Eleven Days

Hi everyone! Happy New Year. I’m back from vacation, and I hate Seattle.

Maybe I don’t really hate it. It’s just that it’s rainy and dark and cold and I have to go to work and sit in an office for eight hours a day. My mom is nowhere to be found to make me sandwiches and to tuck me into bed. There’s no beach. It’s too hilly here for me to pretend like I can ride a one-speed red bike. I have to pay bills and I never get to see the Key Girls.

Also, I get kind of depressed or something, apparently. On the upside, I do have my own room and the Thai food is really good.

I got off the plane yesterday and had this weird jet-set age moment…like, how is it that this morning I was across the country, taking pictures in my mom’s garden, and then I sat in a metal box for eight hours, and then I got out of the metal box and was cold and then I got into a bed that was familiar but not so very familiar? How come when I was at my mom’s house I kind of recognized everything and I knew everyone and I had a history with everyone I saw, but I still had to borrow shirts because I packed badly (again)? How does that work? How can it be that I am so far away from people I love, and how can it be that I have a life here, and that it’s actually a life that I’m enjoying quite a bit lately, thanks for asking? I don’t get it.

I’ve said before that one of the smarter things I did when I moved to Seattle from California was to drive there. I didn’t feel this weird where-am-I shock, because by the time I got there, I knew how, exactly, I’d done it. I’d gotten on the 5 and then driven north, stopped in Davis, stopped at Mount Shasta because it was so gorgeous, stopped in Medford, Oregon, and talked to my mom long distance in Costa Rica, got sweaty and tired and slap happy and listened to a good book on tape. When you fly back in forth between your former home and your current home, you just read a couple of books and drink some cranberry juice with ginger ale and then you’re there, and you have to dig out your keys and listen to your messages and realize you should have thrown out that thing of yogurt before you left, without quite being able to process that this morning, you woke up there, and now, somehow, you’re here.

Well, okay. I’m blabbering now. Enough about rips in the space-time continuum, want to know what I did in Miami while I was there? Nothing, that’s what! I just sat around and biked around and looked at ducks and iguanas and saw Key Girls and spent sweet afternoons with my mom and cooked and saw a movie and went shopping, briefly, and went to bed early and got up late, and generally enjoyed myself in a very quiet and peaceful way. I didn’t update very often because for a while there wasn’t anything to really write about (“Dear Diary, Today I woke up and hung out and read a book and ate food and now I’m going to bed, love from Chiara”) and then for a while I was too busy to sit in front of a computer to record all the fun things I was doing. I completely forgot about work, so much so that when I came up the elevator this morning I had to think hard about what floor my office is on.

I went to a spa with the Key Girls and got a pedicure and a massage. I ended up doing a little therapy with the dude who was giving me the massage…and let me stress, it was the second massage I’ve got from a guy in recent memory, and while the massage itself was nice, I couldn’t help thinking (when I wasn’t giving him a little free career counseling) like a fourteen-year-old: “A boy is seeing my boobies!” And then I thought that he should at least buy me dinner first, and then I thought that it was the first time I’d ever provided therapy while topless. And then I fell into a disgust-induced coma because I imagined doing topless therapy with some of my other clients and it was so horrible that I, well, fell into a coma. So I think from now on I’m going to request women massage therapists. Women massage therapists that don’t have a need to talk about the spectrum of alternative health care careeer options and their place in it, as well as the psychosocial pros and cons of each option, while I’m naked and oily on the table. I always say that if I’m going to be naked and oily with someone, I at least want the discussion to be a little more interesting than “Orthopedics or Physical Therapy: Which Is Right For You?” I think the discussion should be limited to “You Are Very Pretty, and What Kind Of Aromatherapy Shall I Provide For You Now? And Here Are Some Stretches To Try.”

I saw some people I used to know in high school, all of whom are more beautiful, succesful, and funny than me. I went on a really fun boat ride with all the Key Girls and our respective kissy-boys. I had a quiet and low-key New Year’s which involved homemade jerk chicken and the beach, as well as the realization, again, that I don’t like champagne. I think this is going to be wreak havoc with my only New Year’s resolution: to take to drink. I was going to start making bathtub gin and slur around in curlers and a silk wrapper, kind of like Miss Hannigan in Annie, my lifestyle guide of choice. I just can’t get around the fact that I just hate the taste of alcohol. I have no idea why. I mostly just hung out and loved everyone I was with all the time.

Eleven days can be a long or a short time. It’s long enough to remember how you used to be when you were a teenager living on a resort-y island, and too short to spend the amount of time you’d like to with everyone you want to spend time with. It’s long enough to get into the habit of riding a little red bike everywhere, and long enough to let the realities of your life across the country fade gently away. It’s long enough to see that some parts of your other life will never fit in with this life you’ve stopped living, where it’s warm all the time and you don’t have to go to work, and where there are fantastic flowers and animals and your oldest friends in the world, all there together. It’s short enough to make you wish, fervently, that everyone and everything you love could somehow exist within a one hour drive from you. It’s too short for all the fun things you want to do and all the stories you want to tell and everything you meant to do while you were there.

So here I am, after eleven days, back again in this place and this point in time I’ve chosen, hoping I can assimilate back into living here (“I guess I should wear a sweater today, or something?”) and not feel the wrench of having bits of your heart scattered over the country. One of these days, my friends, I’m going to figure it all out somehow, how to get all the pieces of me into one identifiable whole…but eleven days wasn’t, sadly, enough time to do that just yet.

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