I currently sit in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee on a vacation day I had to take or I’d forfeit at the end of this year, 2008. There are two opportunities here at the Art Bar at the corner of Burleigh & Fratney: one, a two for one special that I will definitely be partaking of shortly, and second; a magnetic board of envelopes and letters that you can personally fill out and the bar will mail to you one year from now. Each letter is started with “Dear Me,”. I came here to write but have been sipping on a latte and surfing the web instead but I decided to get a bit nostalgic about my year and write my letter to myself here instead.
Dear Me, a year ago you were still that guy that you introduced yourself as “I just moved to Milwaukee” and it seemed to have a lot of short term clout. Well one year later you can’t use that line anymore but you have learned more about your city than those who have lived here their entire lives. You can navigate, suggest, and appreciate what a unique and beautiful city you live in. You have experienced one of if not the worst winters in Wisconsin history, and have and not only adjusted but embraced it as well. Living on the east side may be the best side and you’re ever so grateful still that you don’t have a car. You can walk, bus, and bike this city with ease and it certainly is better than having to worry about parking rules and the nazi’s that patrol them whilst the snow worsens the issue by at least 10 fold.
It hasn’t been easy as some early friendships took some unexpected turns for the worse but by time the spring came you started to find your way and your comfort zones. In an election year of historic proportions you most importantly found a group that supported your ideals and a man who would be elected President, Barack Obama. It was a surreal and like living in another country when people celebrated in the streets of Milwaukee the night of his election.
Through the forementioned group you found community even if it wasn’t in your neighborhood. Bay View has been your destination on a number of occassions for food, beer, coffee, haircuts, theatre, music, and even a bike pub crawl. You can even plunge your bike into Lake Michigan on Thursday if you feel so inclined. Your friend and co-host in liberalllllism, Jason, resides there as well, not in the lake of course.
Love has never been kind and is still the elusive trump card in this thing called life. You had your brushes with it and had your imagination wounded with it too. Turning 35 and having a deja vu milestone breakdown nearly put you down for the count again but you rebounded and took your shots, and still, basketball’s not your sport.
Postponing photography indefinitely is still pretty definite. You only attended a few live music shows and never took a picture. You decided that the thing that led you to photography in the first place is what you are tinkering with again now, writing, even if the blogs are cheesy and nobody is reading these.
Work has been a successful struggle. You still don’t feel like you’ve hit your stride but management keeps telling you how well you are doing and your paycheck keeps getting bigger while the unfortunate part is that most of it has went to your waistline. Hello 2009, we have to get to work on that. You did by a trainer to help you with that, but hopefully after the new year you’ll hit your stride with that.
(Goes and gets another beer while having a deja vu moment)
Most recently your biggest problem has been your relationship with the family. The holidays seem to enhance the severity of it but taking a trip home to to improve or makeup for living far away seems pointless. You were home for a week for Thanksgiving and 4 days for Christmas and you hardly talked to or caught up with your siblings to no fault of your own. You traveled a long way and time with them was cut very short. To top it off is those who wish at the end we had more time as my trip is over. How much more time do you need? There are two things you cannot change, one, you cannot go back and live in a such a small, rural, and conservative community. Living in Indianapolis didnt make it any better so don’t even suggest that (you still f’n hate that city anyhow). Second, you have accepted that your siblings having kids changes the whole spectrum and they changed that without you. No more staying up late playing games and drinking, etc. Your family has a clock now and when it approaches lets say 10pm the lights need to go out, it’s BST, bedroom standard time. Maybe you need to grow up? Maybe that just enforces that reason that kids are not in your future? Maybe you’re happy? Maybe not?
You thought up until recently you hated Christmas, and probably so more now than ever. It’s strange the people who are religious that make this holiday a joke, not the ones who shun it. They’ve made a mockery of their own holiday and somehow blame those outside of themselves for commercialism and consumerism. You spent more this year on the holiday in recent history and yet you’re the bah-humbug type. You spent about $300 this year (about $200 than last year) and your siblings couldn’t spend much more than 6 hours spilling over all the presents they received instead of you. You enjoyed two Christmas plays at two independent Milwaukee theaters this past month and you enjoyed that more than the nightmare trip, gift opening, and fighting the flu that was no more than a personal obligation.
Dear me, not next year. Please read this before you book a trip home next year.
I wonder if the Art Bar has a printer?!
Posted on December 30, 2008, in beer, community, Just me, local business, new places, world, writings and tagged Art Bar, Bay View, hate, love, Milwaukee, Obama, rant, riverwest. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.