Cabin Porn

“I’ll go through life in first class or third,” said Noel Coward, “but never in second.”

Since moving back to NYC from my nomadic existence on the liberal coast and down under the shady pines of tropical trashiness I’ve taken several trips over the GW and up the Palisades to Bear Mountain, and more specifically the Bear Mountain Inn, a rustic 100-plus year old lodge built in the Adirondack-style that turn-of-the-century robber barons liked to claim for cool summer escapes when Park Avenue got a little too hot. I have a few snaps of me as a kid playing in the snow in front of the Bear Mountain Inn. We used to visit in the winter and not the summer, where the Caddy headed in the other direction towards East Long Island. The Inn combines my three favorite architectural elements: stone, glass, and wood; all that’s needed for a cozy-with-a-view lifetime of authenticity.  Nomadic life can take its toll, constantly surrounded by temporary white and dry walls owned by someone else. This is where I complain that I never built my own cabin on the Hudson to no sympathy. It’s OK. I don’t deserve sympathy for all I haven’t done. We’d be here all day.

As I walked through the no-stick snow falling on 7th Avenue yesterday I saw several homeless people, people I kind of assumed were young men with their faces covered by hoodies sitting motionless on the pavement as the fabulous designer scarfs of Chelsea boys pranced past with precision from coffee date to coffee date, all eyes forward. How do I feel about people who are homeless? I’m kind of homeless myself, meaning I have no real home, but nonetheless the temporary is still the tangible, so I’m not complaing about life not being all I ever wanted, speaking in abstracts, just saying I know what it feels like to be alone in the world with no one to come looking for me if I was the one sitting on the cold sidewalk with a cardboard sign. Boo-hoo, who cares, fuck off, whatever… How do I feel about people who are homeless? I have sympathy yet no way to alleviate the reason why they are in the predicament they are. I have a friend who gets upset when I give people who are homeless $20 bills. “They only have themselves to blame,” he says although I don’t think he really means it, the words are just deflections of guilt, etc. It’s the general feeling of staying in one’s own lane on life’s freeway of tolls and treacherous exits. Although I may appear to ride the right shoulder of anger, hostility, nihilism, and rage mixed with apathy, ridicule, and disgust, I do notice I am one of the few who looks up or down and not forward. I see more than I notice. I practice as much kindness as I possibly can and internalize as much unkindness as my intestinal fortitude allows because, and maybe I’m in the minority on this, but all that’s good or bad with me is only mine to carry, I only have myself to blame. I suppose this realization comes with maturity. Slowly I turned into a new age Buddhist and didn’t even realize it. But I won’t pray for people who are homeless. I don’t believe in prayer for others, it’s rather insulting, “mighty white of you” as some would say. Prayer only works for those who pray for themselves. That sounds selfish but in reality its the least selfish thing one can do; like putting on the falling oxygen mask during a transcontinental free fall before helping others with theirs. To thy own self be true and the rest will follow. I still feel a twinge of sadness for those who have no home, whether figuratively or literally. Is there anything I can do about it?

Right, back to #cabinporn, my word dujour, brought to you by The Bear Mountain Inn and L.L. Bean and Land Rover Defender and whatever color flannel your lumbersexual shirt is this morning. It’s definitely a northeast thing, no shade to Lake Tahoe or anything, but the smell of a New York country fireplace is a blast of bliss I’ve only experienced whilst looking up and down my home state. As much as I love my bohemian status, my native NYC pride, my cosmopolitanism and appreciation of city grit, I do love the country as much as the town. It’s me being the optimist with both boots in both worlds, the LOVER of options, the quintessential stalwart northeastern preservationist of old school substance. Thanks, no need for applause, it’s ingrained, I don’t have to work for it. Simplicity, gotta love it.

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