3 out of 53

OLIVIA LUCAS

ISSUE NO. 2 • Are we there yet?

All I can think about or talk to other people about is hating where I currently live and wanting to move to another area of the city. What neighborhood do you live in? I find myself asking strangers. Help me please!-- I’m trying to find my place.

“Are you staying in the city after graduation?” They always say.

You shrug and don’t say, “I feel suffocated and cry a lot. Can I get back to you?”

What you do say is, “If I can get a job.”

They don’t ask about your feelings regarding the Impending Doom. May 18th has become the 2012 of 2019.

On the subway, you are grateful to be stuck on the track in between stations. Perhaps the train will never move and you’ll be forced to stay in the subway car forever. You’ll have to choose a mate from the thirty other people and negotiate which seats will be your living quarters and the bedroom. You and the thirty other people will create some sort of democracy and hopefully not become so hungry you’ll have to eat each other. You avoid considering the long-term effects. You just want a few more minutes before you have to go to your internship.

You wish you lived in Queens and had a longer commute so you could have time to think.  When they ask you where you want to live you start to say “Astoria,” but then backtrack and say “I really don’t know. Maybe Brooklyn or Scotland or anywhere I don’t have to have blackout curtains and sleep with ear plugs.”

According to the New York Daily News, Manhattan has 53 neighborhoods. You’ve lived in three over the course of four years. This is not typical. People usually move at least once a year if not more frequently in the city. You are about to move again. You are counting down the days.

At 22, you pretend you want permanence, but really you have severe unrest. You think you can always have better and so a year lease seems like an eternity and you just want the security and freedom of childhood back. You think about paying Con-Ed and it makes you want to vomit. You think about how much cable is and phone bills and you realize living the life you have now is pretty fucking impossible on the entry level job you are hoping to get. You know your parents can’t support you and you say you don’t want them to. But the truth is you are so scared of what it means to be on your own, truly on your own, in New York that you start to have fantasies about moving to the middle of nowhere. You decide Maine or Vermont or Northern California would do. You think about how sexy it would be to only see other people when you get into your car and drive twenty minutes to the nearest store. You think you might start getting into botany and how you could walk around naked and no one would see you because the closest neighbor is a mile away. You crave land. You crave space.

The train moves. You have one stop until you have to get off. You consider missing your stop accidentally on purpose and taking the train to the last stop in both directions.  They would probably notice that you didn’t show up at your internship because it’s not like you. You daydream about a world where no one checks up on you.

But you get off at 23rd street because you are already three minutes late and it’s embarrassing to be late when your commute is only eight minutes including walk time.