It’s Not Gonna Write Itself: In The Cut

From Urban Dictionary:

“In the cut” primarily refers to a location that is secluded or hard to find. It can be used in both urban and rural areas. In a metropolitan setting, a house or store that’s “back in the cut” would be in a place off the main drag, perhaps in an older or run-down neighborhood. Likewise, in the country when someone’s house is “out in the cut” it generally means that person’s house is off the map (far away from town, gravel roads, etc.)

Livin “down in the cut” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can throw some bangin-assed parties when there’s nobody else around to complain about em.
Guy1 “Trey’s party was off the hook!”
Guy2 “Really, where was it? I couldn’t find the place…”
Guy1 “It’s back in the cut, on Bent Street”

I have to give up one of my spots in Morgantown, WV. It’s not a restaurant or a building even. It’s a place I used to be able to go and have some seclusion not far from my job on my lunch breaks. Even though it was in plain sight, it was back in the cut. But now, I’ve repeatedly ran into someone else hanging out in my spot. Once is a coincidence, but twice is too much. Not to mention that this person has begun to bring boxes to sit on all while starting to junk up the place. Don’t get me wrong; there’s plenty of long forgotten leaves and trash back there but this person is cramping the place’s style. And they didn’t recognize the the fact that I had staked this spot out as my own for the duration. And they tried to talk to me. If I wanted to talk to people on my lunch break, I’d hang out in the break room. The only other encounter I had with someone was a morning before work when a random person stumbled in, saw I was contentedly watching YouTube, said “what’s up”, and kept it moving. This other person hasn’t gotten the hint.

So RIP to my spot that was back in the cut near my place of work. Maybe I’ll give it a month or so and see if I can stop running into them. Chances are though, me and that spot are done for good.

Anyway, I figured I would talk about some of my other spots I’ve had over the years because when I was thinking about this earlier, I’ve had quite a few.

When I was at home in Capon Bridge, WV, my favorite spot was my bedroom but that never gave me the privacy I needed at times (shut up). So when the weather was good, I would head outside. Our house was surrounded by trees but because of the construction and development of property lines, you could still navigate fairly easily. I’d spend what felt like hours kind of getting in my own head with ideas and games I would play when I was fairly young. As my teenage years came on, I would work on my songwriting as I would either rap or sing all kinds of things that I might not have ever committed to paper. I recall one day where I sought out a hammock my mom had bought just to write an angry rap about things that were bothering me at the time. And as my high school days were dwindling, I would seek out the absolute silence of our above ground root cellar to work on vocals I was rehearsing for chorus solos.

I went to Potomac State College in Keyser, WV for the first 2 years of my college education. When I wanted to get away there, my first stop was Church-McKee Arts Center, just a short walk from my dorm. Church-McKee is where all the theater and show productions go on, but it was also the home of the music major (which I came into college as). The late, great Dr. John Hawkins handed me the keys to the building essentially and I had access to almost every room. I spent hours of early 2002 writing my never recorded, never released debut album Life Turned Into Music in those rooms, even though I had switched my major to journalism by then. I had to eventually give those keys back when the spring semester ended. Ironically enough, I never quite felt as at home in the journalism classroom my second year.

After that, the spot became Keyser itself. I spent hours roaming around the city just walking (and thankfully, even though Keyser was small as hell and mostly white, I was unbothered), either with Matt or by myself. It always felt good to be able to disappear for a few hours. When I popped back up, people would seem baffled I would just go off walking on my own like that but it worked for me.

There was a rock formation that you could get to by walking a few miles along one of the last streets within the city limits. I think there a train track too. I only went there by myself once, not in a good place at all. I came back from that walk though.

I followed Angel to Morgantown in 2003 and began rooming with my friend Steve who I knew from Potomac State. Since I owed Potomac State tuition still, I couldn’t get my transcripts released to continue school at WVU. With Angel and Steve balancing between school and their part time jobs, I was alone pretty often when I wasn’t working. No need to find a place in the cut.

That changed in 2005 after I got accepted to WVU and got hired by the college radio station U92. The station itself became my safe haven; providing a welcome distraction from my responsibilities (responsibilities that included not taking myself to class but we’re not here to harp on the past). I spent so much time here that the only thing I wasn’t doing was paying rent (although I guess you could consider my tuition rent). I made a lot of friends and had several great, spirited discussions; but there was also nights I’d be alone other than the DJ that was running music in studio one. It was the best of both worlds. There was a few times I had been there at the lowest points of my life too, with the station being the only reason I wasn’t getting drunk at times. Wild to think back on that now.

My next spot in the cut was hidden in plain sight. They added a fishing dock next to the amphitheater at Hazel Ruby McQuain Park, which is positioned next to the Monongahela River. I don’t know how I started coming here, but soon I was running to the river every chance I got. Other than the ducks, the dock was pretty unbothered most of the time, so I could go and sit and listen to the music of the moment on my iPod. I even got away with drinking a few 40s and 22s down there too. When I moved out of the South Park area of town and closer to Sabraton, I eventually stopped going. I’ve visited a few times since but it’s not the same. It really only took one visit with the dock being full of people to end that relationship.

The final place of my in the cut journey was an apartment complex that was being built up the street from my old place in South Park. The apartments were pretty much done but there was still a few things that needed finished before they began renting them out. The weird thing was, no one was ever there. So while I didn’t go and take up residence in an apartment, I did have a nice, new stairwell between the buildings that I could hang out in. I even attempted to shoot a music video there (that’s lost to time because I deleted it from my external) to poor results. When the weather got colder as 2011 progressed, I never went back. We moved from South Park again the following spring, and I’m sure the apartments became inhabited eventually.

I haven’t been back to my spot next to work in 8 days now. I’ve went by but I’ve seen the invader walking towards there about 2 or 3 times. I made the right decision because I’m not there to forge new friendships; I just want to relax on my lunch break. I hope they get as much enjoyment out of using my former spot in the cut as much as I did. And if they don’t? The least they can do is let me know I can go back.

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