Drop out of college. Refuse to work and move to a different city every time the world begins to catch up with you. Defer your loan payments and tell your parents to go fuck themselves. Show up out of the blue on your best friend’s New Orleans doorstep when things get rough. Cry to him in the living room about how you fucked everything up. Dance on bars in your underwear for money. Learn how to read Tarot cards and hold people’s hands when you give them a reading. Tell them everything will be okay even when you’re not sure. Go home with a boy you meet in a bookstore. Go to second base with him while listening to The Smiths like a teenager. Never talk to him again. Overdraw your bank account at a Bourbon Street ATM while drunk so you can buy a Lucky Dog with extra chili. Call your parents and ask them to send you money and pretend you don’t feel guilty about it. Remind yourself throughout your days you’re a wild horse amongst sheep to help cope with the idea of possibly being insane. Dance by yourself in the living room when everyone is at work and pretend you’re a pop star when you’re having a bad day. Leave the blinds open so the neighbors can see you. Ride the streetcar at night by yourself for no reason other than that’s what Tennessee Williams would have done. Go out to bars in the Bywater hoping to make new friends. Ignore the fact you don’t feel cool enough to talk to anyone who lives here.
Run to New York. Sleep on the floor of your other best friend’s studio apartment. Pull the comforter over your head and warm up to the dogs when the heat goes out at night. Drink cheap wine at Elaine’s and talk about how you wish you had been born in the fifties to get that true beat kick. Take an hour and fifteen minute subway ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn at eleven at night when a friend calls you about some warehouse party. Pretend to know certain people so you can get into certain clubs. Do cocaine with bored Upper East Side housewives in the bathroom of The Boom Boom Room. Do meth and wind up at a party in the East Harlem Projects when you were told the party was on the Upper East Side. Wake your best friend up by coming home too late. Apologize by cleaning the apartment and attempting to make him dinner. Apologize again for pretending to know how to cook and take him out to dinner. Share an innocent kiss with him on a stoop in the West Village while the sun’s going down. Stroll in Central Park when the leaves begin to change and pretend you’re in a Woody Allen movie. Land a new serving job every week because you’re always late and you always get fired. Lie on your resume. Go see The Rocky Horror Show by yourself and don’t tell anybody. Eat leftover Chinese food for breakfast and a five dollar footlong for dinner. Walk around Manhattan at night while listening to Miles Davis. Wonder about that boy you used to love and what he’s up to. Think about calling him and change your mind.
Hitchhike back to the West Coast. Make an obligatory visit to the town where you grew up to see your family. Run into old high school classmates at the coffee shop and try not to kill yourself. Make awkward small talk and find solace in the fact you haven’t gotten fat yet. Meet up with your childhood best friend and go out to the gay bars in Long Beach because you both said you would go together one day when you were old enough. Sit on his back porch the next day naked and hungover and let him paint you because he’s majoring in art at LBCC. Laugh when he shows you the painting because it’s only from the neck up and being naked was completely unnecessary. Drink his mother’s cheap wine and steal her expired Valium when you get bored. Sit in the living room with her and listen to old records while she shows you faded black and white photographs. Walk to your old high school later that night while you’re still drunk and swing. Get high and go into the ghettos of Compton because you’ve always thought it was beautiful and want to take pictures. Argue with your father. For the first time you tell him that you truly hate him. Take it as a sign that perhaps you won’t become him now. Scold yourself for always being so melodramatic.
Run to Hollywood. Don’t tell anyone you’re coming. Jump up and down and wrap your arms around old friends when you surprise them. Go to open mic nights and listen to people sing with amazing voices who will never be famous. Go to places where you still know the bartender so you can get free drinks. Drink lots of martinis. Do a keg stand at some girl’s stupid party. Sleep with that guy you used to fuck because he still lives there and was one of your favorites. Shrug it off when everyone calls you a whore. Convince your friends to eat at Cole’s on 5th with you because they still have the best French Dip sandwiches. Attend a house party in Orange County and try to ignore the pretentious music talk. Go to Hollywood and snap pictures with the drag queens. Smoke weed in Griffith Park late at night and get paranoid about getting caught. Walk up to the Observatory afterwards to get a better look at the moon. Sit down and ponder about how everything turned out so differently than how you thought it would. Try and keep your mind calm as you plot your next move. Think of all of the places you haven’t been yet.
Tell yourself you are still young.