I am currently seated in my kitchen, my life spread out before me in a carefully arranged mess on the table which resides beneath it all. My computer is sliced between two screens; my typewriter sits waiting beside them; my Mackie Monitors as such. There is a plant I only need to water once in awhile huddled on the far side, near the wall, so as to catch whatever sunlight comes in through the window these days. I am surrounded on two sides by art, and that’s the way I like it.
I suppose I should offer you details on me and myself and who I am and who I am in relation to you, so I’ll come right out and tell you that I am a man in my 20s who is wearing an outfit consisting of about 80% Thrift Store garments. The remaining items – my hat and my shoes – were purchased via the internet. My underwear – although I shouldn’t have to say it, but I will because I don’t want you to think I buy them from secondhand stores…I don’t – I got from Target. And don’t say it like, “Tarjey” because ugh.
I like my style. I like it because it suits me. I like it because, though I have a lot of clothes, I don’t often pay more than a couple dollars apiece.
I will forgo the complete back story, but needless to say, these three years I’ve spent in Cleveland have been a time of rebirth; of serendipitous currents; of both despicable and divine mindsets; and through it all, a torrid creative outburst I didn’t know I had in me. But what has been such a stability has been the lifestyle I’ve adopted. And, as an artist, lifestyle is of utmost importance, from the friends you keep to the clothes you wear. It all points to comfort. Cleveland, you are the most comfortable city I’ve ever experienced, in all my time experiencing. I can spent $100 a month on food if I want and eat pretty well. I can buy a pack of cigarettes and get change from a 10. I can live here in my house; I can live in it like a home. I can go to Unique Thrift every Monday and continue to dress myself in garb that projects myself off the mirror back to myself.
But, actually, I can’t do that anymore. Unique has closed. There may be other places to do the same, but nothing like Unique. It’s odd to think about how much a store has meant to me these past three years. I mean, I formed no relationships with the employees, I didn’t really talk to or even notice more than half of the people who were there at any given moment, and I spent less than 10 minutes there per visit. The only thing it has done for me is populate my wardrobe. But for the pure and simple reason that it was in my neighborhood; that it was a beacon of sorts to the low-income population who are now or will soon be priced out of their houses; their homes. Whereas Me? I’m saying another goodbye to a city I’ve lived in. And I’ve never lived longer anywhere than I have here. Parts of six years. Three in a row until right now. Oh, Cleveland. I really do love you. I do.
With Unique closing its doors, there arises an idea in my head about why things are. Where do patterns leach onto? What is the motive? How and why does a thing evolve, be it a neighborhood, a city, a people. Is it the human need for migration? I feel that need almost every day. Gotta be constantly moving through life, even if it’s just your mind running laps as you drift off to sleep. Places, too need an ebb and flow, I guess. Things can’t just stagnate, right? Gotta get some new shit in here.
Maybe the problem with gentrification isn’t it in and of itself. Maybe it’s that it gets so full of itself. I mean, hell I love expensive coffee and juice shops and bars. I have all of those things a stone’s throw from my front stoop right now. And in a way, I’m doing “comfortable” a disservice by leaving it so soon. But I think, just like the neighborhood, some things have to change sometimes. Even if it hurts. There will always be more secondhand stores around. Always. People need someplace to put their old shit so they can buy new shit. Always. I suppose, on some level, that’s what I’m doing by moving to New York. Cleveland is just too easy anymore. And maybe I’m just used to struggling and it has stopped feeling like living since Life has become so even-keeled. I need to feel more. So I’m moving to New York. Where there’s so much coming at you, it would be impossible not to feel its force. Gotta refuel. Gotta throttle high. Gotta test out my gears.
Gotta make room for some new shit.
Acquiring nothing I can’t take with me everywhere else.