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If I Can Make it There ...

I was walking through Times Square last night after a few drinks with Matt, and I had that silly thought I've had for the past 11 years ... "wow, it's New York City and I live here." For at least a couple more days.

So much has happened in the last 1.1 decades. Hundreds of images ran through my mind, like the flashes you see when they're brainwashing people in a bad sci-fi movie.

So Bob, how did you spend your 30s?

Arriving Easter weekend in our little blue Honda CXR, after driving in from Chicago, by way of Cincinnati. Staying in Peter's tiny walk-up on Bleecker and McDougal till we found a place. Going out that first night and finding (and falling in love) with this little hole-the-wall called Universal Grill. Sigh. Endless weekends apartment hunting. Finding 88th and Claudia clutching her pearls. Parties in our backyard on 88th Street. Talking to the boy who played Barney at our first annual (and last) Get Blown Thanksgiving party, (where everyone was to come see the Macy's balloons get blown up). Making the whole set laugh my first day on All My Children, and naively thinking I was going to land a real part on it. Doing extra work on If Lucy Fell and having a nice long talk with SJP about one of her teachers who dated a friend of mine back home. Getting a play the first time I auditioned for one in the city, again thinking, w"ell how hard can this be?" Working with Matthew Fox in said play (his first time on stage).

All the beautiful friends I've made. The plays I did. Ace Ossining. Ruth Dickey. C-c-c-carlotta! CB and the crazy monologues he'd write for me. Being a Lucky Boy for the Lucky Girls. Making an audience laugh and cry in the same scene during a Glines show. Swearing I'd never do another Glines show. Doing a second Glines show and getting to meet Socrates out of it. My picture on the cover of an old gay rag that's now out of print.

Seeing the Empire State Building at night and thinking, wouldn't it be cool to live in NY and realizing that I did. How beautiful the WTC was on a sunset cruise the weekend before 9/11. Standing on my balcony a few days later, staring at a huge gash in the top of the same building and then watching it fall down, chain smoking and crying all day long.

Running through Central Park. Sitting on the north end of the boat pond and communing with Alice. Meeting Connie for the first time at the Works. And Phil. And Will. The guy who used to do my hair at Roberto Novo -- "shorter, blonder" -- until I was platium and went off to Mykonos to be mistaken for a Scandinavian. How gray it's gotten since. Going to the Townhouse with Larry before G and Barracuda came into being. Rome, and the bartenders in their black leather togas. Chase. All the LT7s and they're varied attendees.

Leaving behind the pigeon wars on 88th and moving to Chelsea. Working out at Equinox and ignoring Larry when he yelled (because he forgets that just cause he has headphones on he doesn't have to talk loudly), "did you see how big his feet were?" when Billy Baldwin walked by. Group therapy with one of my favorite playwrights. All the acting classes I took. All the charts I've made for horrible consultants when I worked at McKinsey. The celebrity parties we used to throw. The summer we did the Fire Island share and how much I laughed with our housemates. Leaving my body on the dance floor during the morning party. Realizing we were more Ptown than Pines. The first day I walked into Cape Fear. "Wow," was all I could say.

Running through the rain to catch a cab with Aunt Rose. Bringing Cab home the first time. Becoming a cat person. Watching Gypsy grow less skittish and more fat. Being with my 80-year old grandma the first time she was in New York. Taking her to a gospel brunch in Harlem. "Take my picture," she said, holding up a bloody mary. "I've never had a drink this early in my life."

I'm gay, I'm hungry, Food Bar! Having our own booth at Alley's End. Bartenders who wouldn't let me buy drinks (not because I was cut off, but because they liked me). Bartenders who were so rude they should be shot. Drinking at Revolution. Watching the sunrise on our balcony and listening to Ragtime, waking the neighbors behind us. My 40th at the Park. Connie and June debuting "All that Jizz" and watching my dad turn white. Larry and I doing drag at East of Eights for a fund raiser. Crazy Amanda matching everyone's contributions. Learning to loathe the D'ags girls, and the idiots who work at Duane Reade. My totally amazing doctor. My therapists, those I paid and those I drank with.

Halloween parades. Pride parties. Dancing on piers, rolling my brains out. Losing my glasses at an underwear party. The bathhouses and the bookstores. The Crowbar. The original Eagle. The Spike. Ah, the Spike. Keeping Dominos pizza in business. Crif dogs. Valdinos. Drinks on top of Beekman Place. All the wilfs and bilfs. The South African hooker. The mess (whatever his name is now). The binges. The health kicks.

Claus the ferocious feline. Mark introducing us to Megan on their second date and then being in the wedding a couple years later. Running into people from past lives in small town New York. Realizing that it really is a small town here. Watching people get old. Watching people get fat and then thin again. Watching new people come and some disappear. Wishing some would disappear.

My transformation into a quasi-corporate boy. The unexpected business trips. Moving from a shared room into my own office. Speaking at conferences, and then ending up planning them. All the PAICR people.

Crying my eyes out during the Once On This Island benefit. Getting a migraine at Steel Pier. Seeing friends star on Broadway. Seeing bad theater and sometimes amazing theater. Cherry Jones. Mary Louise Parker (who I will act with one day). Vanessa Redgrave. Paul Giamati in Iceman. Marin reminding us we can never go back to before ... and watching the scenery just disappear. Elaine at Rose's Turn. My brief chat with Donna Murphy. The piano bars. Hedwig ... three times. Standing next to Paul Rudd and knowing he wanted to kiss me. Never seeing Cats (tyvm).

And then this blogging thing and all the people I've met through this. Performing at WYSIGWIG. Making friends that I feel like I've known forever, and will know forever.

And learning the biggest secret of all ... that New Yorkers aren't rude, but some of the friendliest people in the world (especially the ones from the midwest who move here). I have found so much love in this city. Get your mind out of the gutter ... that's not the love I meant (although there's a heapin' helping of that too).

And, of course, the silly Canadian who I'm growing old with, can translate his slur into decipherable English, and all the little day-to-day stuff that makes two people become a family.

There are millions more memories, and I have to get to the office and pack it up for the move.

Bottom line ... I heart New York. And soon I'm off to learn a new city, where more stories will unfold, new friendships are already blossoming, old storylines with intertwine with unforeseen plot twists, and ... well, who really knows?

As Kina says, "not bad for a girl from the gutter like me."