Thursday, July 11, 2013

New, Old, and Gray Days

 Outside, it's a gray, breezy kind of day.
It's July, but, for the first time in weeks, I had to pull Black Hoodie out of a pile of laundry to take the dog out for a walk.  The window's open, again, for the first time in a long time because it's finally not pushing 100 degrees outside. There's no air conditioning in the townhouse, and the only fan's downstairs, so the air stays thick and stiff unless the windows are opened. Chris got sick of it and bought a window unit air-conditioner so we can stand to be upstairs. 
But we don't need it today.
Today, when the sky began white and gray and melted into blue, when the wind hums little tune to itself, and the world is somehow, miraculously, mourning and joyful, and I remember how very much I love a good cup of tea.

It's a writing kind of day, and it's long, long overdue.

Adulthood grows into a bit of a lull.  It's not that it's not pleasant or challenging or exciting, in its own little grown-up ways, but it's different. What thrills me in life sounds perfectly mundane on paper (screen?). I get excited over David Attenborough documentaries and updated episodes of Doctor Who on Netflix (STILL WAITING FOR THOSE, UGH).  A clean kitchen just about sends me into giggles, and don't get me started on baking. Nothing makes my weekend like whipping up a batch of muffins.

Being unemployed lends its own bundle of dullness, I suppose, though I am not complaining. It's lonely, though.  I've had more conversations with my cats than I care to admit. It's not that we're not trying to make friends--we are.  There's just not . . . You know when you meet someone and there's that click? Like puzzle pieces locking? Where kindred spirits meet and you can't wait to see each other again? We haven't found that yet. We have met plenty of nice people, the kind you meet with once for lunch, and then don't see again because they are busy and lose your number and forgot to give you theirs. So we drift. The nice thing is that Chris and I grow closer than ever, grow content with the quiet pleasures of life.  Not stagnant--we don't want to be that. We're striving for new things, but, things like time and money and gas and pets and money . . . Adulthood. Responsibility. All that jazz. It's no surprise that there are so many movies nowadays glorifying the quarter-life crisis.  As a kid, the world is your playground. As a teenager, there's drama and hormones and endless possibility. As a college student, you're a go-getter with the world on a silver platter.  Then, you leave it all behind, and life begins to mellow and settle.  It's frightening and it's lovely. You grow into it.  All right, so I might not do "exciting" things like clubbing till three a.m. on the weekends, but, wouldn't you know, I've learned to balance a checkbook and can make a mean lasagna and even better peanut butter pie.  I like being a grown up. I was always an old soul with childlike fascination. I think I was sixty when I was sixteen. Or maybe that's just introversion at its finest.

We feel very in-between things.  Or, at least, Chris does.  I feel slightly between, but I am happy with the quiet little town where we live and I can't stop gawking at the scenery even driving to the grocery store. I adjust easily to places.  I can be happy almost anywhere, even if I don't like it much. There's always nice little treasures hidden in every dreary place. I miss family, but I do long distance well because I know that times come to see them again, because long phone conversations with my parents and siblings are great, because seven-year-old Ellie and I can play Pass the Pigs over Skype and it's all lovely. I've lived away before. You get used to this sort of thing. You learn to make any place home, so long as you have at least one person to share it with. I have Chris, so any place where we're side by side is home.

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Eyre
From one of his last hiking trips with his roommate and friend, Isaiah, to Washington before leaving Idaho to come back to Florida in 2006

Chris has lived away from family, as well, but those were on adventures with this second cousin twice removed slash BFF since high school. Joe is the kind of person who gets carried off on the wind and manages wherever he lands.  He's the ultimate bachelor hipster. Truthfully, Joe was hipster before it was a word, and, as it gets more mainstream, he is only more hipster without knowing it. At thirty, he sports a handlebar mustache and a devil-may-care wardrobe with an odd mix of . . . what? Bill Murray? Lumberjack? Struggling musician? Homeless?    He's just Joe. He looks like Joe.  That's the best way to say it. If you ever meet him, you'll understand. He's Joe. That's all there is to it.
He floats from place to place, seemingly without a care in the world and nothing to tie him down--no woman, no mortgage, just himself and his whims. At least, that's how it seems.  Perhaps it's not accurate . . . but I wouldn't be surprised to hear in a month, six months, a year, sometime, that Joe has moved yet again for a new venture, and Chris will report the news with a wistful glimmer. 

When they were twenty, after several years of a close, easy friendship--that odd kind that men have, where you can talk about every and nothing or say nothing at all for hours, just drive nowhere in particular and listen to an awesome mix CD--Joe and Chris ran off to Idaho to attend college. Made the drive in three days and began a life Chris now sees as his golden years.  For Chris, Moscow, Idaho, remains a sort of Promised Land.  When he gets lonely or frustrated here, Chris starts looking at houses in Idaho because, maybe there, things will feel like home for him. He'll have his favorite coffee shop again, and, hopefully, fall right back into his old crowd. He'll have Joe again, and the two will catch up like they always do--having hardly spoken in a year or more, they'll begin a conversation as if it's only been a day. Music, movies, theology, philosophy, the same quirky humor that swings from laughter to very serious then back to laughter. Because that's who they are.

Photo courtesy of Isaiah Eyre
Joe and Chris's great-grandmother, Ninnie, at our wedding in October, 2009.
Joe had just started teaching in Indonesia and showed up as a surprise for our wedding, which led one of the groomsmen--the boys' other college roommate--to offer his position as best man to Joe because "it just seemed right."
Joe, Chris, and Ninnie have a very special relationship. They visited her frequently when they were growing up in Florida, and it's a relationship all three continue to treasure.
And, quite honestly, this photo sums it all flawlessly.
 I have no Promised Land . . . Well, London, maybe. I miss London terribly, almost daily . . . but would I settle there? I don't know. I am simultaneously a wanderer and homebody. I can set down roots almost anywhere then yank them up and start somewhere else.  It's not that it's not difficult--I miss the relationships of homes past, but I understand that some things are temporary and some things never really end, even if you can't touch them any more. There will be reunions filled with hugs, warm wishes, and reminiscing. Or maybe I'll just have memories, and those get brighter and warmer as time goes on. The mind likes to store things in extremes, I've found--you remember the very good and the very bad and very little in between. Or maybe that's just me.
I like roots, but I like change, too. I guess maybe I haven't found a place that's not worth changing. Well, that's not true--I could see myself here for a long, long time. I adore it. But maybe that won't be the case. Maybe it will. The trick is to hold all things loosely, isn't it?  

To be perfectly honest, there have been happenings here.  We've had outings and visits and all those things that are a lovely break from the ordinary.  There have been a couple things that change everything, where nothing is ever quite the same.

I'm trying to find the words to write about those, find the way to tell the stories.  It's still very fresh. Maybe that's when it's best--when every day hold a reminder of it all, where things still bleed if you poke them. Or maybe you wait until it's older, tougher, and, perhaps, you see things more clearly.  I don't know.


I've missed you all here in Blogsphere. I don't know if I've been missed, but that's ok. I've missed all of you. I can't wait to get caught up in your stories and pictures again.  It always makes me smile. Thank you.

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  1. I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts here. Beautifully articulated. It's true what you said, "You learn to make any place home, so long as you have at least one person to share it with. I have Chris, so any place where we're side by side is home." I'm so glad you have someone to love you and share life with you. And love that life more than anything else they could have in the world, because they are with you. Keep writing.. use this time to indulge in your joys. Much love -Bozz

  2. Yay! It's great to have you back again! Making new friendships as adults is hard, really hard. To make the deep kind of relationships that I remember. Angel and I still have a few friends from college who are around,and when we do get together, it's awesome. I have a feeling making friends might get a little easier again when we have children. Children seem to magnetically attract friends.

  3. Sounds like theres lots of changes afoot and to still enjoy lifes little moments like baking in your nice clean kitchen then that is a great way to stay positive and enjoy life. It was good to hear your words again it has been a while x

  4. You're very much missed.

    I wish we could have some cool weather for a hot minute. This heat is horrid.

    I've never lived anywhere else and I so long to. If you move to Idaho we can practically be neighbors. ;]

  5. You are such a wonderful writer, I adore the way you express yourself. Just wanted to let you know you are thought of and prayed for :)


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