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photos by Lara Shipley

Back in the Swamp

September 3rd, 2002 · 1 Comment

Just when I’m starting to appreciate the charms of our nation’s fair capital, I go and do something silly like return to Manhattan. It’s only upon arriving after a while away that I realized — surprised, and then surprised to be surprised — how much five years there had made even NYC feel like home. Not, granted, a geese-carved-on-the-wooden-“bless-this-mess”-plaque sort of home, but home nevertheless. You may have noticed that sometimes, when a close friend moves away, you find you’d been engaged in a kind of cognitive division of labor — distributed human-computing. I think I may have been doing something similar with New York, letting the vitality produced by that many odd people packed so densely into a few square miles of concrete recharge me. Well, doubtless I’ll tap into D.C.s own ley-lines sooner or later, though it remains to be seen whether the current’s compatible. I’d even forgotten how it’s possible in Manhattan to fall in love approximately once every forty-five seconds, though I’m not sure whether that’s a feature or a bug. It is, after all, rather distracting.

Anyway, a long weekend well spent. I got to see scads of friends I hadn’t in a while, among them fellow-ex-Koch-fellow Rhys (whose felonious film has left him unable to return to the City of Angels), the inimitable Todd Seavey, and many of my NYU Debater Geek compatriots. I also got to catch up a bit with Doug Rushkoff, for whose wedding party I’d gone to town in the first place. I also met Doug’s new wife Barbara, who seems charming and buoyant — I predict a full-blown happily-ever-after denoument. Of course, Doug was fairly busy what with the guests and party and just-married business, and I was a bit worried I wouldn’t know anyone else. Fortunately, Dan, who I know originally from back in the days when “being online” meant you dialed into local BBSes on your 2400 Baud SupraModem, was there. Dan, bless his heart, is quite possibly the most insanely left-wing person I know, which is a nice sort of sorbet to clear the palate when one is typically surrounded by staunch conservatives and rabid free-marketeers (the latter including yours truly, of course). One-time NYU classmate Brooke also made a late appearance, and Dan introduced me to R.U. Sirius, whose seminal magazine Mondo 2000 had turned me and countless other young geeks on to the vision of a freewheeling, psychedelic, open future enabled by a hipster-steered Internet. Late at night, after a few drinks, I will cop to still secretly entertaining that vision, however much reality may seem to be insisting on a less exciting and more familiar trajectory.

Upon returning, by the way, I discovered my hit counter whirling like a one-armed bandit. I was a bit befuddled until I realized that blog deity Andrew Sullivan had favored me with a link — using the words “rising star” in the same sentence with my name, no less. That is, as a friend aptly put it, rather like hearing Andre Agassi say you’ve got a decent forehand — I’m ├â┬╝berflattered. Now I suppose I actually have to try and muster some content worthy of the link…

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