Monday, October 19, 2015

Going Local

Slowing down your body enough to feel.

Thought you were at a standstill
but you were only slowing down enough

to feel the pain. There are worse things

than running to catch the train, twisting
your ankle, the afternoon fucked.

Running to get to or away from?

the stranger who helps you up
wants to know, you who are so used to

anything scribbled on a prescription blank.

Just want the pain to go away, you say,
surprised to find yourself

reaching for someone else's hand.

-       Timothy Liu, All Trains Are Going Local

There’s nothing fun about uprooting from the climate you’ve grown old in and transplanting to a new climate zone. I have a 40 year long taproot here. My trunk has grown thick and ragged and my knuckles are like small branches with arthritic twists and bumps.

There has been much stress about leaving the old place. That includes selling this house after cleaning and fixing up the worst parts. That includes attending to more logistical and financial detail than I’m now accustomed to. Finally, that includes the fact that I can’t pack and carry a box of books to the car without having to take a nap.

Now that that’s mostly behind me, and I can start to be stressed about moving to the new place. I have become a happy hermit who prefers the company of my cat and a good book to lunch with the ladies. That is about to change.

I’ve adapted to a drought tolerant lifestyle and am worried about adapting into a neighborhood where things and people grow so profusely. Like becoming accustomed to gardening with little water, I have chosen to live without people. I have made do with knowing a single neighbor in this house I’ve occupied for 30 years. I don’t need to socialize, limiting my friends to a few carefully chosen like-minded eccentric friends who volunteer together a few hours a week.

Now, I’m moving to a clime zone where it rains people. I’m moving into an actual neighborhood like the one I grew up in. The broker that sold us the house lives across the street. Several neighbors (including the guy pictured here) have dropped by to introduce themselves in the brief few days I’ve visited prior to moving. The seller’s grown child lives nearby and – with our permission - is sending a letter to introduce us to our new neighbors. She asked for a brief biography.

My sister, who has taken point on all matters involving actual interpersonal contact, wanted my thoughts on what we would say about ourselves. I wanted to say I have moved here as part of the Federal Witness Relocation program and will no longer answer to the name “Thumb-Crusher” preferring to go by my brand new name and brand new profession as a Life Coach. I wanted to say that my sister has recently returned from what is hopefully (not sic) her last extended stay in a facility that helps its guests to recover from nervous disorders by prescribing medicines to replace un-prescribed medicines.

I wanted to list our reason for moving to WA is not, as they rumor may have it, to be closer to family and support each other as we age. It is not to maintain the lovely garden created by the former owner. Basically, it’s because of recreational pot in my case and assisted suicide in my sister’s case.

My sister preferred to stick to our cover story about sharing a room growing up and agreeing that because we’d both outlive our respective husbands who smoked, we have spoken for years of ending up under the same roof. We each get our own bedroom and bath now.

Being an acute observer of my sister’s moods (she has a surprisingly quick arm for an old lady) I hastened to explain that the fake bio would end on an upbeat note: we are still negotiating who gets to kill whom.  She still vetoed it, the sour old biddy.

To be perfectly honest, negotiating murder is a hopeful sign. For a while I was almost hoping I wouldn’t live to see this day. Murder is more positive than suicide, right? I’m not ready to throw a holiday open house where I serve Dad’s egg nog and worry about my kitty sneaking out. But I’m almost ready to begin my new life.

This is perhaps the most stressful thing about the whole move. I’m almost ready to reach out for somebody’s hand.