I moved into one-fourth of an 1880 house, giving me my own leaded glass window, a glamorous fireplace, and so much space I feel like a refugee family should move in with me immediately.
Many family and friends came to help me move, and brought food, and we ate pizza and I forced them to drink beer though it was only 11:30 AM, and we listened to side B of “The Sound of Music” on the record player I stole from the high school where I used to teach.
I now live four blocks from one of my favorite coffeehouses and bars in the universe, a block and a half from a place where I can get eggs and toast and coffee and the local history museum and city hall.
Also my anxiety zoomed up, as any reasonable person would expect, but I am not necessarily reasonable.
I am aesthetically obsessed with my new place, perhaps more than usual since I haven’t lived with my own stuff for five years. It’s been in boxes and basements.
A good deal of the time after I moved in was me wandering the apartment, putting up pictures, taking them down, putting up drapes, taking them down, moving furniture slightly, changing the spot for the vase from this spot to that.
And then trying to work, both at my graduate school prep, and my freelance work.
I made the realization, at about eleven last night, that the wall above the mantle must be dark gray. I can’t paint without permission, so I hung a big dark gray drape up there, at twelve feet. I bet it’s quite exciting I bet to see me climb a ladder, or a chair and then a piece of furniture I assume is sturdy enough to support me, to hang things near the 12-foot ceilings in this place.
However, the cat does not care. She’s having a bit of trouble smelling, because she is allergic to dust in her old age. And who knows if she can see?
The fireplace looks amazing with the dark gray up there, though. Suddenly you can see it, it’s black inlaid with something, and an intricate iron grate in front. The grate is broken in half, but you balance it right, and no one can tell.
“Do you want me to glue that for you?” my dad said.
“You have glue that glues iron?”
“I think so,” he said.
“No, you don’t. It’s called fire,” I said.
When I walk to coffee (which I actually have to do, as I no longer own a coffeemaker, silverware, a toaster, dish towels, or a colander), I walk down a street of Victorian and their staider, older homes, all of which I love the pants off of.
One is lavender and looks like a cat lady threw up all over it in a very neat way, another looks straight out of New Orleans, the trim, the squareness, the stateliness, and there is a historic plaque house which has a door with a doorknob at a level for British people or elves, and those square windows that go around windows that make me hot.
My great-grandparents had only one architecturally nice thing in their crackerbox house, a door with square stained-glass panels.
Seriously, I think the house was made from a box of crackers. A cardboard box. Not a tin.
The story was that someone pulled the house up out of a creek with a team of horses.
My apartment is also “flooded with light,” as they say, but seriously, it is. I am swimming in light. And not direct light, but eastern soft light and northern light and a touch of southern, really incredible light. At night, I can watch a stoplight change (I like the red, as well as the don’t walk), and the name of the street on green (Tennessee, which is a great word), and at some angles, just trees, as if I am way out in the country.
It’s basically the complete opposite of a New York City apartment.
I cross the street when cars aren’t coming, while everyone else in this college town stands on the sidewalk patiently like God is watching.
Also I walk too fast here, I can really look like an asshole, but then, I walked too fast in Manhattan, which is one of the saddest realizations I ever came to, that even in Manhattan, one could be walking too fast.
I show less interest in wearing any shoes but flip-flops, and I think my bruised-from-moving and spider-veined legs are sexy, here. Not because I’m young, because I’m recalling that men who like me usually like women like me.
And this is a hippie town. I’m like, why am I even combing my hair?
It took me eight hours to get my internet installed, between the guy being late, and then having a dickens of a time drilling a hole in my wall, climbing out my window onto the roof. He was very tall, speaking of tall people, and also polite and sweet, and thus I did not go in and scream at him, “What the fuck is taking so long?” although at the end I was thinking that. “I would just like to be able to answer a question like, what time does Target close? Or, how can you help your congested cat? without worrying I’ll get another text from Verizon about my data, and I’d like to work and make some fucking money since I am spending money like a bleeding-out patient in an operating theater.
At like 7 pm he finally had the stuff installed, and I ordered food delivered to me like money was no object, and put myself to bed.
I listened to Dax Shepard interviewing Vincent D’Onofrio this morning. Vincent D’Onofrio is not only incredibly sexy, he is also pretty insane. (Probably these things are related, sure.) The guys were talking about having mental health issues, addiction for Shepard and whatever D’Onofrio’s problem is, and about how when you are rich, famous, in love, doing what you love, you can identify your issues because IT’S NONE OF THOSE THINGS.
This caused me, in the shower, to recall that I had every reason to expect my move would cause me to need daily anti-anxiety meds on top of my normal meds, because THIS HAPPENS EVERY TIME I DO SOMETHING REALLY STRESSFUL.
On my way to coffee this morning, I walked straight into a gaggle of police officers. They were all standing on the corner in front of the t-shirt place chatting.
Ten or twenty people had on these t-shirts that said something about art. There was an argument out here about a piece of art that was a flag, and there was some threat that the people mad about the art were going to show up and cause a ruckus, or else a bunch of pro-gun white supremacists were going to show up, particularly on this, the anniversary of that shocking and disgusting display in Charlottesville. Apparently this did happen here about a year ago, people showed up with guns.
I learned this chatting with a woman at coffee.
“I’m sorry, I’ve only lived here for a few days,” I told her. “Maybe next time I can hang out with you guys.”
Image: Design for a Fireplace, Anonymous, British, 19th Century, Metropolitan Museum of Art.