Thursday, December 01, 2011

Sometimes people ask what I did today

Back to the bloating, oh, the bloating – now it wakes me up every night, in the middle of the night struggling to find a position without pain – if only it was just gas that would come out, just as smelly annoyance, why can't it be that kind of gas instead of the kind of gas that gets stuck, every night, wrecking me. And then, another day when I feel like I should just be asleep, could be asleep, except that I just woke up. But I'm awake so I can plan my book tour, I guess, call U-Haul to find out about the moving truck, think about going back to bed, wait for my food to be ready, put on the wrong music, listen to the news, water my houseplants, drink more water, send in a new lab test, listen to my voicemail, blow my nose, soak my feet in chapparral, put foot cream on, more oil on my hands, oil up my nose, moisturizer on my face, a little bit, don't want to get my face addicted, look at the sky, it’s not interesting just soft blue like that, better check my houseplants again, before I just thought about watering but I didn't actually do it.

Nothing exciting on my voicemail – just more test results that the doctor wants to go over, a dinner party I'm going to be too tired to go to. Can't check my email yet, because I'm not allowed to do that until after I eat and leave the house, don't think I'm going to leave the house today until I do my mile walk to feldenkrais because I got up too late to go on an earlier walk without making myself too tired for the one I actually need to do. Maybe I'll break my rule, just to check email briefly before leaving, hoping that will give me some kind of energy, that's what I always hope, sometimes it works and then it's over.

Now I've eaten, so of course I feel worse. Penske gave me a better deal than U-Haul – it turns out you can bargain with them a bit. Maybe I'll call back later and try to get it lower.

Somehow I make it to feldenkrais, then I'm lying on the table thinking can I just lie here for the rest of my life? Thinking: I give up, it's over, now. Because we have to have a place to think about these things, right? Not just push, keep trying, keep going, but yes, leave it all behind, let it go, give then, it's over. Afterwards I'm outside and it's freezing cold, what is this insane icy desert wind and how am I going to get home without hurting myself again, will I arrived feeling the same as I did when I left? I'm trying to pretend that I'm asleep while I'm walking, but then I start going through all of my different city-to-city moves in my head, it's starts because I'm thinking how glad I'll be to get the fuck out of here, that's for sure, have I ever been this glad to leave? Well, of course there was leaving DC and the first 18 years of my life, oh my, that was a relief. Then leaving college after that first year, getting ready to drive cross-country and I was glad to get away, but getting there had been important too so it wasn't quite as dramatic as getting away from DC, that's for sure, just like my life had started and now it was going further. Leaving San Francisco that first time I was just sad, not ready for it, but I heard already planned it out. Heading back to Brown after three years away, six months of seeing the nightmare of what I could have become and then moving to Boston for a year, oh I was so glad to get out of that hellhole even if it just meant back to San Francisco which was mostly sadness after Joanne's death, eight months and then I moved to Seattle for somewhere calmer, a little over a year later and I was on the way to New York and how did I stay there for three years? Fled to Provincetown to get away from the pollution, and also just to get away and I couldn't stay there a little longer, especially once it was fall and all the tourists had left but there was nothing for me there except beauty, that sounds familiar.

Then back to New York briefly, over to Berlin for a month of jet lag and bronchitis, before I had planned four month in Europe – London for a month, Amsterdam for a month, Barcelona for a month – but after Berlin I was ready to get back to New York where people would actually speak to me. But I think the best move was really from New York to San Francisco, when I first got there I felt like I could finally be myself again, revel in the freakishness of transgression, create new possibilities for resistance. And, when that ended, well, that's when I ended up here.

Then, of course, there were the moves from one place to another in the same city, those were usually more low-key, always pretty exciting. I think, like from my first three-month sublet in San Francisco to the apartment where Laurie and I live in the Inner Richmond that was so cheap, and then from the Inner Richmond to the Mission, finally, when we really wanted to be there. Or, in Boston, from that gorgeous house in Dorchester, where Gabby and I lived with six other queers under 23 I think, or not queers but gay people and lying and class striving and the rest of the gay drama and it was almost like we were fleeing no we really were fleeing to East Boston, which was so much better because it was just us, except for the kids in the neighborhood who tried to chase us with sticks, the person who dropped a cinderblock out their window as we were walking on the sidewalk, or the endless variety of homophobes but this was Boston so they were everywhere.

Wait, I know it sounds wacky that I'm thinking all of this while I'm trying to pretend that I'm asleep on my walk home, but then when I get to the alley just a block away, I actually have more energy than when I started, which is so rare, so maybe I should always close my eyes and stumble a little and think about dreaming on my way home, it actually worked.

Now I can start a new pot of beans on the stove – they've been soaking since the morning, and oh, there's Jory on the phone. Then I check my email again, a university event sounds like it's working out well, plus a note from someone who heard I'm moving to Seattle, a welcome note, I think it's going to be a good move. Even if I've never moved as part of a book tour, or done a book tour as part of a move before – but I guess there's a first time for everything, right? Wait, my water is boiling, at this time of the year I have to boil a little water to put in the bottom of each glass of water I drink, so that the water coming from the water purifier attached my faucet – or, next to my faucet, actually – so that the water isn’t too cold in the glass.

Time to chop the celery and carrots for the beans – or, wait – I think I'll do celery & sunchokes this time, that sounds delicious. Did I tell you I got a galley of Sarah Schulman’s The Gentrification of the Mind in the mail today? When I saw the University of California return address label. I thought maybe this was it, but feeling the book through the envelope I could tell it was a paperback, maybe not. But, yes – an advance galley. I've been waiting for this book for several years. I start crying just reading the quote by Milan Kundera at the beginning: "The first step in liquidating a people… is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture invent a new history. Before long, the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was. The world around it will forget even faster."

I remember reading Milan Kundera at the end of high school, and how much of a revelation it was for me, except for his misogyny, and whether I would like books that are that grand now. Should I call Randy to congratulate her on her internship at the Hormel Center? She's not there, I leave a voicemail, call Kelvline. She says, are you okay? Am I ever okay? I mean, I feel kind of okay at this moment, but that's about as far as I can go.

Sometimes people ask what I did today, and I can never really figure out how to answer that. I could continue with the rest of the toxic metals urine test – an hour and a half left before I can shake up the urine in the big container and then for some of it into the small container, get all the forms ready for FedEx tomorrow. I could tell you about turning the space heater off and on, doing some feldenkrais on the stretching mat, washing the dishes, maybe reading some more, no I don't think so because my arms are hurting, maybe I'll make another phone call or get everything ready for tomorrow but first, I think I'll turn off the computer.

2 comments:

AlexXXY said...

I relate sister, I've had chronic pain throughout my early 20's. Sad to see you go but I totally understand. New Mexico is sort of a gem in the rough and emphasis on rough..dusty windy, dry and without decent coffee.

Strangely I'm thinking of moving up to Santa Fe from the quirky burque. There is this Masters program that blends shamanism with counseling that I find interesting. I relate better to the new age yet at the same time resist it.

Perhaps I can take you out for coffee or tea sometime before you head out. I know some kinky queers in Seattle if you do decide to move there :p

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thank you, AlexXXY!!!

And yes, let's get tea sometime – give me a call (all my info on my homepage), and we'll make a plan…

Love –
mattilda