Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Move

Yesterday I broke out my well-honed trundling skills again.  I don't know why I do this to myself.  I hate moving.  I probably could have afforded movers this time.   But I did it myself anyway, in the interest of getting it done immediately so I can focus on my work as soon as possible.  (Well, 83% myself; A hundred hugs to my friend Charlie, who helped me load up the van on trip #1!)  Even though I had the van for ten hours, and even though I was making a series of fifteen- and thirty-minute drives, I still had to call to extend my rental, so in the end I had the thing from 10 am to 11:30 pm, barely stopping to eat.  And today my body is achy all over and in a permanently clenched posture. 

I did it in three trips: Trip #1 was out to Clinton Hill in Brooklyn to pick up my stuff that had been in storage since the end of March.  Some of it turned out to be too moldy to salvage, but the DVDs and most of the boardgames are all right.  (I hadn't played Trumpet in years anyway.)  Haven't checked the TV yet.  I assume it works, but I can tell you one thing: it ain't pretty no more.  I might have to retouch its scar-scraped edges with a bit of nail polish.  Do they make Large Appliance Gray?  (The big surprise in Brooklyn: I got there at 11:30 and discovered that there was no parking, and cars were two deep on one side of the street for street cleaning.  Oh, right, I thought; it's crazy shit like that that's why I got rid of my car in the first place.   That cost me an hour of bafflement and redeployment right there.)  

Trip #2 was to Ikea.  It's an odd thing: since I've been a professional houseguest for years now--I left all my little amenities, like plates and forks and such, back in Tallahassee and have had well-heeled roommates and community cookware ever since--I actually had a chance to rebuild everything from the ground up.  I still don't have a cooking knife (I want a good one), no plates (didn't like Ikea's options) and no salt and pepper shakers (I want something fun)...but everything else is pretty well taken care of, and I can even entertain up to five other people.  Probably you'll all have to stand, though, and sign a release promising to engage in loud conversation any time someone steps into the bathroom. 

The worst part of that foray was when I got back to my place and there was, for the only time all day, no place to park nearby, and I was alone.  I was obliged to drag my purchases, one by one, across the concrete for a block and a half.  Most survived okay, but my wardrobe was tall and weighed 76 pounds, and the pressure on the cardboard box was just too great.  I hurled an old shirt underneath; I dragged newspapers along; nothing survived the shredding, including my wardrobe.  In the end, the entire box simply shattered a few steps from my doorway, and I wound up bringing the fucking thing in in piece by piece, leaving the pile of shrapnel outside on the sidewalk.  I doubt anything's missing, though, unless one of my new neighbors is a disposable-Allen-wrench fancier.

Trip #3 was to Jersey City, where my exercise bike has been cooling its odometer since the end of April or so.  The surprise there was simple: I got lost trying to get to Holland Tunnel, and somehow managed to travel down West Broadway until it flipped as I crossed an intersection and turned into a one-way street charging straight at me.  (Interesting fact: you can get ticketed for talking on your cell phone while driving in New York City.  Which means that if there's no place to park, you actually have to travel quite some time before you can find a place to pull over and call your friend to say "There's no place to park."  Ditto if you get lost.  Since I got lost about three times, I lost precious minutes on my meter just from finagling a way to call someone with Mapquest.)  

Still needed: a window air-conditioning unit.  Until then I won't really feel comfortable in my new place.  Does anyone know how people buy these things without breaking their backs?  Do air conditioning places deliver?  Or are they lighter than they look?  (I'm thinking of investing in a dolly and some bungee cord.  But of course, then comes the problem of storage...)

I will say this, though.  As beaten and smashed as I feel today, as horrified as I know I'm going to be when I survey the strewn wreckage (I'm still at Tracy's for the moment), there's one spot of hope: the first piece of mail arrived in my name at the apartment, and it turns out to be a book I ordered--The Most of S.J. Perelman, a classic collection by my favorite humorist.  There could not be a happier omen.  



Blogger Grant Barrett said...

Yep, you can get an air conditioner delivered. We ordered ours from PC Richard. We ordered this little Frigidaire, which is inexpensive, energy efficient, pretty quiet and sufficient to cool a small apartment.

8/05/2008 10:47 AM  
Anonymous The Dating Guru said...

Yikes, I hope you recover from the move soon! I bought my A/C from PC Richards. They charge you extra to deliver (and another fee to install), but believe me, it's worth it. You should feel free to treat yourself after all the work of moving yourself.

8/05/2008 12:35 PM  
Blogger Cowboy Dave Dickerson said...

P.C. Richards! Purveyors of fine air conditioning units! Try them today! :)

8/05/2008 10:09 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Go to the electronics/appliance store at 14th and Irving; buy unit; take taxi five blocks home!

8/07/2008 7:21 PM  
Blogger Briallen said...


No not Sarah Jessica. SIDNEY JOSEPH! yay!

8/09/2008 11:50 PM  

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