Growing up, my mom taught me to never own any more than would fit in the car. This was back when we measured our life in toothpaste tubes: we had lived in such-and-such town for two toothpaste tubes; in another, for only half a tube.
It strikes me this morning how much I’ve failed. Between old typewriters and tea kettles, books and plants, gumball machines and lamps–sometimes I don’t even know if I can fit it all in my home! Maybe this is what it means to settle in, settle down. It’s not nearly as frightening (or dull or tedious) as I imagined it would be.
I roll the word on my tongue: settle. It makes me think of the sound that hangs in the air of an empty room just after the phone stops ringing; of bulbs planted in the fall; of down feathers and dreams half-remembered and turning the pillow in the middle of the night to find the cool side.
The strange thing about living in the city is you can go months without seeing the moon. My only grasp on its phases is when I see a sign at yoga for a full moon class.
I remember I had a student in Harlem once who wrote about the eight stars she had seen in the sky. Eight? I asked. Yes, she said, I counted them. Have you ever seen that many?
Millions, I told her, but she thought I was exaggerating. Really! I said, and she just laughed and laughed like I had just told her I was married to the man on the moon.
This morning, walking up my block, there were stars chalked all over the sidewalk, and a message: THIS IS FOR YOU!!!
I like to think that it truly was.
So…(INSERT THE NAME OF THE MAN I PROMISED MY LIFE TO–pictured here on our wedding day, reading the letter I wrote him and having his last cigarette as a bachelor)…yes, him, well…he has decided he doesn’t want his “real name” used on the blog. We were out on the (very cold) patio this morning drinking our tea, and–
Him: It’s just weird. I’ve got people googling me.
Me: Like who? That wackadoo girl from high school?
Him: No, not her. Clients. I have clients who google me. They don’t need to know my whole life.
(He takes a long drag of his cigarette.)
Me: Hmm…I would think your green thumb would impress these “clients.”
Him: They’re in Asia.
Me: What? People in Asia don’t like plants?
Him: Seriously, babe. Please.
Now, the task is to find a name to call (INSERT THE NAME OF THE MAN I PROMISED MY LIFE TO). I’m thinking “The Smoker.” It’s got a nice ring to it. As in: The Smoker wants to take me to Tahiti for my birthday; The Smoker and I once again donned fake mustaches; The Smoker wants a boy; The Smoker thinks I’m nuts. Thoughts?
So, Livs and I crawled into a little Volkswagen bug and hit the open road. I’ve gotta say, south of the Mason Dixon line’s never looked so good.
There was also the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten, the lighting of bananas on fire, a short jaunt through Biloxi, a long drive through Jackson, a pageant to make you weep and a big ole order of chili cheese tater tots purchased at the Kentwood, LA Sonic known to be a frequent stop-off for the Spears sisters.
Now, home, and heck, I can’t help but notice, my desk has nothing on the open road.