It is second period, and it is cold in my office, and I need to be writing a lesson plan but can’t seem to focus. I am thinking about chairs, about money, about the space between most of my friends and I, nine hundred miles of highway and trees and flat, unmarked land.
I’ve been having a okay time. I had a good weekend: naps and dinners and grocery shopping. On Sunday night I went to the Grange with Rob and Sarah and last night I went to the Avery with Emily and it is a relief to know that these places exist here, that decent cocktails and not-poorly decorated establishments are an option. That this isn’t entirely an almost suburb. I don’t know.
On Friday night I went to Kevin’s house (how do you already have so many friends here, Emily asked me last night and I told her that I don’t, that the number was three and that included her) and drank whiskey on the upstairs porch, enough of it quickly to notice. He lives in this beautiful old house in Elmwood with four other grown men, some sort of male Golden Girls situation. They have a lovely home. One of his housemates is some sort of sound recording person, and he made me sit in the middle of the living room while he played one song, this beautiful recording of a woman from Mali playing the electric guitar and singing Gershwin. It was really lovely, both the song and the strangeness of it.
I still don’t know that I like it here. I still despise the hills, the liquor laws, the way that they put your iced coffee in an extra styrofoam cup at the Dunkin Donuts. It is still hard to be here, and still surprising to be here. But it is good to know that being so out of place leaves room for whatever small thing to stand out, to start from.
In the continuing trend of getting old, this beast and I went to the vet yesterday and discovered a case of early onset arthritis. Her stumpy little legs are old and achy, and now I have to give her monthly shots for pain management. She’s fine, but still, this doesn’t bode well for my plan for both of us to live a hundred more years and die on the same day.
Tumblr is blocked at work because I work in a high school. I haven’t been looking at my computer when I get home.
Anyone I had any sort of social contact with this weekend was over the age of 54.
I swam in the ocean twice. I caught four crabs.
Tonight, I fell asleep on the couch.
I’m drunk, a little, off rhode island flavored shandy. I’ve been doing crafts with washi tape. Things are pretty good, but things are especially good because I’m eavesdropping on Mike’s telephone call and he’s talking to his friend about the state of things, and like 300 feminist rants, all reasonably explained, are coming out of his mouth, and he is so good.
Everything closes early here. It is weird, and quiet, and there are lot of older white people with money. Three dogs live next door. We haven’t gotten Hilda here yet because we are still unpacking. Unsurprising to everyone but me, I own too many dishes. Dishes on dishes on dishes.
I’m okay in this house, but I keep getting lost when I leave. And there are so many rude people! You can’t buy beer in the grocery store or past six on Sunday. Two days ago I was in the liquor store at 5:50pm and they turned out the lights and it made picking out beer in a place where I don’t know what beers there are in a rush all the worse.
This morning I rode my bike up a hill. I think it might take awhile to learn to like Rhode Island.
Just kidding, I’ve left. I’m in a hotel room in Scranton and 90 per cent of my possessions are in a truck in the parking lot. I hope no one steals them.
When we first hatched this plan, when two years ago we sat in the yard of the pie shop and said would you move? would you move? to each other, it seemed not real. The more real it got the more I imagined the moment of leaving. I’ve had this vision forever now of driving across the Skyway with the city behind me, crying. When I even thought about it I’d tear up, and I was worried about the uncontrollable sobbing when it happened for real.
I didn’t cry. I cried last weekend, and I cried eating dinner with Mike at the bar at Lula before my going away party. I almost cried when I said goodbye to Maria.
Yesterday we loaded up the truck and then we sat on the stoop eating pizza. I went inside to sweep and almost cried but didn’t. I swept. Sparks emailed me today to say I didn’t do a good job, but I swept. I didn’t cry.
Monica and I took out the trash and I told her I felt weird, but I didn’t cry.
When I went back up Mattie and Jeff and Bobby had wandered up, and Sparks had come back, and Ed and Sean and Maureen were all still there, and so we walked to get ice cream. I hugged Bobby at the corner to his house and Sean shortly after and then stood awkwardly at our stoop until someone, probably Mike, suggested I hug everyone. I still didn’t cry. I wanted to, and I almost did. How do you say goodbye to these people who have shaped the whole first chunk of your adult life?
You don’t. You stand awkwardly and you hug even though you are not a touch-er and you mumble things and you get in your truck. You yell “I love you!” out the window when they probably can’t hear you anymore, and then you promptly drive your moving van into a dumpster.
Sunday night nail pals.
Here is a picture of Cyndi and I before we went to Weegees and I drank a hundred things and then burst into tears at the shuffleboard table because I finally realized that I’m leaving Chicago forever.
It should be noted that Paul McLeod died last night.
I want to say that it is Saturday morning, but it isn’t. It’s Saturday afternoon and I haven’t gotten dressed yet. I put some stuff in boxes and dyed a tote bag with the indigo that I’ve been dyeing everything else with. I put one hairpin leg on the piece of yellow particleboard that I got in the as-is section of Ikea before my drill battery died and now those things are spread out on the living room floor with everything else.
Do you need things? We’re having a yard sale tomorrow morning and I am getting rid of so much stuff.
July is strange so far: we took two days to drive here, and I swam naked in two great lakes, making that all five. I left my bathing suit on a picnic table at a campground on Lake Erie and we tried to see Niagara Falls but got overwhelmed immediately. The sky opened up when we were on the beach on Lake Huron and we sat soaked in the line to cross the border. Over breakfast in Detroit I tried to pull up the message that Mike had sent me two summers ago while I sat in a Wendy’s near the bridge to Belle Isle with Sparks, but he grabbed the phone out of my hand just as I found it, and it infinity scrolled somewhere else, which was okay.
Since then I’ve been tearing my house apart, making piles, sitting on the floor and looking quietly around.
We spent the fourth of July on Geoff’s rooftop watching the horizon bubble with fireworks and the fifth of July making more piles.
My bike is back from the bike hospital with a new fork and an old wheel, which is a relief because I’d been riding Maureen’s extra bike. I am no longer used to fixed gear and I will never be used to a seat that causes pain to places that you don’t want pain caused to. Soon enough I’m going to have to buy a bike with gears because we are going to live on a hill.
This is all mostly just to say that I feel strange and out of sorts, that moving is hard, that leaving a place is hard.
But seriously, do you need things? I have a lot of things.