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Adrift in the Cosmos

“Home may be where the heart is but it’s no place to spend Wednesday afternoon.” ― Walker Percy

Roughly six months ago my wife Maria and I received a fateful knock upon the door. Sadly, it wasn’t a stately raven but merely our landlord, though she did come bearing portentious news.  Because she and her husband couldn’t figure out any other way to separate their baby from their dog, they were not going to renew our lease so that they could have our apartment in addition to theirs, thereby solving this critical issue.

Now if it were me I would have bought one of those wooden separators you put up between rooms but that’s just because I don’t have the extra cash to take on the expense of another entire apartment to solve a trivial problem.

At any rate, with that knock our fates were sealed.  After much discussion we decided that what we really should do was to buy a place. There are a lot of reasons why this is a good idea but as it turns out buying a place in New York is, well, hard. After much searching we found a co-op in our price range that Tom Hanks’ character in the Money Pit might have run screaming from. We put in an offer immediately and it was accepted but the buiding’s paperwork was not in order.  In fact it was out of order.

Because of this, getting the clear to close has taken a very long time. Our landlords extended the lease one month for us but then they really had to separate that baby and dog and so they gave us the boot in November and thus commenced our Time of Wandering.

We never knew how long to rent a place for because our broker kept saying we’d be approved at any time.  So with all of our stuff in storage we spent the last two months living in a series of Airbnbs throughout New York, a little bit in New Jersey and of course partly in Chicago. But life doesn’t stop just because your apartment has been converted into a single occupancy dog hotel.

The truly strange thing about the last two months is not that I’ve spent my days working at a series of different desks looking at pictures of different people I don’t know. The strange thing is that I’ve spent the majority of my time composing music for the first time since grad school.  I mean, I’ve always composed, just not usually as my primary activity.

But starting with that knock on the door it seems like the universe is giving me a swift kick in the pants.  In rapid succession my radio show was canceled, we lost our apartment to a terrier, I got hired to score a feature-length film, I was asked to compose music for no less than six upcoming concerts, people have been reaching out wanting to play other pieces of mine, and my dream project of adapting the film Le Jetée into an opera is moving forward.

It’s truly been dizzying and disconcerting but I’m rolling with it.  This week I’m in an apartment in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium which I know primarily as the place that George Costanza used to work.  I’m putting the finishing touches on the last reel of the film score and am about to walk over to the new place in Washington Heights to meet one of our contractors.  I think this new reality might just suit me.  I do wonder how the dog is doing though.

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