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Notes From The Flip Side: 07.07.2002

Every Independence Day since X's "See How We Are" came out, I've listened to "4th Of July." That's 15 years of listening to that song. And with every year, I'm a little bit older and bring a little more to the song and it in turn resonates with me more strongly.

Back in 1997, I was living in a one-bedroom apartment in what is now a fairly nice part of town ... but only because it's been gentrified in the past five years. Back then, the convenience store around the corner might as well have been a police dispatch center. On July 4th, I stepped outside, sat down on the steps, drank some coffee and smoked my cigarettes while it played. I heard it through the screen door while a kid named Alejandro played soccer on the sidewalk below.

In 1998, I was living in a shitty two-bedroom apartment with a cat that I didn't particularly care for and a girl who I thought loved me. I was mistaken, of course, but it was a learning experience. And I can still remember sitting on the balcony, looking across the way at a building that looked exactly the same - the same soul-sucking pastel colors, the same ugly wrought iron balcony railing, the same semblance of niceness in a complex with about 200 units in it - and hearing John Doe sing, "We gave up trying so long ago."

From 1999 to 2001, I moved back south, into the neighborhood where I felt comfortable. I was living in a two-bedroom place - usually by myself but periodically friends were between places for a month or two and I always had room - and I spent most of those years smoking and drinking coffee too.

Now it's 2002. I'm living with my girlfriend. I love her to pieces. I bought a house. There's a dog sleeping on the bed behind me. My girlfriend is at work and I'm writing. And this year, "4th Of July" carries still more meaning for me in its air of desperation - the company that I helped start laid me off on Tuesday. For the first time in my life, I've been laid off. For the first time in 12 years, I'm not working. And I hate it.

Everything is uncertain and up in the air right now - I know where I am but I don't know where I'll be in six months. I suppose I might have cared a few months ago when times were good. I suppose I might have cared when I wasn't considering things that seemed unthinkable only a week ago, but now ...

Now I'm looking at my life. At where I've been. And where it got me. And I'm wondering what to do next.

Now Playing:

X. tiltWheel. Midnight Oil. Fugazi. Dillinger Four. Dillinger Four. And Dillinger Four.

Just Finished:

David Halberstam, "Summer Of '49"; Roger Kahn, "The Boys Of Summer"

Now Reading:

Steven Heller, "The Graphic Design Reader" and "Graphic Design History" (edited with Georgette Ballance); Rick Poynor, "Obey The Giant"; DK Holland, ed., "Design Issues"; Gunnar Swanson, ed., "Graphic Design And Reading"; Italo Calvino, "t zero"; Greil Marcus, "The Old, Weird America"; Naomi Klein, "No Logo"

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008