chapter 2

I ask my apartment what it thinks of me. It doesn't respond, only sits there with a pre-fab, unfurnished look to it, which is just as telling as if it had said something. It's small, like me: A kitchenette and another larger room with serves as living room and bedroom; meanwhile, I'm a compact unit, entirely contained within myself–no extensions, no need for the neighboring units.

Lou Reed was never alone in a city. Even if he was ever physically alone, the man could never be entirely alone–he was always being thought about, always being considered, and there was always someone wishing they were alone with him in that city. A man like Lou Reed is never truly alone–or maybe it's that a person like him would never feel lonely.

Obviously, I'm not Lou Reed, and I am alone in a city. My parents aren't thinking about me right now–my father is thinking about his comeback album and my mother is thinking about Fashion Week in New York. I have been in Boston only about five hours–the city is not thinking about me. Through the window in my bathroom I can see Coolidge Corner, the lights at the theater pretending it's still the 1920s, the stickers on street signs pretending they're meaningful.

The truth is, part of me probably wanted to be forgotten. I had the option of living with my parents for the rest of my life, never in need of anything, mooching off faded success until the end. Sales of old Crisis albums still brought my Dad money, and my mother's clothing line spoke for itself. I grew up both cynical and idealistic, and with that came a choice with two possibilities: should I stay or should I go? To consume or be consumed? I decided to go, and in the process, be consumed–eaten alive by Boston and the hoards of people a million times more interesting, focused, ironic and bohemian than me. I took my drawings (knowing that graphic novels were already losing their indie-cred status) and my meager book deal with a basement run publishing company and struck out on my to save or shame the world.

What do I need? What I need is a few more tee shirts with antique illustrations paired with Smiths song titles or lines from Tennyson poems. What I need is a collection of kitschy action figures and medical diagram posters. What I need is a undying faith in an obscure suburban band just obscure enough to be barely relevant. What I need is a pair of vintage cowboy boots and large sunglasses. But I know that my upbringing was too perfect to be perfectly quirky. Lying on the bare mattress in the middle of my studio, I can see the very top of a flashing red sign, barely visible through the window. A lyric from one of my dad's songs seems to not want to leave my head: burn this city burn this city burn this city burn this city.