Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The comforts of staying

I bought some hot apple cider this afternoon and took a walk around Boulder, fogging up my sunglasses with cinnamon-nutmeg steam.

I forget how much I love autumn. I wrote a short story last year about "the season of turmeric and spices, of osmanthus and scarf-worn longing." Today there was a scarf — a red one, my favorite, that my friend Christian bought for me in India — but there was no longing. Just appreciation, a kind of breath-driven inner peace, the kind you feel after a deep stretch.

I love knowing a city so well. I know that when I walk past a certain cafe that my best friend's boyfriend will be in there, working away on his next book. I know that the bathroom code to the local bookstore changes every week, and I always remember it until it no longer works. I know which intersections are always okay to cross even when the lights are green, because they're hardly ever used.

I know it will take me 12.5 minutes to walk from my work to my favorite local gourmet deli, where I harass them for their wild Alaskan house-cured salmon. I love learning through Facebook that a favorite cafe — where Christian and I would discuss our impending plans to travel the world over mochas and scones — is now serving hot apple cider, made from locally-grown apples; I love that I can walk there from my job, which is less than .5 miles away, because everything is less than .5 miles away.

I love that last night, as I was eating a delicious squash risotto with my close girl friend at my favorite restaurant, the bar manager — also my ex and friend — pointed at a table of diners and said, "They grew that squash you're eating."

I love feeling like I'm the only one who knows where a beautiful tea house is right downtown, because there's hardly anyone there. I love having places to retreat outside of my home, and not having every inch of my city crowded with people.

I love knowing that at least one out of five of my closest friends will likely be at the local "herban" bar at any given point on a late afternoon, working on art, illustration, writing, or just drinking jun.

I like growing, and discovering that when I really want to live in a place — the settle-down kind of live — it will probably be a smaller city, because I just like knowing. My life is filled with going and staying, but I am gaining so much in the process.

And when it comes to Boulder — I'm so glad I stayed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Perfumed chaos and the lack of middles

I am a wreck.

I am so on top of things for my leaving-the-country move that it is driving me insane. I tried to pay a parking ticket too early, before the city of Denver even put the citation number into their database. Then I tried to pay it again, and again, for a total of three times, and it is still not there.

The problem with this is that there is no middle ground for me. I am either on top of things, or I am not. I can either pay this ticket now, or when I come back from Spain I will owe the city of Denver enough money to build some new high-tech infrastructure.

I was talking to my sister Kristi about this when I went to Hawaii for her wedding a few weeks ago. There are people who are good at beginnings (starting projects, maybe not so good at follow-through) and those who are good at endings (final pushes, the procrastinators who do their best work at midnight before deadline). And everything in between, every combination therein. Some are good at all (Obama? maybe?).

I am a beginning and ending person. I've seen this in myself in all aspects of life, even in chess games. I am really great at opening and end-game, but in the middle I become so confused and lose my queen.

And now I am acting like I am moving out tomorrow. There are a lot of things going on for me — loneliness, anxiety, fear of the unknown, appetite issues, mild depression, fear of nighttime — but I don't want to sit with my emotions right now because they are too pointy. I am trying to outrun them by remaining chaotically busy.

What I do know is that when I come back to the states, all of my best clothes are going to smell like Glad Forceflex perfumed garbage bags (the label said "odor eliminating," not "odor infusing"), for better or worse. And in two weeks — I won't be thinking about this at all until I return, whenever that may be.

I just need to breathe some Spanish air. Now.