Sep 17 2010

You Can’t Go Home Again

Published by at 5:57 pm under The Daily Grind

It is awfully strange to be back in the Bay Area. I feel like a caged beast, or maybe a bolt of lightning that can’t find a ground. I don’t want to be here but there’s no place else I want to be. I’m not doing anything worthy. I expect soon to start teaching English (as a volunteer) to nonliterate Burmese adult refugees in Oakland, but that’s been slow in getting underway. I hate the fog, which never used to bother me. I don’t like ugly rooftops out my window. To make matters worse, last week a neighbor got approval to erect a shedlike second-story addition which will entirely block my view of the bay and coastal mountains, which is my favorite thing about my house, and which I paid for when I bought it. This development has heightened my instinct to flee… but where?

You wanna see me in action at the City Council meeting? Context: most of the neighbors who spoke before I did were saying disparaging and polarizing things about the few of us who opposed the project. Ironically, they live several blocks from it. The people who planned the addition kept talking about how they loved the neighbors and the area, so when I spoke I tried to appeal to their alleged community spirit, and also to address the City’s directive to ensure that construction is harmonious with the existing environment. But later that got twisted by some dandruffy bald guy who said, “If she wants to have input into the addition, she can help pay for it.” As you watch the three-minute-ish clip, see if you can find the horrendous semantic error I made but quietly corrected. I wonder how many people noticed. I heard no snickering. As I write this, I am stifling embarrassed laughter.

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I’ve finished all my master’s work and am waiting for word from SIT that I have my degree. I’m looking for one or more jobs, while all around me I hear tales of prolonged unemployment made more traumatic for those no longer youthful.

I’m still moving back into my house, surrounded by boxes of cables and paperclips and dishtowels and whatnot. A lot of stuff has gone missing, probably because I’ve put it someplace. My office is strewn with a year’s worth of useless paperwork, yet necessary things like checks are not emerging from the rubble.

Among the items that have gone missing are my American Express Travelers’ Cheques. Pay no attention to what they say: it’s not a good idea to lose those things. If you do, you’ll have to talk to some guy on the phone who has the sense of humor of a dishtowel, who keeps asking you questions like, “Exactly where did you lose them?” I’ve not been particularly patient these days even with the most fruitful dialogs, but this pushed me toward some new edge, like the one from which I took this picture in the Canadian Rockies above Lake Louise a few weeks ago.

The conversation grew ever more entertaining if you weren’t me, my snarls deepening with every reply.

“I don’t know where I lost them.”

“You don’t know where you lost them?

“No. I don’t know where I lost them.”

“Where were you when you lost them?”

“I. Don’t. Know. They. Are. Lost.”

“Yes, ma’am. How did they get lost?”

“What do you mean, how?”

“I mean, where did you lose them?”

I realize some people are so organized that they know where and how and why they’ve lost things, but not I.

Eleni’s pup is only weeks from making her appearance. I bought a sofabed for her and Jason so they can stay here if they want in the first weeks when things are surreal. Eleni also deposited a bassinet here. It is very strange to have baby things in my house again. I think I’m about to head into another dramatic transition in my life. Being a grandmother isn’t just an additional label, I suspect, but a shift of spirit.

Speaking of matters of the heart, I was wondering what prompts people to change their relationship status on Facebook. When is a romance solid enough for one to make a declaration so public? Is it a step after boyfriend/girlfriend and before husband/wife? I know one guy who changed his status after a year of his being visibly in love with someone visibly in love with him. And then there was my friend’s 13-year-old daughter, who declared that she knew she was going steady with someone when she got a text message from him. Not sure if that change is noted on FB. If you’re “In a Relationship,” is it better if it’s with someone on FB? I think it would be a worthy idea to explore in a radio documentary. Give me money and I’ll do it. Me, I recently moved my FB status from “Single” to blank. When I get scared or insecure or mad, I move it back to “single,” which gives me the tiniest feeling of control over matters that are beyond me. Maybe one day I’ll really go out on a limb and change my status to “It’s Complicated,” but when isn’t it?

I’ve been making things lately, mostly out of cottonwood bark I brought back from North Dakota. Here are three.

I’m taking a twice-weekly Spanish class. I wish I had a visit to Mexico or nearby in my future, to make the learning relevant.

Writing here on my blog again is strange. I’m like a husband who’s been out all night whoring, and then comes back to his wife and acts all lovey-dovey, like nothing has happened. I have betrayed thee, my electronic communication system.

I need to figure out how to set up a new blog for business purposes, since this is no longer an apt place to send a potential employer. I wonder if I can figure out how to do that. I own a million domain names I could use, from the prosaic to the English-language teaching-related to the slightly less professional Choices, choices.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “You Can’t Go Home Again”

  1. Running Lump says:

    But where did you last see them?

  2. Pescador says:

    Your butt is where I saw them.

  3. Oleg K. says:!? What was your thinking when you bought that one? Maybe the rodent has walked away with the checks?


  4. Ginna says:

    Dead Rodent Walking is what rat exterminators call the state of a post-poisoned rat. I thought it was quaint when I read it, so I bought it.

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