There’s a whole city downtown we’ve been meaning to check out. It sounds cool. Bars, clubs, art galleries, several eras of architecture set in stone and glass. It seems exciting, to think of the lives bustling up and down elevators, and in and out of boutiques. Eating $100 plates of steak and whatever that dessert is they use a blowtorch for. There’s entire sub-cultures there, lost kids reading poetry and obscure guitarists at open-mic nights. I’ve heard about dub-step and the venues they pack four nights a week. There’s a popular jazz club open till 6am. And an all-night diner where the drunks and the burned with the glazed-over faces sit half-asleep waiting for something greasy to eat, and then just looking at their plates before leaving. We could be living down there with cafes right across the street, walk over in the mornings or the afternoon late at night to meet some stranger who reads Camus as much as I do. We could run ourselves up and down city blocks every weekend and never see the same thing twice. We could run those same blocks any Tuesday night and have just as much fun seeing those same things we’ll never see twice because light never touches anything in quite the same way — that’s just physics. We can meet all our new friends on any street corner any time and visit apartments till we find molly to buy. We can stay up late till long after the sun’s rise and just talk, just talk. Lay in the grass in the park and just talk and just know what the other is feeling and thinking and stand up at the same time without a word between us and decide to try the diner for breakfast. We can stroll the waterfront and sit beneath the 5th Street bridge to watch the people run by and eventually fall asleep at a friend’s near Goodale. We can fuck like we used to when life felt eternal and death was a distant age that scared the shit out of us. We can dance at the festivals again. We can leave the city behind every summer and watch the hunters take down mallards till we hear the far-off ocean call our name, and we go and find a new friend to give us a ride. We can be scared again. We can be scared to death that life will pass us by.
[Mick Hugh is the creator of Mick’s Neon Fog. And an all-around bad ass.]