I miss you, Casbah. I miss being able to walk into the kitchen and being with friends. I miss a place where I wasn’t judged by what I looked like, what I purported to do, the number of figures in my bank account, the number of acronyms after my surname, the length of my CV, the clothes I wore, or the car I drove. I miss the palette of dysfunctional personalities that inhabited the Casbah and made it richer. I miss the warm fraternity that enveloped every conversation and guided the actions of those who lived there. I miss the smell of oil, rubber, rain, and wood from the bike shop downstairs. I miss being able to just walk inside without knocking. I miss the kitchen sink dramas. I miss the shotgun shell chandelier. I miss the books we read, wanted to read, wanted to write, or wanted to burn. I miss feeling genuinely happy and proud when one of us did well. I miss the angry confrontations over life-and-death and trivial matters. I miss the communal meals, bike rides, dumpster diving outings, share blankets, and soup kitchen lunches. I miss critical mass, nerf guns, randy, yearly supplies of fat-free hotdogs, and conversations that went on forever. I miss the sheer fucking humanity of the place. I miss leaving the Casbah each time with the feeling that I was a free man about to embark on a journey, the conclusion of which was uncertain. I miss sitting on the front steps on a sunny day, looking up, and seeing forever. But most of all I just miss my friends.
Happy Valentine’s, Casbah kids, wherever you are.