"What Scene Do You Fall Under?"
I've never been much of a scenester. As a younger man I hung around with a pretty punk rock crowd, and later I lived within spitting distance during the great metastasis of hipsterdom in Brooklyn, but as often as I've stylistically appropriated elements of those (and other) cultures, I've never really felt like calling any of them home.
I wonder about this for a few reasons. I've been considering my relative lack of a peer group anywhere in California. LGD and the Redman are moving on up/out, to Portland and South America and various new forms of domesticity beyond. I say more power to them, and in a lot of ways it's possible that having them on hand as my crew was a contributing factor to my late psychosocial cocooning. Nothing like your old friends to make you feel comfortable. But the takeaway is that with them on the go, I'm going to have to find some new ways to spend my time.
Another prompt for this thinking is that the bounty of Facebook has been visited upon me in spades this season. In the past month it seems like there's a been a surge there outside the nerdy/poitico factions who heretofore were in the majority of my connects. I've discovered/been-discovered by old lovers, highschool and college crushes, and most interestingly a whole slew of my old fellow-artisans from the Experimental Theater Wing.
For, you see, this brings me to reminisce about those heady old days in 721 Broadway. Studio. It was a shining time; young and firey and flexible I was, making art pretty much all the time. Granted, ETW could itself be something of "a scene" -- though in keeping w/the above I shied away from that for the most part -- but it was also a real community, and the friendships that remained after college formed a foundation for, I think, the most positively connected phase of my life to-date.
Certainly there were all sorts of other folks from other places in the mix there, but studio was at the heart of things, much in the same way that a successful fraternity or sorority will set the tone and establish a natural center of gravity. The two to three years immediately following college are among my favorites in life so far, eking out a post-postmodern bohemian life in the midst of recession and terror, the whole world up for grabs. It was pretty fantastic.
But this isn't about nostalgia; it's about the future. If there's one thing I can predict for 2009, it's changes in my social habits, some welcome upheaval in existing routines. Internally I've been doing well over the past several months, growing up in my own way, but I still lack a peer group. Seems like the thing to do here is tackle that issue head-on.
It's a tough nut to crack. As an inveterate gap-straddler, I spend time in many different dimensions, none of which I can really go for completely. Genetically I'm predisposed to rootlessness: "at home" isn't a feeling with which I've much experience. I've got plenty of friends who I treasure, but no community of interest, of purpose. It rankles that there's nobody I really care to impress.
Perhaps part of the reason is that I don't have enough of said purpose in my heart to engender the camaraderie I crave. That would fit with the vaguely unfulfilled taste my ambition leaves in my mouth.
My biggest project over the past couple years has been my business, and I'm proud that it's successful, but I don't feel drawn to the world of other engineers or the community of other businesspeople, even on the hip Silicon Valley/Open Source tips. I enjoy being an entrepreneur, and I enjoy making things happen with code, and I have good friends who do these things very well, people whom I deeply admire, but I just don't see myself in those particular movies. My breakthrough role remains in the wind.
In the mean time I've got plenty of things to do, but there are a lot of empty spiritual calories in there, or at least an over-abundance of carbs. Am I ruining myself with doughnuts and cheap beer, or loading up for some new marathon? Time will tell. Until then I'll have to keep pushing forward sans-scene, muddling along my internet businessman political gadfly late-nite writer performance bachelor little scene, trying not to take myself so fucking seriously.