Please excuse my alliteration.
But the weekend really did progress in this way. March is turning out to be a very weird month indeed. Luckily, it’s sliding right by and it seems I might survive. But I don’t want to speak too soon…
Friday started with big plans but ended with uneaten oysters, a bag of spinach, and me passing out on Chris’ floor. I think I even drooled a little bit after bailing on Meg.
Do not go to the party in Davis. Do not buy Meg a drink. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
I woke up Saturday in Chris’ bed, wrapped up in his new plush blanket, feeling like a very tall and naked babushka. I’d dreamed about tsunamis all night, watching waves tower over me and a city full of shopping-bag-clad people, just staring. After yet another aggravated and unsuccessful attempt at getting a Planned Parenthood appointment, I headed to Old Soul for some coffee and writing. I ordered a Cappuccino which is a big deal because I never, ever do and I don’t regret it because it was the best Cappuccino I’ve ever had (thanks, Chris) and it sent me feverishly scribbling in my tiny little notebook, all sortsa nonsensical gibberish and thoughts and excitements and plans for the day. But alas, there was so much to do that it seemed impossible to choose just one or a even a few things. It would have been a great day to take my car in but that sounded so damn boring. But time was slipping by and here I was, this crazy lady in a single table and chair in the front corner of the cafe spying on people and scribbling. Chris scooted a strawberry scone across my table and before I even heard the plate hit down he had turned around and headed back for the counter. Sly lil’ bugger. Which was awesome. But alas, it was time to go and get back into my life and so off I went without a plan. But then Sean started telling me about this earthquake prediction made by the same guy who predicted the world series earthquake in San Francisco. Or something like that. So instantly I start thinking about the Delta and how vulnerable it is to breaking, all the old levies groaning under the weight of the water. The wall of water in Japan.
And I start to panic. I start to think about where the Hell I would go in a disaster, how unprepared I am for something that would just shake up everything around me. How alone I would be. Of course, my lack of experience with natural disasters feeds my panic because i’m imagining my entire apartment complex crumbling to the ground, the earth opening up in great, hungry chasms to swallow me alive along with all my precious material bullshit. So I run home, expecting an earthquake on the way, and I start my frenzied Google search of “how to survive an earthquake,” and realize I am missing some pretty key survival materials such as iodide tablets, a generator, a nearby cement parking structure, a waterproof first aid kit (with manual), a radio, sturdy furniture to hide under, flare gun, and an open space sans trees or power lines. I’m also low on museum putty, which I’ll need to protect my belongings.Which will likely all crumble to nothingness, anyway. I stash a few breakables beneath my shelves and realize it’s useless. I can’t pack up my entire apartment to prevent it from breaking. If shit’s gonna break, it’s gonna break. I have no control over that.
So instead, I pack my new bag with a few band-aids I scrounged from the back of the medicine cabinet, a travel sized Neosporin, a canteen of clean drinking water, and an extra pair of socks. I charge all my electronics, including the camera, and I make the daring trek to Davis. Driving across the causeway is the most stressful part because traffic always backs up around there and I really can’t think of a worse place to be during an earthquake. So I drive 85 over the rice paddies, imagining how cathartic it would be to watch the freeway collapse in front of me, to fall in my car into a soggy wetland covered in concrete and debris. Just to have my entire life change or end in just a few measly seconds. The magnitude of it alone makes me cry. It doesn’t help that I’m listening to that classical music mix that Michael-the-I-Am-from-Shasta made me, which is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.
And then I start thinking of all the things I own, all the crap I would have to salvage. What a burden it would be to sift through all this stuff and decide what to bother saving, what to leave behind.
Ya know, that old debate.
Meanwhile, This American Life is playing a special on this annual debate that takes place in some liberal arts college on the East Coast. They call it the “Life Raft Debate” and one professor from each department has to come and argue his/her case to an auditorium of paying students as to why his/her particular department should be allowed onto the metaphoric life raft in post-apocalyptic America. Why they should be saved. How they would help rebuild the world again. The problem with this debate is that nobody really takes it serious and the professors just turn it into a parade of gimmicks. I mean, who can honestly answer that kind of a question anyways. It’s monstrous. How do we re-build a world? We’ve each taken part in building such a small and inconsequential corner of the world that hardly any of us have a world view great enough to understand the very power of basic infrastructure. We have hardly taken part in the construction of this world, how could we possibly re-build it? We would still be rubbing our eyes, waiting for the government to re-build. We’d be in the life raft with a bunch of lawyers, figuring out who to sue.
Everyone is obsessed with the apocalypse. It is the scare tactic of our generation, like the Cold War and communism. Not saying there isn’t a thread of credibility in all of those threats, but I’m sick of hearing about it. They are mass marketed to keep us just on our toes, to make us anxious enough to buy shit. Like generators. And high heels.
But in my case, it was a haircut.
I’d been thinking about getting one for a while because I’ve basically sprouted this mullet and it’s not flattering and as much as i’ve tried to pin it up and pretend it’s not there, it still makes its presence known when it catches on my sweater or stabs me in the neck or pulls when Chris puts his hands in my hair.
So I drive into Davis and almost instantly feel a little bit safer. I understand the layout of this simple city enough so that in the event of a natural disaster, I would feel infinitely more empowered than I would in Sacramento.
Then I see this quaint little hair salon as i’m driving to Arielle’s and I think “aw, yes- society,” and so I park (there is conveniently a parking spot just to my right) and run in and hope they take walk-ins. And they do so off I go with Olivia, who is awesome and reads my mind.
“You just don’t want to look like a mom anymore,” she says.
Inhale. “Yes.” Exhale.
She gets me. Sigh.
A good shampoo, a couple inches off the back, and sixty bucks later I’m calm and off to Arielle’s.
But alas, it doesn’t stop there. There are still several double-shot americanos, Toberlones, an Asian noodle soup, a Dick Tracy T-shirt, a bird pin to put on things, a pair of shoes, and two Chipotle burritos to go. And panic is still just at bay. It ebbs, it’s flows. But at least the high tide has ended.
Gah…somebody stop me.
Arielle is having a bit of an emotional crisis in the way of boys and men. She is still in the process of learning she does not need them to be OK. And also still negotiating the difference between the two species. I get where she is coming from. I know that battle is built uphill for a lot of females these days. Soon she’ll graduate and get her hands and heart messy in other things, hopefully, and her eyes and mind and soul will expand to see that the world is just so much bigger and there is just so much more love and experience and not to mention there are about a million ways to achieve sublimity than dating.
And then she will be a force to be reckoned with.
In the meantime, it’s me and her and Chris and a little smoke in the air before it all starts to break down and she leaves to see some other friends and Chris has to open tomorrow.
But first, there’s a chill party at Jack and Jennifer’s apartment which turns out to be a house from the very pages of the-most-amazing-dwellings-ever-seen-by-Jenny magazine. Off-white walls and rounded ceiling corners with chocolaty wood paneling and crown molding and a secret wall that turns like a james-bond movie to double as a day bed, a closet, and a doorway to the front porch.
They have a baby and are moving to Portland to start a family. It is amazing to see a couple that is actually balanced, where both parties are equally excited about their adventure ahead and it’s not just one glowing mother and a scowling, complaining father sort of just along for the ride. It’s awesome to see friendship and partnership.
I want to find that kind of partnership in as many ways as I can. I want to build a family all over the world. Sans giving birth.
These are contemporary ideas. These are grandiose ideas I can only begin to actually comprehend. But alas, I should probably start by getting myself a passport…
The night ended with some thrilling pillow talk and me realizing that I’m terrified. This is a new fear. This is a petty fear that I have felt before- the precursor to jealousy and possession. We like something, we get something, we develop a fear for losing it, and we become desperate to keep it which ultimately blinds us from why we ever wanted it in the first place and prevents us from seeing whether it is time to go or time to stay.
But just as Chris explained that he wants to let go of his glass ball and his control and just experience this messiness together, I feel that same momentum but am inclined to back away from it out of fear. Because I don’t want to want to not lose something. But I know my creed denounces possession. I know that even now, as I have it, it is not mine. And I know that is OK. I just need to meditate on the fact that this is a wonderful and reckless opportunity to indulge in the love I am capable of giving and receiving and all the lessons that will come along with that.
If this were two years prior, I’d be running right about now. Shit, I’d already be gone. I’d be staring out my window, making excuses. But I’m so aware of my mortality these days. Call me a cliche eighties movie. Quarter life crisis. But all I need is to hear Chris when he says “I’m excited for us,” and I’m down for the thrill of it. I’m down to just seize whatever I can from this situation. I’m down to grow and fuck up and have fun and sex and talk and dreams and stupid-hopeful but oh-so-possible plans because it holds me accountable to all the shit I say I’ll do but lose motivation to mobilize.
I’m just done keeping myself locked up, selling myself and those around me for short, blocking out experiences I inwardly yearn for. I want to truly do what I want. I don’t want to worry constantly if I’m feeling too much, touching too much, talking too much. I just want to relax and be myself because really the worst feeling is when you’re left wondering what would’ve happened if you had really just been yourself, if you had really just dropped the act and let it all rush in. I would so much rather look back at something and know it ended because it was meant to instead of wondering “what if, what if…” as if it would make any difference whatsoever. This way, I’ll know I was myself. I’ll know I had fun, at least. No more stopping just short of epiphany, going to bed early out of sheer boredom or going to bed too late out of panic and angst, then leaving work late and feeling heavy about it. Drinking too much to suffice the urge to do what I really want to do. Shutting my own mouth when I really want to scream. Closing my heart and opening my legs. Wow. That was graphic. I should erase that…
I don’t want to explain. I don’t want to apologize. Unless I really feel compelled.
I still can’t believe we’re made of star dust.
I still can’t believe there is so much life left.
This morning I woke up to a quieter weather. And Jenn and I went out to hunt down pancakes, a plan that was dampened by a long line at the Fox and Goose and then reignited by the Waffle House down the street. It was like crossing state lines or skipping back fifteen years when I was little and going out for blueberry pancakes at a diner after church with all my grumpy Portuguese relatives because Great Grandpa Joe always did just that. Routine was the binding that kept the Bible bound. To them. The man outlived multiple wives and walked miles every morning. Went to church every Sunday and had his blueberry pancakes. People were so proud of that I think they were convinced it was what kept him alive for so long. But I don’t know, I think it was just the genes. Portuguese people live forever.
I think this is my longest post ever.
And on that note, Jenn is almost literally breathing down my neck to get going. It’s lady’s day and we have lady errands to run which, as my curse goes, entails more consuming.
Why was I born a gatherer? I feel more inclined to hunt.
And all of a sudden I’m just a kid again, pulling on my hiking boots and favorite skirt and heading out into the woods only this time without the fear of worms or dirt or falling down the pit of a rotting redwood.
And this time, I’ve got my new pack full of band-aids. And that extra pair of socks.
So what could possibly go wrong?