Every so often, I develop a raging desire to go off the grid. Not the buy-fifty-acres-and-a-yurt kind of off the grid. And certainly not the Scott and Helen Nearing self-sufficiency off the grid. Heck, my off the grid requires electricity!
What I'm getting at is a kind of escape from society. From the pressures, the expectations. From the dread of Monday mornings. Most folks "get away" by traveling abroad, taking cruises, visiting remote sites, getting "back to nature".
I want an apartment on the 2nd floor of an old building in the middle of the arts district of a small East Coast city. Hardwood floors. High ceilings. No furniture...except for a single overstuffed chair facing the stereo that's set up a few feet from the window seat. It's an old tube amp, a turntable, and speakers. Nothing fancy.
Now...you think that I'm going to put Donald Fagen's Morph the Cat on that platter. No, I need music that filters the outside world without demanding too much of my overtaxed brain. Eno's Ambient: Music for Airports, Mickey Hart's Music to be Born By, maybe even some of Keith Jarrett's improvised piano. Just enough internal support to be therapeutic. The contours of the music, coupled with the smart hustle of the community (easily glimpsed from my window), will wrap me in a reassuring cocoon of art.
Except, of course, that I won't be able to sit there forever. In a more clear-headed state, my curiosity at the comings and goings at the coffee shop across the way will get the better of me. That group of scruffy, panhandling neo-hippies...what's up with them? Why was that woman holding her head in her hands in that swanky restaurant? Hmmm...maybe opening my curtains was a mistake. The idea of this serene and erudite neighborhood is turning out to have a dark side. So much for comfort.