Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Another “not in New York anymore” moment

I had an “I’m not in New York anymore” experience yesterday. I’m selling a bunch of stuff on eBay to try to finance a new laptop and to free up some space in my apartment. I’m also at the point where I care a lot less about collecting stuff, and would rather just have the stuff I need, and cash in the bank. So there are a lot of big-ticket items on there, and I’m amazed at how much profit there is in selling collectible coins and money. If I knew this earlier, I would have carefully invested a ton more in silver proof sets and gold bullion coins.

(And if you’re interested, I’m not hard to find on eBay. But please don’t fuck with my auctions. The last thing I need is someone running up the price on something so I get to pay all of my fees in duplicate.)

Anyway, my first auction ended on Monday, so I boxed it up, and prepared myself for the dreaded trip to the post office. See, in New York, the PO is slightly less comfortable than an unlicensed proctologist with rusty equipment. Rude staff, long lines, maybe one or two people per hundred customers, small lobbies, bulletproof glass, bad hours, and no convenient locations whatsoever. But now, I loaded up the package in the car (instead of hauling it on the subway), then found the place a few blocks away. It had a huge parking lot and plenty of open spaces. The inside was giant, and had separate stores for supplies, passports, and even a section for stamp collectors. Through some scheduling fuckup, I arrived right at noon, and expected a horrorshow. There was nobody waiting, and four clerks available. The guy that helped me was really nice, made small talk, and wasn’t behind two feet of solid lexan with a little tank turret slit. I was out in two minutes. Jesus, is this what life is like in the rest of the country?

Also last night, I got this really strong weather deja-vu. It was really hot all day, I think it even broke 100. We went out to Safeway after dinner last night, and the weather had this really eerie resemblance to many of the nights in 1992 I described in Summer Rain. The still air of the day broke down from the temp and gave the atmosphere this charged, energetic quality. I always thought this was because I endured the hundred-degree heat with no AC, and when it dropped at night, it felt good. But I spend all of my time in the AC now, so it must be more of a heat/humidity thing. I think in New York, this never happened, because the whole place is a concrete radiator, and the winds are broken up by the buildings, and you never have that rapid of weather change on a regular basis. But here, and in Bloomington, the air has that really specific taste to it, and that brought me back.

I almost wanted to re-read SR last night, but then one of two things will happen: I will think the writing is horrible and cringe-worthy and get all depresso about it, or I will suddenly want to write a similar book but maybe in Seattle or maybe in Elkhart or whatever, and I’ve vowed that I can’t go back to writing that kind of stuff. I mean, I’m not writing anything else these days, but if I was, it would need to be more like Rumored.

I’m currently reading the Anthony Kiedis bio, Scar Tissue. It’s not bad. He had a pretty weird life starting out – his mom was a hippie, his dad was a drug dealer, he got into some after-school specials as a child actor, his dad used to hang out with Sonny Bono, a really weird survey of events. I’m just to the point where the band starts, so we’ll see how it continues.

I am walking again, and off steroids, so that’s good. I won’t be running any marathons any time soon, but I hope to start taking some walks to get my legs back to normal (or better). I also, for whatever reason, want to learn how to canoe or kayak. I’ve canoed before, but not in a long while. I don’t know about the kayak – it sounds okay, except for the flipping upside down part, which would freak me out. But there are some very cool lakes around here, and if I could find a place that I could give them $20, and then paddle around in the middle of nowhere, and maybe take a camera with me, I think that would be a good waste of time and money. Another thing I wish I could do is cross-country ski, but I don’t know how hard it is, or if it would fuck up my ankles or knees. Also I don’t know how much balance it requires, because I’m damn lucky I can walk upright, let alone do anything that requires coordination.

Okay, time for dinner.