emma b. says

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Portland Month Four, post Valentine's and pre-President' Day Edition, or a year of change.

Loretta Lynn and Jack White lost their minds on buckets of sloe gin fizz here in Portland, me I've just lost my voice.

(savors small victory of a whole sentance, goes out the porch to smoke a victory cigarette)

so fine then, some bulleted thoughts.

* it's a push pull.
* I still don't have a job, this alternately demoralizing and a lesson in stoicism.
* I sort of hate the weather, and I sort of like watching it.
* bulbs of unknown provenance are pushing up in my garden, this delights me.
* I miss california, but I prefer skiing in Oregon.
* the skies here are more dramatic, but less blue.
* loneliness rains hard, so does hope.
* it's a pull push.
* no one ever said it would be easy.
* I can't really gauge my emotions, they zing wildly across a rainbow fucking pallette.
* I am fighting to do the best I can to secure employment.
* I am doing the best I can to meet people, which is both invigorating and totally draining. When in your previous life your newest friendships are five years old, it's really hard to insinuate yourself into a group of people who have known each other forever.... History counts, if only anecdotally, remember when I fell down here, or I fell down there, or my ex-husband fell down your stairs. Mutual remberences are the ties that bind, here I build anew. I am on the ground floor, impatient with my building blocks.

I had an exceptionally crap week last week, it was the triple header of the supreme slugishness of mid-february and stupid valentine's day and my hormones gone into a gruesome downward spiral. It took every ounce of fortitude not to spend every day until April hiding under my bed.

Bright spots on the horizon, P and M will be here in March. Skiing tomorrow on the sweet rock sulphur mountain. Days are longer, stars are brighter. It's a push pull, it's a pull push.

Next weekend will mark the year anniversary of my decision to leave. A hasty decision, as they always nearly are. A heated moment, followed by a shining moment of clarity. Maybe. Maybe I think what the fuck was I thinking. I close my eyes for a moment and let a year slip by, tennis games and Marin, and golden gate park and dinners out and emergency rooms, a couple of surgeries and landscapes and traffic, my beloveds, all of my old friends, old loves, old rooms, pieces of my life left on the corner of Haight and Ashbury to be scavenged and discarded, night blooming jasmine on forgotten walks home, drunk in long closed dive bars, peace on a ferry, dancing with the gays, falling in love in neighborhoods, getting heartbroken on street corners, beds I have slept in as the fog rolled in, my poor beleaguered ficus tree.

My hands blackened by newsprint as I set about undoing a life. The ruthlessness of packing, where you thought you ought to be gentle, fatigue and frustration and straight up grief cause you to thrust things in boxes or tossed without a second thought onto the trash pile. The sidewalk pile.

I think I have had maybe three thoughts about my apartment since I left it. One would think that after a decade, that there would be something, but I don't seem to be able to muster any nostalgia (was it time, I think it was time) Though I can summon the rooms with little trouble, I can walk through them in the drifting between sleep and dream. Sometimes it's startling, I was eating out the other night and suddenly I was at All You Knead, and suddenly I was eating chicken parmesan seven months earlier with a book I had long finished, but felt the uneven booth beneath me and heard the regular sounds of Haight Street, watched the fog bluster down the victorian canyons, paid my check and rose to leave, three steps through the gate, first door on your left....

That's where it ends. Though I could tell you the rest, the long walk down the hall to the bathtub, the ritual of lowering the blinds, howI never played the music loud out of courtesy to the neighbors I never really knew.

I still don't. Play the music loud, that it is. Even though here on my isolated corner, I've got a school behind me, the street to left, my elderly spying Chinese neighbors across the street and a girl my age to my right. And I have a lawn that needs to be raked, but that is beside the point.

So a year later, after all the execution of so much change, with so much familiar laid at the guillotine, with so many simplistic hangings of things that were dear to me in the name of change, which our politicians tout as some sweet necter, but I can tell you that I am adamantly not fooled. This kind of massive change sets you up for nought but grappling in an unfamiliar dark, the moon and the stars have shifted in the northern skies and you struggle for a fucking toehold and it's cold, people here speak a strange northwestern tongue and I miss the ocean like I miss the better parts of my californian soul.

Rash decisions aside. Here I am for better or for worse, and I am just optimistic enough to believe the former. And if you saw my house you would probably concur, it's not by any means perfect, but for what I could afford, snow white and her team of dwarve architects couldn't have given any better.

I am still not sorry I left. I love you San Francisco and all the friends and the memories that you hold. I have been bereft and achy without you, I fumble along this unfamiliar territory, or rather should I say I bob, in hopes of clement seas, in hope, that is all. Except that it's not.


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