Twisting My Stomach Into Knots

January 15th, 2007

“This is about who I am, what I’m worth, and what it all means,” I say.

“Oh,” she replies. “Is that all?”

I’m looking out the window of the 2, somewhere between Bergen and 79th Streets. Abbi and I have just spent a drizzly afternoon touring Brooklyn neighborhoods with my buddy Ron Lieber. A fifteen year resident, he’s done a bang up job offering historical and economic insight into Dumbo, Vinegar Hill, Prospect Heights, and Green Point. But as we head back to Manhattan, it all blends together in a sea of cobblestone streets and brownstone stoops.

I feel overwhelmed.

Not surprisingly, looking for an apartment with which to merge my life with Abbi’s pushes all sorts of buttons. On the surface, it’s a discussion of practical realities. How much? What neighborhood? How many bedrooms? But underneath it all, the process feels like a referendum on my future. The most nagging, anxiety provoking question of all, then, is whether or not I’ll do anything at all that matters before I die. What does that have to do with where I live or with whom?

Maybe nothing.

I have the kind of mind, though, that races off into all sorts of directions, extrapolating every possible outcome, and worrying every detail. And right now, at 35-years-old, I worry that my most creative moments are behind me. Which is a problem, because I haven’t done anything yet. I want to record a great album — a really, really, really great, cohesive, ambitious album. I want to release a great documentary — a really, really, really great, moving, deep, excellent documentary. And I want to write a great memoir — a really, really, really great, sad, sweet, inspiring memoir.

But I’m running out of time.

What happens when I come home from work and I have to cook dinner for my wife? How can I spend my weekends shooting an independent film when the apartment needs a fresh coat of paint? And what about when kids come along?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m looking forward to growing, sharing my life, and generally de-emphasizing me. But how does being creative — the solitary, individual act — work when the dishwasher’s full?

Abbi is patient. She listens to me prattle on until I run out of words, then squeezes my hand. I stare out the window of the 2 as the dimly lit, wire strewn underbelly of the city whizzes past.

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