The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, January 24, 2004  

The Hour Has Come and Now Is

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who responded to my latest appeal for donations to The Rittenhouse Review.

I can’t say I pulled in 80 thousand dollars or anything approaching that amount, but your gifts have been very helpful. In times like this, every dollar truly counts. The debt of my gratitude knows no bounds.

You know, blogging isn’t, or at least doesn’t have to be, an expensive endeavor. Yet I have learned, and not for the first time, that the demands of day-to-day life, of real life, are costly. I’ve become more attuned lately to the cost of everything, a term that right now means the basic essentials: rent, utilities, and food. (Overdue appointments with doctors, my optometrist, and Mildred’s veterinarian long since have fallen by the wayside.) And those utilities, which include electricity and telephone service, are essential for keeping the blog going. So, know that your contributions are going not to my amusement or social life, for I have nothing of either, but to sustaining The Rittenhouse Review and TRR as we know them.

And much as I appreciate your financial generosity, your compliments and expressions of support and encouragement mean more to me. One of the best things about running a blog is that I have an immediate public outlet for some of my writing, an audience for the many thoughts running through my head each day. And the audience, mixed as it is among “general” readers (a group that includes concerned citizens, activists, journalists, lawmakers, educators, students, and even the occasional family member) and bloggers, is quick to let me know when I’m misguided, misinformed, or misspeaking. More important, during the nearly two years I have been producing my blogs I have learned what readers (in both categories) like and what they don’t, and, more specifically, what they like and don’t like to read from me. This will be of extraordinary value to me going forward.

That said, sadly I must inform you that it is now apparent that I cannot stay in Philadelphia. The job search has been nothing less than frustratingly futile. I cannot afford my apartment and, without a job, I cannot find another one. Support from the usual sources has been almost nonexistent. And so, within a matter of weeks, I will be leaving this city I love so much. I’m not happy about this, of course, but I am grateful I have the one option that has been offered me. I know many others in America are far less fortunate, and there but for the grace of God . . . well, you know the rest.

Misfortune, in the shape of a second lost job in as many years, aside, this is my own fault. I did this. I caused this. For too long I have been living on the edge, financially speaking. And while my lifestyle over the past several years has been a model of modesty -- I can count on one hand, with two fingers left over, the number of fine restaurants in which I have dined here, and I can’t remember the last time I bought clothes -- I could have done better. I could have selected a cheaper apartment. I would have stopped smoking. I should have tried to save some money. But, as they say, “Coulda, woulda, shoulda.”

There’s no going back. There’s only going forward, scary as the prospects might be. And it’s better to leave of one’s own free will, that is, before one is asked to do so, in my case by my landlord, whose nasty agent is champing at the bit to hand me another eviction notice. And yet the expenses continue to mount, and the cupboards grow increasingly bare. Never in my life have I felt so alone.

But today I decided I was done with the whining and the complaining. I remind myself that things are never as bad as they seem. I’ve been in dire straits before, but eventually, and that “eventually” can be a long time coming, things work out in the end. The quixotic adventure that has been and is my life -- one that has included far too much tilting at windmills -- will continue. Only it will continue elsewhere.

I cannot help but add an extra note of thanks here a couple of my fellow Philadelphia bloggers. First, Atrios of Eschaton. Yes, to most he is a man of mystery. To me, I feel fortunate in saying, he is a friend, as is his wife, the even more mysterious Mrs. Atrios. They are among the best friends a man could have. Two more kind and generous people I never have met in my life. When you read Atrios know that the voice you’re hearing is that of a man of principle, a compassionate soul, and a paragon of decency and humanity.

Equally kind and generous is Susan Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla, a woman who not only has helped me in the material sense, and that despite the extraordinary challenges she herself now faces, but also spiritually and emotionally. Although she is an accomplished talker, Susie is also the consummate listener. Susie knows enough to let me rant and whine, but she also knows when to say, “Enough!”, and to steer our conversations to more constructive ends.

By such as these, among a very small handful of other supportive friends, I have been blessed.

Regardless of where I end up, know that The Rittenhouse Review and TRR will continue. The local flavor, however, will no longer be part of the blogs. I would prefer that my domicile not be public knowledge. And, as you might expect, just prior to, during, and after the move, I will be blogging on a limited basis, if at all. Please bear with me during that period and remember to check back periodically.

So, to conclude, thanks, once again, to everyone -- the regular reader, the occasional visitor, and the accidental tourist -- for your continued support, material, moral, and spiritual, of The Rittenhouse Review.

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