My latest lease renewal has arrived. For the privilege of dwelling in this humble roach trap, my rent is due to increase $24 or $47 dollars per month, dependent upon a one- or two-year term – not unreasonable or undoable, right? But this year, my package came with a bonus document bearing the warm and fuzzy title of “Tenant Information Sheet.” It seems that there’s a “legal rent,” an amount landlords are entitled to demand, and a “preferential rent,” which is what I have been paying lo these seven years, and which amounts to about $1500 less per month. According to my handy Sheet, the good folks at Pinnacle Management (you can Google their various lawsuits) wish to Inform me that at my next renewal – in one or two years – the rent will revert to the legal ransom, thus precluding my occupation of this hellhole (though I call it home). And so I made a decision.
If by that time I am still at such a point in my – career isn’t exactly the word – that I
1) can’t afford this hovel, or
2) can’t find a way to trade up to a big boy apartment,
then I’m done. My plan is to alert the Universe that I have indeed gotten the message: I’m not allowed to be successful at what I do, thanks a lot, see-ya-later-bye. I know when I’m not wanted: I stick around anyway, but the time is coming to reevaluate that strategy. This isn’t some please-beg-me-to-stay cry for help; it’s a last-ditch attempt to preserve what little self-respect I have left after banging my head against countless walls for the past 30 years. In two years I’ll be 51 – and I won’t look it, but I’ll know. I’m not sure what I’ll do once I leave Trustfundtown, but as my skills are all musically oriented, look for me at WalMart. (Hey, I don’t agree with their practices either, but I’ve got cats to feed.)
And then last night happened. My friend Telly Leung had a show at 54 Below here in Manhattan, to celebrate the release of his new CD. The space is just perfect (congrats to Phil Geoffrey Bond et al.), and Telly is over-the-top talented and personable – his full-length set felt like it was over in about 25 minutes, and that never happens. I got to see some of my Godspell kids: the ubiquitous Lindsay Mendez, who is looking up the word ubiquitous as we speak; Uzo Aduba, who is filming (?) a new series coming your way this spring; Julia Mattison, whose holiday CD is almost here, and who writes songs more often than most people blink; and George Salazar, who took our order (not really). After the show, a few different people asked me if the rumors they’ve been hearing about Hurricane are true (no comment!), two other folks approached me about writing opportunities, I ran into a hardcore Gashole! fan, and caught up with a bunch of other working, showbiz types I’ve met along the way. (Lindsay, in the meanwhile, was accosted by a middle-aged superfan who not only advised her not to give up [genius], but also informed her that he was once the travel agent for Chita Rivera “and also Judy Blume and Earth, Wind & Fire.” Together at last on the concert stage.)
It was a much-needed and appreciated reminder that I am no longer the outsider-looking-in I still feel that I am sometimes. Of course, after an hour’s journey northward on the Vodka Breath Local (you may call it the A train), my Tenant Information Sheet was still waiting for me on the kitchen table, where I keep all my important documentation. So my promise (threat? snit?) to the Universe still stands.
It’s gonna be an interesting two years.