For eight years I have called New York City Home and I really do mean home. I have lived so many different lives, known so many different people, and in many respects have been many different people myself. The actor, the singer, the intern, the manager, the bartender, the director, the boyfriend, the asshole, the musician, the yes sir, the boss, the student, the funny man, the mess, the best. I received my schooling in the ways of the world in the one city where the entire world is located. I loved and hated every second. Something was missing. Something has always been missing. Something unexplainable. Something out there...
I found different parties, hobbies, jobs, girls and performances to temporarily fill that void but none of them stuck. Every night would end with the same lost feeling, though the location and company often switched. Every night with that same void that has been there since I can remember. It's a part of me, taking the place of the other part that is missing. The part I am still hoping to find. In some ways it may boil down to the eternal "Who am I?" Cliche. But Cliches are cliches for a reason. When every supposed night of your life turns out exactly the same, hungover in one way or another, year after year, then you begin to question if what you are doing is sane. I was not.
In New York You really can be whoever you want. No matter how silly or distant you may feel one day there is comfort in knowing the next person you walk past is equally if not more so confused and messed up. OR, more than likely, wearing roller blades and dressed like a vampire. And no one gives a second glance. So go ahead, pick your nose or your wedgie or swear out loud because whoever notices has seen something much more calmly bizarre already on they're way to work that day. For all of my complaints, my voids, I can only ever say I was living the dream. I have experienced every 5 Star and no star restaurant, I've hung with the subtly famous, bought Governers a beer, movie premiers, private parties, heart to heart talks with the homeless. I've crashed in to so many different lives and parties and hearts. I have had the honor to grace hundreds of stages, venues and halls. I have conquered roles and failed epicly in the public eye with reviews in the Times and others to prove it. I have experienced. I have lived.
It's the Chaos that kept me in New York for so long. My blessing and curse is the ability to live in the moment, drop whatever preconceived plan I think I may have had and just say "Yes" to the very next adventure.
"Mark, want to go to a lesbian glitter party?"
"Mark, want to take a week off from work and reconnect with your estranged, rich uncle who wants to put you up in the Pierre hotel and party like a rockstar?"
"Mark, want to drive to Canada?"
The experiences are numerous because all you ever have to do is Say "Yes". And Yes always, always leads somewhere. When Every night is potentially the biggest, craziest night of your life you would be a fool to say No. With so many friends in both the performing arts and Bar business amongst other lively professions, there is always a party to go somewhere. You either feel guilty for not going or guilty the next day FOR going. I was sick of living in that guilt. I will recount my full time in NYC soon, but I still need to process it all.
Then one night in November, I got the call. I was laying in bed restless at 4 am, staying in and trying to be a good boy. The tenor of ambulances, traffic, voices on the stoop and all of the other wonderful potpourri of continuous metallic ramble that makeup the NYC soundtrack were living in the back of my head. Why do we put up with it? My cell vibrated. It was A.J. Calling from L.A. He is my best friend from Fordham University that I never see since he moved out to Cali 3 years ago to attend USC grad for film. For the past year A.J. Has been prepping for his thesis film, a documentary about A 4,000 mile walk across America from L.A. To Boston and interviewing people about Same Sex marriage. I had a sneaking feeling in my gut for a long time that I would somehow be involved. After the normal "Hi, how are things, what's up, how's the weather etc..." the tone in A.J.s voice changed and the conversation went a little something like this:
AJ - Mark, I really need someone to drive the supply car. Feb 1st is getting closer and closer and I can't imagine doing this without you. Your my best friend and I need you.
Me - well...I mean I'm flattered. Of course I would love to but...I don't know. Things are picking up here, and...Let me get my shit in order and see if this is even possible. I'd have to quit my job, my new comedy show, my friends, my apartment...let me call you back Friday.
AJ - Ok. No pressure. I just would love you to be here.
I hung up the phone, stared out my 7th story Columbia dorm RA suite I was illegally subletting and took in my life, all of the excuses I had just lifted. A weight fell fro, my shoulders and a smile came across my face. I called back 5 minutes later and simply said the only thing I Knew how to say any more...