Sunday, December 9, 2007

Recovering The Satellites

So here I am at 9:55 on a Monday night, at my traditional spot in the parking lot of a nondescript office complex at the southeast corner of Sojourn & Midway...

Nearly three years have passed since I originally posted those words... and once again, I'm sitting in the dark near Addison Airport. Except this time I'm in a different location, off Airport Parkway, to watch as planes come in on runway 33. Different circumstances, different car, and a different address to call home.

A different Counting Crows song is playing on the radio, too.
Gonna get back to basics
Guess I'll start it up again
I'm fallin' from the ceiling
You're falling from the sky now and then
So here I am, at 8:55 on a Sunday night, having just come from a wonderful dinner with my friends Monk and Quinn. It's been over five months since we last had dinner at a favorite joint, De Tapas. I've missed their conversation, their insight, their humor. Just as I've missed those things from all my friends I left behind in Dallas, since I moved back to Albuquerque in July.

It's not a move I regret... but since I came back into town the Friday before, I've been struck by an odd melancholy. And now, as I watch a Citation jet land long on 33, I can't shake the repercussions of a comment I made over earlier this evening over our dinner of gambas, cheese croquetas, and wine.
Maybe you were shot down in pieces
Maybe I slipped in between
But we were gonna be the wildest people they ever hoped to see
Just you and me
It's a feeling not easily put into words. Dallas still feels too familiar for me to feel any sense of nostalgia; after all, it hasn't been very long since I left. From the moment I passed 35E, though, driving down highway 380 en route to my friends' house in McKinney, an odd calm came over me. It's a calm I haven't felt in my time back in New Mexico.
So why'd you come home to this sleepless town
It's a lifetime commitment
Recovering the satellites
All anybody really wants to know is...
When you gonna come down
Five months back home in Albuquerque, I'm still grasping with the waves of memories and emotions that still come back to haunt me at the most inopportune times.

The pleasant, but slightly acrid mix of smog and pinon smoke in the air on a cool evening -- combined with the orange glow of the security lighting in the parking lot at my apartment complex. The familiar scene hit my senses like a bullet recently, for example, and transported back almost 10 years ago. To another apartment complex -- if you can call a Warren pay-by-the-week building that -- getting out of my Saturn, to spend an evening at my then-girlfriend's place.

Albuquerque is full of these memories for me... and while I've had good times there, certainly, when I think of growing up in and around the city after my teen years it's the depressing memories that come to mind first. Memories of selling cars, and a string of other shaky jobs... failed relationships... struggling to make the car payment, and rent... and battling depression.

Albuquerque feels like failure to me. It's as simple as that. It's not the city's fault... and, as I sometimes have to be reminded, all-in-all it's been pretty good to me. I learned to fly here; the first steps towards the path I'm now on, career-wise, started while I worked at a courier service here. That can't be ignored.

Though try as I might, I can't think of anyone I know who's ever been truly successful there. I know those people are out there, but I don't know them. People make their fortunes elsewhere, then come back to NM. And while it's not a perception firmly grounded in reality, I also feel that for me to finally make something of myself, I had to leave, too.
Your mother recognizes all your desperate displays
And she watches as her baby drifts violently away
'Til he sees himself in telescopes
Do you see yourself in me?
Oh, and we're such crazy babies, little monkey
God, we're so fucked up, you and me
"Dallas feels like success," I told Monk and Quinn at dinner. "Sure it's hollow, it's superficial, and built on a sea of maxed-out credit. But when I used to drive down the DNT, or sit watching planes at Addison... I felt successful, too.
"It's all about perception, I know... but I can't shake the feeling when I'm in Albuquerque, the whole city is just waiting for me to fall on my ass."
So why'd you come home to this faithless town
Where we make a lifetime commitment
To recovering the satellites
And all anybody really wants to know is...
When are you gonna come down
I came back to Albuquerque for my health, and for my family. I don't regret the decision. I love being just 30 minutes away from my parents and Abby, and seeing the mountains outside my living room window. I do feel physically healthier in Albuquerque, too -- thinner and drier air, a lot less smog.

But all my friends -- my closest friends -- are in Dallas. I only have a handful in Albuquerque... and I've avoided seeing them. I know that's wrong. One, I haven't visited in the time since I came back; the other, I talk with often on the phone, but we haven't gotten together for a drink in months.

She sees shooting stars and comet tails
She's got heaven in her eyes
She says I don't need to be an angel
But I'm nothing if I'm not this high
But we only stay in orbit
For a moment of time
And then you're everybody's satellite
I wish that you were mine
And then there's Ana. I know at least some of my animosity towards Albuquerque, and New Mexico as a whole, has to come from there. But it's more than that... a symptom and not the actual illness. I remember asking myself when we were going out, and things started getting serious... Would I be happy living in New Mexico, in Las Cruces even, with her and her kids? Could I ever settle down here?

And I remember my answer, which came quickly and I kept to myself. No.

Which is probably why... although I do miss her, and not having her in my life still stings... I haven't felt truly sad about the relationship with Ana coming to an end. It would have, anyway, so it's probably best it was sooner instead of later. It probably also explains how and why I ended it. I don't feel good admitting that to myself, but there it is.
So why'd you come home to this angel town
It's a lifetime decision
Recovering the satellites
And all everybody really knows for sure...
Is that you're gonna come down
That you're gonna come down
As I write this now, I'm back in Albuquerque... one week after I started writing this missive in Dallas. There's a light brush of snow on the Sandias, and a definite chill in the air. We're supposed to get more snow this week, just in time for an appointment at Eclipse Monday morning and a follow-up CT scan Tuesday.

For the next year, at least, and likely one after that, I've decided to call Albuquerque my home. I made the decision myself, because with everything going on vis a vis the medical situation, it made sense to be home. And so far, it's proven to be a good decision.

But I can't shake the difference in feelings I experience, between here and Dallas. Maybe one day I'll make sense of that.

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