Friday, January 22, 2010

Santa Fe

Why do I wake up every day now with pain in my gut, this is not a metaphor this is pain in my gut. It starts before I get in bed, with that burping that gets stuck, stuck and then I have to get out of bed right after I get in bed, to walk around and hope for relief and then I get back in bed and it’s that way all night. Until I get up in a haze of pot smoke, did I tell you how much I love pot smoke? I know it’s not the actual smoke, but my whole apartment reeks of it, probably because I left the windows in the living room and kitchen almost closed because of the rain, otherwise it rains in my apartment but none of this helps the mold, the invisible mold I can smell in the corner right by the heater, how do I get rid of that mold? Unless I can cut through layer after layer of wall and replace it -- that’s not going to happen, how will I get away from the mold?

People always say that the Southwest is the best place for people with chronic illnesses -- pain, exhaustion, allergies, sensitivities, overwhelm, all of it -- but I’ve never been interested in the Southwest because it’s so hot, I hate the heat. I used to say that anyone I didn’t want to see ever again should go to Santa Fe, send them to Santa Fe, because it’s a great place to heal, but I’ll never be there. A few weeks ago someone told me that it snows in Santa Fe -- really, it snows? So then I started thinking about moving to Santa Fe, that’s how desperate I am.

I’m done with San Francisco -- maybe I’ve been done for a while, but now I’m really done. Fuck this voice activation software -- it just wrote dying! It’s because the microphone I was using stopped working, so then I had to train a new user and now every time I say fuck it writes Fox or pluck or fark, why is Fox always capitalized? How much do brands pay for that kind of loyalty? Anyway, I’m not dying I’m done. Done with San Francisco -- that’s what I was trying to say. I don’t feel politically, culturally, emotionally, or sexually inspired. Maybe intellectually inspired sometimes, but that’s not enough. My health is a disaster. I feel like I’m getting worse, things are getting worse -- every time I eat, I feel worse, and then I need to eat again. And again. And again. And again. Multiply that maybe 15 times -- really 15 times, that’s a lot of eating, a lot of eating that isn’t working.

I feel overwhelmed all the time. The only thing I like on a regular basis is my apartment, and the view, and walking around in my neighborhood, but every time I come back from a trip I know that I’m allergic to my apartment, that I have to move eventually, but if I move then I’m just going to move to another building in this neighborhood, since it’s the only neighborhood in San Francisco that I like, and then I’ll have the same issues. Or worse -- like with my last apartment, where the outside of the bathroom window was coated in a thick gray mold, the whole air shaft -- there were pigeons in the ceiling, roaches everywhere, rats in the walls and the interior of the kitchen cabinet underneath the sink was rotting away and sometimes there were the rats on my kitchen counter too, or mice running across the room and under the door to go into the hallway. Sometimes the rats were chasing the mice, or the pigeons. I know you can escape rats and pigeons and mice and roaches in San Francisco, but can you escape mold? I mean unless you can gut the whole interior, this time gut is a verb, and then after you gut it you need to take all the necessary precautions, whatever they are, but none of that’s an option for me and I don’t want to live in San Francisco anymore anyway.

I know there’s pot smoke in Santa Fe. I’m guessing there’s mold too, but probably not as much. I’ve never even been there -- I don’t even know what it looks like. It’s always sounded terribly colonial and touristy, but I’m desperate. I’m desperate to do something dramatic to see if it helps: the dry Southwest, the clean air, and I need certain resources that probably only exist in places with that kind of air quality if those places are also terribly colonial and touristy. If I was moving somewhere just to move, to find inspiration in the interactions of the city, I would probably go to Montréal, but I don’t think that climate would be good for my health. Freezing cold for six months and then muggy humidity in the summer, overheated apartments everywhere and there’s nothing worse than an overheated apartment for my sinuses, the most fragile part of it all, but what does that mean about dry heat in general, the dry heat of the Southwest? I just want to be able to do things other than just trying to do things, I mean trying to function and continue writing and occasionally interact with other people. Still I get these manic moments with so many projects and the crash happens so fast, I need to get to a place where I’m not always crashing, where one day out of 10 I sort of feel like maybe I can function, not like I feel good, I mean I still feel terrible I feel like maybe I can function and then boom there are the next nine days. Or 20.

Maybe this Santa Fe thing is just a fantasy, a fantasy of leaving which is so much work, leaving when I’m so overwhelmed and the process of leaving is always more overwhelming except right now it’s suddenly feels like something that might help. I mean it felt that way earlier today when I started writing this, when I was exhausted and panicked not just exhausted and overwhelmed like now, which is better than panic really but also it makes me feel like I can’t. Leave. I mean I’m not leaving now, I’m not leaving for a while but that while is getting closer, the fantasy is becoming more immediate, when I started to think of Santa Fe I started to think of how different it is than anywhere I ever imagined living -- I mean I’ve always lived near one of the coasts, I love the ocean even if I don’t visit often, I like the cool air here in San Francisco, the northern part of the West Coast, I like big cities, bigger than San Francisco would be fine really except for all the pollution, but maybe somewhere so different, different in climate and culture and capacity would help, I don’t know. Today I’m cooking millet with vegetable stock and it smells delicious, one of my succulents is flowering and the pink glows through translucent white and the music, the music is helping, yes this is a transparent attempt at feeling better about something, a transparent attempt that works for a moment, that moment in the morning before eating but I can cook millet with vegetable stock anywhere, I can watch my plants flower, I can listen to music and of course I need more, more than all of this but here in San Francisco I mostly feel heartbreak and suffocation, exhaustion and overwhelm and yes there’s a certain kind of comfort too, the light through the rain, the view when you walk up a hill, any hill, even the bus because I know where it’s going, this neighborhood at night and the way reflected light illuminates the street and my sadness clears, but only for a moment.


kayti said...

I wish it were just a metaphor

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Yes yes -- me too!

Love --

Anonymous said...

"but here in San Francisco I mostly feel heartbreak and suffocation, exhaustion and overwhelm and yes there’s a certain kind of comfort too, the light through the rain, the view when you walk up a hill, any hill, even the bus because I know where it’s going, this neighborhood at night and the way reflected light illuminates the street and my sadness clears, but only for a moment."

Simply gorgeous and heartrending.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thank you, my dear!!!

Love --