Saturday, April 08, 2006


Tripp is sitting, cross legged on the floor shredding papers. He's worried that if he throws out all of his old bills someone will open the garbage and find his personal information. There are two boxes of papers that need to be shredded. He's so careful, and I am so haphazardous about these things. Who would want to steal my identity anyway?

It just occured to me that I have never seen Tripp's drawings. I have no idea what his work looks like. We live together, but if I were to see a drawing on an anonymous wall I would not know it was his. It's strange isn't it? To live with someone and not really know their handwriting well? To be unable to recognize their style of drawing? And I look at him and realize that I have only known him for 3 1/2 months. That he may have no idea what my chicken scratch looks like. But there are things he has already memorized about me, that others took years and years even just to register. So the lack of time and some things that seem so fundamental to knowing a person, the way their hand leaves ink marks on a page, are really of no consequence. Because I knew in just two days that Tripp is the kind of man that is safe to love.

He just shredded some papers that he was supposed to keep for his records.

Washington Avenue


Cold nights on Washington Avenue are pretty bleak. There's a homeless man, a middle aged black guy who calls himself Vern. It's sad to see him in the winter. He's only wearing a hooded sweat-shirt whenever I see him, and his pants are always falling. His bottom is always showing, it's sad. Washington Ave. is on a hill, it catches all of the wind.

Vern's always chasing cars down the road. Stomping on cars when he comes across them, ending the chase before it begins. He doesn't ever ask for money he just walks around with a garbage bag, collecting cans, pulling up his pants. He never talks to anyone. Except one day in the winter I finally asked him if he'd like a coffee. He said no, that caffeinne is bad for you. I was a little awed by this and asked him if there was anything he would like; he wanted a sandwich.

We sat in The Grill for a couple of hours, talking. That's how I learned his name. He used to have a family some where in a tiny town in Georgia. He lost his job at the factory, where he made boxes, the kind they sell bottles of aspirin in. Laid off. His wife and daughter couldn't make enough to pay for their mortgage, modest as it was.

One night Vern left. He found out his wife had been seeing another man since he was laid off. He wasn't angry, suprisingly. He left so she could marry the other man. Vern considered himself unfit to be a husband. He couldn't support his family and this other man could. For Vern it was a matter of practicality not emotion. Let the new man take over and just get out of the way. Or fight for his wife and everyone would be out on the streets.

He took a bus to Athens, the closest "city" to his home town and here he's been. It's almost five years since he left. Vern doesn't know what his family is doing or where they are - but he's satisfied in knowing that he left them in capable hands and he was not the cause of their demise.

He still ambles along here. I see him every once in a while. Whenever winter comes along I remember him and I start to worry. Sometimes he lets me take him out for a sandwich and a de-caf coffee. Other times he's busy - on to a good can collecting lead. I gave him an old jacket once, from my dad. Vern said it'd be perfect for his friend, another homeless man in Athens. I've never seen Vern wear it. Winters in Athens can be pretty harsh and Washington Ave. turns grey and stoney in the cold.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Day II


I found a new hotel today. I'm not right in the center of town now but it's only about a 5 minute walk and it's half the price of the last hotel. Today I decided that I love L-O-V-E Athens. Honestly, I can see myself living here happily. Maybe not forever and ever but certainly for a couple of years.

The Christmas parade is tonight and afterward there's a show going on that I think I'm going to see. Today I walked around the main streets and I think I'm going to walk around some of the side streets now. Looking through two papers today I got the impression that Athens is a real "community" oriented kind of place. I could be wrong but it just seems really homey. I've never in my life felt the urge to settle down in a small town. The really crazy and freeing thing is that there's nothing stopping me from moving here either. If I were to find a job here I'd have nothing keeping me back. I'd seriously miss my family and friends but that's all there is. I'm done with school but I'd like to go to grad. School, but who knows; there's a good chance that I could go to school here. I'd like to get my masters from NYU but it's not a must.

I don't feel like New Jersey will be my permanent home base. I don't mean I don't love it, because I do, it's just not where my whole life is going to play out. Since I've been here I've been writing more - this may or may not have something to do with being here. Maybe I'd be more active right now no matter where I am, but it feels good to be here. Everything is novel, I guess that could ware off but so far I like it.

I can't even believe I wrote that music review last night. I'm waiting a bit before editing it, I like a little distance. Even when I was walking back to the hotel I was writing it in my head. Something seems to have clicked in my brain now, writing seems less painful and scary. I don't know what it is but I love it. I could see myself living here, working here (not sure where) and even owning my own small business. I feel like I'd need to do that if I lived here. It's really weird because I'm traveling alone and yet I feel completely comfortable and at home. I hope I'm not exaggerating my feelings and just having a fleeting whim. Cause I like how this feels. I think I've felt it before about other things - but I don't know if it's ever lasted.

I really need to come back here again with a friend and see what Athens is like then. Plus, I'll only be here for one weekend night - maybe there are no good dance places. I'm such an ass. But I'd really miss dancing if there was none.