We always imagine that there's got to be somewhere else
better than where we are right now; this is the Great
Somewhere Else we all carry around in our heads. We
believe Somewhere Else is out there for us if only we
could find it.
—Brad Warner, Hardcore Zen
Here in America's oldest city
, a common answer to the standard "How's it going?" or "What's new?" is a non-ironic "Livin' the life!" I love that "Riley" is understood, that we're all-encompassing Irishmen. (Don't all the best umbrella terms emigrate from rainy climes?) Granted, Saint Augustine is a quaint seaside village with picturesque harbors and Old European architecture, and its long history makes it unique in the nation; even the circling beam of its lighthouse seems to demarcate a Venn diagram with no overlaps. But the age-old question in My Dinner With Andre
begs itself: is a Himalayan mountaintop (as it were) a better spot for finding one's bliss than one's Lower East Side apartment? Saint Augustine is one spot among oh-so many on a spinning sphere, so why do migratory Rileys come down to avoid riling up? It would seem that by collective though technically unspoken agreement, New Yorkers (mostly) have decided that this
is the place to escape, thereby creating an Otherworld, a B in contradistinction to A. Sure, everybody leads a
life, in the sense of "hypothetical." But to live the
life is to direct one's own script and also be one's own location scout. Sure, it's chic to delegate, but Rileys know better.