So I'm a little weirded out in my new house, in spite of my best efforts not to admit that I'm a little weirded out. My roommates are sweet, and very laidback, so there are no worries there, although it is really interesting for me to live with three people I barely know. I never really did that in college, and I'm a little on the something side of thirty, so this is an interesting time to start. Just part of my overall diabolical, yet subconscious, plan to shake things up. I knew if I was going to flip the script, as it were, I needed to minimize the safety nets, because I do enjoy those, although they just end up strangling me.
It's a big house, lots of doors and windows, and most of the windows are open all the time, so there are all of those new sounds to get accustomed to (and also, do you know how easy it is for someone to come in through a screen, my mother's voice in my head asks?) Plus the floors are hardwood and fairly old, so there are creaks and moans everywhere you step. But it's mostly that I'm hot, I think. I didn't have the good sense to ask the guy who owns the house to put the window air conditioner in, and it's July, and it's incredibly hot in my room. I have two fans but they're not really doing what I need them to do, which is to sit beside me and pat me down with a cool washcloth and feed me ice chips, bastard slacker fans. My landlord offered to put the wall unit in yesterday and I was all blase about it on the surface, like, "Sure, when you're around, sometime, maybe," when on the inside, it was all "MAN I AM BURNING UP. IT IS THE TOWERING INFERNO. WHAT WAS I THINKING?"
(I'm also currently trying to sit on my new papasan cushion that I love, oh how I love and have missed down to the tips of my very fried toes, and it's BURNING THE BACKS OF MY THIGHS. Such a gross place to sweat.)
Anyway, so it's mostly the heat. And it's also that I've moved back to a neighborhood that I used to live very close to, back at a time in my life when I was very, supremely unsettled and young. I was so, so unsettled and unhappy then. Driving down here the other night, I drove past the place where I worked for several years during college, site of many late bloomer, post-adolescent mega-dramas, and I realized that I was driving this road to get home, again, to a place that I actually lived. And Christ Almighty, I missed my mother for a minute, because I am a total idiot and also completely unbalanced, apparently. I had what amounts to a medium-sized panic attack, and wondered what in the hell I had done, and what in the hell I was doing, and going to do FOREVER AND EVERYDAY BECAUSE I WAS BACKTRACKING, OH HOLY HELL, and how maybe I should just pack it in now and start hopping trains and singing Jimmy Cracked Corn out on the prairie, or try out for that new singing bee show with Joey Fatone, because I could really rock the house on that one.
I got a little better by the time I made it up to the sauna of my room, where my brain baked in the heat to the point just past anxiety on the thermometer. By that time I reminded myself that moving down here was a means to a necessary end, that I had things to accomplish and do, and so what if I felt completely displaced, thrown back in my VW version of the Back to the Future car to a place I hung out in when I had a shitload more hair and rocked a pair of suede shorts? (In the genius words of Jessica Simpson, "OHMAGAH!!!!!!!!!) It's good to lose your bearings sometimes so you have to reset them. It's good to be in transition. It's good to move forward, and the discomfort is part of that. It's OKAY to be alone, in a thousand-degree room, for absolutely no reason. Freeing, even.
Fuck off, self-help bullshit. Just, go away.
I know that it is essential that things change for me, and in the fall, when I'm a mile or so away from school instead of a shitty hour commute, I'm going to be happy about it. And when I've had sleep, and am not still vaguely grieving my make-believe world at the beach, I'll feel better. And when I get to Chicago next week, I'll feel way better. It all just keeps moving, the wheel goes round and all that. None of it is static, not the things you want desperately to stay the same, or the things you need so much to change.
I tried to stave off the weirdness of a new place by setting my room up in advance in a way that I like. I've got most of my stuff around me that I need to make me feel nested. Every time I've moved since I got to Dayton, there are a few things I bring into my room first, just so I can make it feel like mine from the beginning. It's as close to a Native American house blessing as I get. These are things I move myself, in my car, because I don't want them to get broken or misplaced, things that are important to me, things I'd save first from a fire if there was an opportunity. I bring my old edition of "Leaves of Grass", a framed collage of pictures of my dogs, a box an ex-boyfriend gave me that used to have pictures in it but now just has some things I like to keep track of, and my pillow.
This is the stuff I care about putting in my new space first. I couldn't really care less whether the couch will fit on the far wall or under the picture window. I'm what you'd call slightly spatially challenged, so I'm no good with configuring what goes where, and whether the dresser will fit up the stairs at that angle (proven mercilessly, again, two weeks ago, as a shower of plaster fell out of the ceiling.) The only, disastrous I might add, time I lived with a man, we dealt with this on the day we moved in. I walked in and put some pictures on the mantle, and a few of my things in the bedroom, and he got pissed, said something about how we needed to work on the furniture first and then deal with the "extras".
Sigh. Here's an unsolicited hint: ONLY move in with him (or her, whatever, pardon the pronouns) if he gets you, and can understand and accept these harmless quirky things in light of your many other wondrous qualities. Seriously. See, I had to clarify that these were not my extras, and after three minutes dropping them off in my new little corner of the world, I'd be right over there to lift up the couch with my pinkie finger while he struggled using two hands. Because once I've got my people and a few of my special things about, then I can fill in the blanks with things I can sit on and eat off of.
Ironically, when I moved out a year later, all the big stuff was mine, so I had to take it all with me, along with my frames and books. When I left, all he had was a folding chair and a big old dining table. I felt bad about it, but these are the choices we make.
I went to the grocery store near my new house tonight. I'd never been there before, and the new place is in a much different neighborhood than my old one. There's a whole aisle of hispanic food, including a "hispanic dairy" category which is new to me. I browsed the aisle to see if there was anything new I could try, and I came across a whole shelf of devotional candles, the tall ones with a rendition of a saint or Jesus or Mary on the outside, typically. They were cheap - $1.69. I considered St. Jude, patron saint of lost causes, but decided to wait on that just in case things seemed much more dire at a point in the future than they currently are (oh please do not make me have to purchase that candle. Ohpleaseohplease.) I picked up the guardian angel candle instead, and I'm putting it on my windowsill, as a focal point for my neuroses about the open windows and the occasional creaky floors. I'll burn it as soon as I'm not afraid of burning down the house, what with the heat and the fans blowing everywhere. I figure it can't hurt.