As we get closer to the end of the month, closer to the time where I’ll be taking all my toys and heading to a new sandbox, I start taking harder looks at the sandlot I’m currently in, and doing so more frequently. With each scan, the nagging question nags louder than the last time;

How did I get all this stuff?

Seriously, how?

I don’t even remember when I got half this stuff.

I sound like a bad revamp of a George Carlin routine. Don’t get me wrong, I love Carlin. Rest in peace, guy. You’re still in our heads and hearts.

But holy shitballs, Batman! THIS IS A LOT OF STUFF!

I keep procrastinating going through all my stuff, because it’s so overwhelming. I have watched commercials and looked longingly at print ads of homes with a minimalist feel. It’s always two thoughts that run my brain at the same time when I see them.

A) God, how I would love to have so little.

Orange) Those lying bastards. There’s a room in that house that has all their real crap jammed along the perimeters, I just know it!

And then the train does that ringing sound, and I’m pulled back into reality. I have to leave the train and do the mad dash to the office. When I work in Manhattan, I’m often in the Chelsea district, or at least neighbouring the area in Midtown.

After work, it’s a 50/50 chance I’ll be heading to The Strand.

The Strand.

That big, beautiful, spectacular beast of Biblio-Camelot. If we could marry stores, I’d be in a lifetime commitment with the brick bastard. We’re already sharing my money, so why not?

Sometimes, I get to meet up with my friend, Danielle, and we’ll go in together, soaking up wisdom and fiction. This is our happy place. Strand is the vortex from which we gain new insights. And more books. Also, t-shirts, bags, socks, magnets, candy, calendars, notebooks. The Strand is basically Target for smart people. Ooooh! Ice cube trays with the forms of octopi! Well, shit! I HAVE to get THAT!

Wait, where was I? Oh yeah! Stuff.

Danielle and I have walked through a lot of midtown, many times with the question escaping my lips, “how am I going to be able to leave here?”

“I don’t know, Carrie.”

About ten minutes have passed, and we’re likely in East Village. I ask the question again, and really I think I don’t even address it to her, but to the sky and/or myself. As if somehow clouds will form mouths, and I’ll suddenly hear the Voice of Reason. It would sound remarkably like Samuel L. Jackson.

“Shit, bitch, figure it out! You don’t have the wallet for New York. Find someplace the fuck else and regroup!”

I guess it doesn’t need to be mentioned the Voice of Reason is oftentimes cranky and impatient.

Still, on the fence I sit, and on the fence I fester. Until very recently where an opportunity presented itself, and a new city broke into my head like the Kool-Aid guy, but with less fanfare.

Providence, Rhode Island! Population — 178,042.

I think I see that many people just getting off the F train and heading into Penn Plaza. How can a city not even reach the 200,000 mark? That’s incredible.

I’m reassured by many friends that I’ll like it there a lot. The fact that there’s a library within a 10 minute range of the house is HUGE. Because priorities. The second most important thing was the guarantee of Dunkin’ Donuts.

You can see what truly matters in life where I’m concerned.

The biggest aspect to consider is that this is all brand new to me. For the longest time, my mentality was that there were two places in the world; New York City and Not New York City. I had no interest in the latter, but I was convinced I was going to live out my days in the former.

When I moved to Brooklyn 4+ years ago, I didn’t bother to get a NY driver’s licence. I decided on the state ID because I figured I’d never have to drive a car ever again.

Need a lift?

Never say never.

Now, I have to shed about 90% of my belongings (not counting for the hardback autographed, 10th Anniversary edition of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods— be real). I have to say buh-bye to the city I love, the city I will always love, unequivocally, but can’t afford.

I have to go through all my papers and deliberate on what to keep vs what to toss. I’d like to toss all of it, but I know that isn’t feasible.

Hey Siri, how do I schedule a home burglary?

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