from Nick Suss
July 12, 2014, 11:12 p.m.
The weirdest things always make me realize where I am in life. Take right now, for instance. I had been staring at a blank screen trying to figure out how I should write this post before I realized something. Sitting on the floor of my apartment, I heard a sound I’m almost positive I’ve never heard in this place. Oozing through the windows like the ocean from a seashell is the sound of crickets chirping. I’ve probably heard this sound a million times in my life, but for some reason, I can’t remember ever having heard it from Apartment 14 of the Cloverhurst Condominiums. Except I’ve never associated that sound with this emotion before. Tonight, for whatever reason, the sound of crickets is ominous.
It’s no mystery to me why I can hear the crickets. For the first time since I’ve moved in to this apartment, it’s quiet. For the first time there is no buzzing sound of an overworked electrical cord supplying energy to a television, an internet modem, a router and three gaming systems. For the first time there aren’t three fans running to make up for the heat created by foot traffic. For the first time the only manmade sounds in this apartment are the sounds of my fingers tapping across my keyboard at the rate of 65 words per minute and my own breathing. My apartment is empty, barren, yet somehow still the same.
It’s bizarre. As I sit in the downstairs living area, I find it hard to find something different about the room. The couches have been moved, the television has been removed and the decals on the wall have been relocated to a central location. The coffee table is gone and the shelves are gone and all of the storage from the storage closet is gone. But the room still feels the same.
You’d think it would be different. I remember back in high school whenever I would walk into a classroom and the teacher had rearranged the desks I would be beside myself. I didn’t know what to do with my life. The structure by which the previous weeks had been organized had dissolved. So theoretically this should be that on a larger scale. This is the living room. This is where I lived. But when I think of it, it really wasn’t.
I can’t tell you guys how many times I must have bragged this year about spending all of my times in my bedroom. Some of you have probably experienced those brags firsthand. And none of them were embellished. Around March I moved every single aspect of my life, from my study time to my leisure time to my snack time to my bed time, into one room. Everything I did stemmed outward from that control center. My entire life, a life that was full of more excitement and hard work than I had ever experienced, was confined to a single bedroom. Every time before I’d ever said that before this I said it positively. But just now I’m realizing how sad of a remark that was. A lot of good things happened to me in that room, but to live an entire year in a single square that wasn’t even entirely mine? What had I reduced myself to?
Don’t get me wrong, that room will always be the home of some of my dearest memories. It was in that room where I received the phone call that told me I would be in the press box to cover a bowl game. It was in that room where I laughed harder than I thought was physically possible while recording the Suss-Pace Jam podcast. It was in that room where I cheered on a muted television while Jake Locker led the Titans to victory over the San Diego Chargers and it was in that room where I punched the armrest off of a chair in disgust when the Titans accepted yet another safety on a special teams’ mishap. It was in that room where I first fell in love with the music of Paul Simon. In that room I put on my first suit and in that room I experienced the pleasures of waking up before six o’clock for work. In that room I cried for over an hour when I first learned of Derek Jeter’s impending retirement. I wrote some of my favorite stories in that room and experienced countless more that I never would have wanted to write as not to ruin the moment. I conceived the idea for my Sober Downtown Adventures in that room and soberly watched The Chinese Restaurant about a dozen times. I watched people win World Series and championship games and Olympic gold medals in that room. I loved that room. Empty that room feels different.
But I think I would give anything to care about the emptiness of this living room.
Sure, I had some good times in this living room. I had some great times too. But almost every one of those times comes with a caveat. There was always a fly in the ointment connected to my good times in this room. Be they personal or connected to others, something always held this room back. In my head I’m used to the grand sitcom goodbyes where the last thing you see is Sam Malone turning out the lights or the six friends leaving their keys or J.D. leaving Sacred Heart for the last time. I always try to hold my goodbyes up to those standards. But with this room, the last room I’ll see in this apartment when I leave it for the last time this week, I don’t think I’ll feel a thing. I don’t think saying goodbye to this place will be hard. For all the great memories I’ve had in this place, I don’t think any part of me will ever miss living here.
That last sentence actually just made me stop typing for a few seconds. I never thought I would here those words come from inside my head. For as sentimental and as nostalgic of a person as I am, I never would have expected myself to be capable of thinking that I won’t miss anything when it’s gone. Heck, I missed my sixth grade class schedule until I was well into the 10th grade. But for this place I feel nothing. No remorse, no regret, not even a shade of sadness. I’m not happy to be leaving either. I legitimately feel nothing. And that surprises me.
When in the future I think of the last year of my life, I don’t think I’ll hearken back much to this apartment. I’ll always remember what I did outside of this place, but the inside will fade like an old photograph. Sure, the floorplan will probably be stapled into my head and so will some of the moments, but for the most part I don’t think I’ll remember much about living here.
But I know there is one thing I’ll remember. I know for a fact that I’ll remember this night. I’ll remember the night I made this realization. I’ll remember the night that I first came to the acceptance of apathy. Most of all, I think I’ll remember the crickets.