RANDOM ACTS OF MOVEMENT
During breakups you sometimes go from living with someone for years to living alone within a matter of days. It results in feeling restless and anxious inside an apartment you used to share with your partner. The apartment goes from being a sanctuary to a hell booby-trapped with reminders of a relationship’s past.
The solution? Temporarily running away.
I’ve heard of people who traveled to another state for a few weeks to avoid their living spaces. Some stayed with friends for a while. I avoided my apartment by literally running away from it; jumping on my bike to ride somewhere — anywhere! — or skipping my subway stop on my way home.
The maps below are drawn from memory of some of the more liberating random acts of movements. I do love how it shows me running in circles while trying to outrun my anxiety. It is seemingly futile (again, running in circles here to avoid the unavoidable - dealing with your emotions) but I suppose the momentum does help when you feel like jello inside.
Also: for some reason, I wanted to name them after movies.
THE ‘FORREST GUMP’
When Jenny leaves Forrest Gump in the oh-so-charming and horribly cheesy 1994 film, he starts taking off.
“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run,” he says (about 1 hour and 52 minutes in — it’s on Netflix, look it up).
Yepp. I felt what Forrest must have felt in this scene:
So I ran, for no particular reason. This map tracks a 30-minute run along Prospect Park West and back to my home. I didn’t quite know where I wanted to go when I left, but kept going til my lazy self felt the need to find refuge in the same apartment I had just fled.
I know, I know. Chinatown is about the water wars in Southern California, but I did ride my bike into the night not knowing where I’d end up and landed in Chinatown. There were all kinds of gritty sights — empty-ish industrial complexes and bustling Canal street wet markets — that made me feel like I was part of a film noir.
Plus, it was Saturday night. All my friends were out having a blast and I didn’t want to be home feeling sad about myself. So I hopped on my bike and just kept on going. It was really, really satisfying.
This map tracks an hour-long bike ride to Chinatown and back to my home (I did stop at a waterfront).
‘THE WARRIORS’ (CLINK CLINK)
New York’s Subway system is this weird worm hole that you descend into to go from A to B. On the way, you get immersed in a weird world of emotional isolation within a crowd of people.
Sort of like this scene from one of my favorite silly films The Warriors (which partially takes place in Coney Island!):
I’ve talked to multiple people about their breakups and we concurred: Subway rides can be the worst. You can only keep busy for so long with your iPhone game. You can’t check your email. You can’t do any physical activities to keep your body from freaking out. Everyone around you is doing their own thing. No one really wants to talk. And then you start balling like a child who has lost her Tamagochi.
This map tracks a random 2 hour trip I took to Coney Island. I was working late and really didn’t want to just head home to my empty apartment. It had been a shit day, in terms of the breakup (intermittent horrible texts).
I took the F train from work at West 4 and instead of getting off when I was supposed to I just told myself “Fuck it” and rode all the way to Brighton Beach near the Coney Island stop.
Ascending from the worm hole, I left everyone behind and I sat there and stared at the black ocean. I suddenly was really, really small and it felt really, really grand.
Note: I tried to mine my iphone for location data since I had a vague recollection that Apple used to collect that data. What I found was this:
A bunch of folders with what looked like location data and some other fun stuff stored on my phone. Apple DID however stop collecting location data going back further than 7 days, which meant that the data I was looking for, was no longer on my phone.
I did however find the Google Maps voice that has, so often, served me as a wonderful guide when I was lost. My fictional conversation (at the top of this post) was produced using the MP3 files that come with your Google Maps app.