never really made friends in school, always extracurricularly, due to my hatred of English majors who act like English majors. And all the sudden I’m going to have to try really hard, and what if I don’t know how, and how am I supposed to try and also make friends? What a stupid worry. This is why it was interesting, to me, to discover that the eye problem I have is a sanctioned, legitimate learning disability. Both because it makes me seem more impressive – ooh, look at him, he’s a grad student and he did it all with an undiagnosed learning disability, like an underdog story about a minor league ballplayer who survived a childhood bout of shingles to bat .223 in double-A – and because, it totally gives me an excuse to fucking fail balls-out, not necessarily because I can’t cut it, more because I’m just too nervous to try. Which I may or may not be. It’s early yet.

So I’m just talking around it because I am incapable of processing anything as enormous as this, and I’m all but worthless if I can’t process something. Which is why, if you read this far, you didn’t actually read anything.


nick said...

If you need a place to stay during your visit, drop me a line -- 609-231-3837. I'm moving on Monday, so starting then is when I'm available. It sounds like you're hooked up though.

As for living in the Harbor: I don't know for sure, but I get the sense that the Harbor is near a different Hopkins campus (i.e., not the Homewood campus), and that there's no way you'd be able to walk from there to the English department. There are a ton of places right around the corner from Homewood, though.

Many, I expect, would be ok with you just walking up the day of your visit. Check out the Marylander, and, of course, St. Paul Court. Both are nice in their own way.

Joe said...

Dude, e-mail me your number at j.martin.uiuc (at) gmail.com and I'll give you a call. I just hosted a new poet, so I'm probably at my peak as far as "counseling new grad students" and "giving housing advice" is concerned. (Also, on that topic: Living near the Inner Harbor makes no sense, even if you have a car - it's a tourist area, and not a particularly residential one. I'd suggest Charles Village, Mount Vernon, Hampden, or Roland Park. And, of those, Charles Village and Mount Vernon are the most convenient.)

And but so: Throw me an e-mail, sir.