Whatever my flaws–and I have so very many, O blog of my confessions, my life is a crazy quilt of fear and foolishness, no less than anyone else’s, I am shy and judgmental, I hold my grudges closer than lovers and I have never yet learned to fold a fitted sheet–still, whatever one may say, this much you gotta give me.
I keep on getting back up.
Sometimes I don’t particularly want to, sometimes I’m not even sure I can, but still. Every time I get knocked down–and believe me, this year has been like going ten rounds with a Kodiak bear–still I get back up. Even when it’s practically an act of masochism. Up we go. Back on your feet. Yes, yes, life is suffering. Buddha got there first. Enough moping, there’s work to do. Work cures all ills. New apartments don’t unpack themselves. You want to brood? Fine, hang the shower curtain while you’re doing it. Feeling some weeping coming on? Here’s an allen wrench. The bookcases need assembling, and they don’t care about human dramas. No need to pretend to be brave for the bookcase. Snivel if you must, but tighten the screws while you do it.
There are probably better coping mechanisms out there, but it’s what I’ve got, and in its own maladjusted way, it works.
So, I’m into the new apartment, and feeling somewhat better, despite living in a labyrinth of boxes, and making all the sinking realizations you make in the course of unpacking. Like the sinking realization that all your pillows are in San Jose, or that all your clean underwear is in a drawer at your buddy Deb’s house, that you have three shot glasses and no knives, or that your assam tea is sitting on top of a microwave twenty miles away, and you’re reduced to instant apple cider to try and wake up in the morning. (This is not particularly effective.)
Still, the new place isn’t bad. Sure, the pipes scream like rabid tea kettles, and the shower knob has about a quarter inch of give between “scalding” and “frigid,” requiring the delicate touch of a safecracker. Sure, there’s no cutlery drawer, and no medicine cabinet, and the double-wide wheelchair accessible bathroom door is in full view of both windows, meaning that one of the chief joys of living alone–not having to close the bathroom door, ever–is problematic. Still. This is my place.
There’s a few tricks I’ve picked up after more moves than I can count. Hang art. Not all the art, but a couple of pieces at least. Blank walls are dangerous things. Art ties them down and pulls their teeth. Make the bed. Absurd as it seems, a bed with all the pillows and throws and whatnot makes me feel a great deal better. The bedroom is a wreckage of boxes, there is no furniture BUT the bed, but by god, at least something looks good. Get some flowers. And unpack, unpack, unpack.
Best of all, of course, the one great thing–I have Ben back, at long last, and was he ever delighted to see me. He scoured the apartment for ninja holes, checked the boxes carefully (a ninja can survive in storage for up to eighteen weeks, living on styrafoam peanuts and its own urine.) and then located the highest traffic area and laid down in it. Last night, when I finally went to bed, he came in, roamed the bed purring delightedly, and then settled down at my feet. It’s his usual spot, but this time he wedged himself so that the maximum amount of cat spine was pressed against the back of my legs. Every time I moved, he resettled himself accordingly, instead of getting annoyed and stalking off. He didn’t even wake me up to feed him, preferring to stay snuggled full-length against my thigh until it was time to get up.
I’m sure in a few weeks he’ll be standing on my face and yowling at five in the morning, but for now, it’s a wonderful thing.
We get back up. Life goes on.