27 apr... Boston
out the window
So we upgraded for next to nothing to a truck we both call the Hoopdee Mobile. It' s a 2001 Ford F150 4x4 with a crew cab [this means four doors, which means a ton of room, and also means two small people could sleep in it, if one of them was not my sister, who does not sleep in trucks, but is otherwise an ideal travelling companion]. It had nine miles on it when I picked it up; it now has 3,200 or so. It is huge and white and looks like some badass marshmallow cruising down the highway at 85 MPH. It attracts stares. Then it attracts double-takes when people notice it is being driven by two women. If you have ever seen the stupid TV commercial with the four hottie girls and a pizza who pick up the dejected bicyclists in the woods after they wreck their bikes -- this is that truck.
We made it to Boston in six days, arriving today in the morning. Stopped along the way in Missoula Montana, Glendive Montana, Saint Cloud Minnesota, Chicago IL, Olean New York, and Amherst MA. As per usual, my camera has disks and I am writing this on an iMac. I have many good pictures, they will keep.
The funniest part of the trip -- besides just general hilarity involved in driving this behemouth and travelling with my sister who is like an identical twin in more ways than not -- was getting out of the truck at Wal-Mart [yes, I am going to hell, more on that later] to photograph the Amish buggy in the parking lot [toilet paper, they bought the big economy size] and hearing some mother telling her young child "no, you can't be allergic to hippies" Talking about me? Who can tell.
Sunday I pick up my companion for the trip home. He has blue hair and is not old enough to drink. If nothing else, he can take the attention off of me and my overalls.
And now ... the girl with no sense of direction is embarking on a three week road trip armed with a GPS, a map and a trusty co-pilot. Wish her luck, sporadic updating, perhaps.
I saw Memento the other night and have been thinking a lot about the pervasiveness of memory and flaws in same. For example, I don't know my left from my right. At all . Ever. Giving people directions involves me closing my eyes and rotating my imaginary field of vision until I am at each intersection, and holding my hand out until I can identify which one it is. Standard mnemonics [like the one pictured] do not work. I have to remember which arm I broke in elementary school [the left one] or pick up a pencil [I am right-handed] to really get it. When I am trying to think real hard to figure it out, it feels like my brain is skip-skip-skipping over the area it needs to access to give me the answer.
I also don't know east from west, though north and south is no problem. Same with up and down, no problem. And -- this is the part that really bugs me -- I can add and multiply, but am really bad at subtraction and division. The issue has something to do with pairs of items where the distinction is [to me] arbitrary. Like if I know a pair of siblings equally well and neither one stands out in my mind, I will confuse their names. If one has a tattoo or one is my friend and the other isn't, then it's no problem.
I used to think that this was a brain problem -- some busted synapse or little brain lesion on just the part of my brain that deals with such distinctions. Now I'm beginning to think it has something to do with memory. Like, I know how to figure it out, I just can't remember how to match the named with the name. Not like this helps and woe be to those who have to get directions from me.
Someone emailed asking for a P/Zesto update. She's fine and awaiting my arrival in MA when I will either take her up to VT, or leave her in the good care of my Mom's roomate Pat who has been her close companion lo these many months. Incidentally, Pat's birthday was this past Friday and I totally spaced it, so Happy Birthday Pat! Thanks for taking wonderful care of my cat and I hope you continue to feel better.
Yeah so I've spent so much time on my friend's web site learning CSS and SSI and whatthehellever that I've been neglecting mine. Lately this site has gotten a bunch of traffic for a page I put up years ago and it's making me realize that there are parts of it that are getting behind. The what's new page shows I haven't added anything new in months, and I don't even have a webcam in my new place, not yet.
So stuff starts to get chaotic next Friday and until then I am in the paralyzing state of having to wait and see on a number of different things -- how the place in VT is doing, how stuff will fit in the truck, how a long trip with my sister will be, how leaving Seattle will be -- which is making me posititvely torpid with seven kinds of delayed anticipation. I did get a co-pilot for the trip back -- my friend Nick from my former job -- who I think I've only been in a car with once before.
I stopped in at my old house to see if the landlord really was planning to rent it. The last day I was there was the day I handed over the keys. When I went back yesterday, the place was exactly how I left it, except some shutters had been placed against the front windows so people couldn't peep inside. Electricity is on, water is on, snappy refigerator is still keeping phantom beer cool, house is empty. I walked around, got creeped out, grabbed my old futon, and split. I often used to wonder how abandoned houses wound up that way and I am starting to get a glimpe of the answer....
Portland was a blast. Caught a last minute seder, saw a librarian friend's pictures from Cuba, and got to hear someone say "hold the baby while I take this nitrous hit" I even got a ride back home late last night ... where I found that the bicycle storage room I call home was still looking a lot like a bicycle storage room. Apparently the basketball flooring had a lot of nails that needed to be removed. I am at the point in my thinking on this where I still feel lucky just to have a place to sleep that is over fifty degrees at night, but I may need to start adjusting that expectation upward. Like, if you're paying cheap rent -- and let me assure you my rent is still cheap -- do you start paying it even if you are sleeping in your sleeping bag on a mat in a storage room? I honestly have no idea what the protocol is in these situations.
So April 20th my sister arrives and on April 21st we pack a large amount of my stuff into a rental truck and drive east. She's had her license for a total of six months or so, should be a serious adventure. Then I come back [drive?] here in the beginning of May for four days and then off to VT for the summer. At this point, all I'm looking for is someplace to go get the chill out of my bones for a solid week or two and a bedroom with a door that closes.
I just learned from a friend that my ex-landlord may be trying to rent out the Fight Clubhouse for $410/mo, deadly heating system intact. I ratted him out. Meanwhile, the extra set of keys I had kept to the place seem to have gone to Amsterdam for the weekend. Have fun, keys!
Myself, I am going to Portland to avoid basement construction and decompress after the truly awful news that my caretaker -- who had been fine up to this point, a bit manic-depressive, a bit non-communicative, but still -- gave me 48 hours notice that she is leaving my house in VT. Now, after I got confirmation from her in mid-March that she'd stay through April [rent-free for April, mind you] I made many non-refundable non-returnable travel plans. She didn't even have the guts to call me, had a friend send me an email. When I finally got a call from her yesterday [nothing like calling every three hours to make someone answer the phone] she seemed to think it was one big communication problem and that we were equally culpable for the problems that arose. I disagreed but it was neither here nor there. When someone's best excuse is "well, it just clicked, I had to go" there's not much room for rational conversation.
I am never doing anyone a favor that can be expressed in monetary terms again.
Meanwhile, I settle in here as much as is practical and plan to drive cross-country with my sister and my stuff in a few weeks. There's a greenbelt behind my new house and I tried to take a shortcut home by walking through it. The greenbelt quickly deteriorated into a total jungle and, somewhere after I saw the abandoned treehouse, I realized I would have to crash through someone's backyard in order to get out of it. I had no idea where my house was but thought I could find it more quickly from the road. I settled on some small house with no one home and as I sprang from the undergrowth and walked through the terraced gardens to the garage door I realized the garage door was locked and I was on the wrong side of it! I'm wearing my typical troublemaker uni form of overalls, boots and my shoulder bag [and mud, a lot of mud at this point]. I get around to the front yard, and begin walking up the street when a guy comes out of the front door saying "what were you doing?" I gave him my best "howdy neighbor" grin and explained myself and apologized for scaring him [a good way to keep angry people from yelling at you, I've found]. He grumbled and went back inside. My first neighborly interaction.
This morning when I woke up, I could say "this is my new home" then I rolled over and looked at the eight bicycles I was sharing my room with and realized I had a way to go. One of the bicycles was mine, at least. Last weekend my roomate bought an old basketball floor, hundreds of 2 1/4" maple strips, all the old paint still intact. This weekend he is planning to lay the flooring in the current bike room, which will eventually be other other roomate's bedroom. The other roomate is still living luxuriously in his current room, eventually to be my new room. My current room is the couch. Following me so far? Fortunately, I love couches.
Yesterday I traded the key to my old place for a sizeable check. I'm working on a photo essay with all the spooky pictures I took of the old place. With the exception of glass jars and gallons of paint, I -- and my assembled team of superheroes -- moved all my stuff in one trip [several cars and trucks] before the rain settled in. One friend put it like this "Let me get this straight, I work for an hour, carry a few things, and you have donuts waiting for me, give me a set of encyclopedias, and buy me lunch!? When are you moving again?"