Sometimes I think maybe I've met too many good people.
I've always been a somewhat hesitant misanthrope. On paper, the human race is just a big fucking mess, isn't it? One gigantic, untrustworthy fleshy mass of psychosis with a behavioral ineptitude that would rival any rabid pack of hyenas. To quote one of my favorite Mr. Show skits, "What a collection of assholes."
A small part of me has always relished the though of disappearing. Just cashing in my chips and going off to some beach or some island somewhere. I think about the dust-bowlers or guys like Woody Guthrie, hopping trains whenever things got too familiar. Or I'll wonder what it was like for the first settlers in this country to fill a wagon with everything they could fit and wander out into a wilderness like we'll never be able to comprehend.
Sometimes I wonder if I could pull off something like that, but then I remember all those goddamned good people who I've befriended over the years and know I could never do it. That's right, my friends and family are standing in the way of my perfect hobo's life.
After a lot of stressful inner debate, I've made the decision to leave Chicago at the end of next month. The details aren't all that important... I'm just looking to start a career in nursing (see what I mean about the hesitant misanthrope?) and this town isn't the cheapest place to get it done. I've only been here for about two and a half years, but I've fallen in love with this city and it's going to be hard to leave. I still haven't gotten over leaving the East Coast, my family and friends behind, and now I get to do it all over again.
I'm posting only one song tonight, and it's one that is always at the top of my mind when it comes time to say goodbye to the people I love:
"I Was Young When I Left Home" by BOB DYLAN
Back when I lived in Philadelphia and Delaware, I played a show every few months at the coffeeshop where I worked. If it hadn't been for the constant pushing of my friend James out there, I probably never would have bothered breaking out my guitar. (I certainly haven't done it here in Chicago. Overstimulation's a bitch.) Anyway, I played this song once or twice, but I remember playing it for my last show in town before I moved. As I practiced for the week or two before the show, the lyrics got me to the point where I couldn't play it without crying.
"It was just the other day,
I was bringing home my pay
when I met an old friend I used to know.
Said your mother's dead and gone,
baby sister's all gone wrong
and your daddy needs you home right away.
Not a shirt on my back,
not a penny on my name.
But I can't go home thisaway.
Thisaway, lord lord lord.
And I can't go home thisaway."
Bob recorded that in a hotel room on December 22, 1962, and the above two verses do a better job of explaining my dilemma more than my preceeding six paragraphs. I want to live everywhere and see everything, and there's a price to pay for that in the form of that enormous lack I will have in my heart when I think about my nephews, my parents... and dammit, James. I miss bowling with my brother. I'll miss sitting in my apartment with my roommates and listening to all of this music that means so much to us.
I wish I could stay. There's just too many good people out there.