I just packed my first box! And packing will always be inextricably connected to blogging for me.
There is so much more to say about the house we might be moving into in 30 days, but this post isn’t the sequel to the last one (sorry, Erika, I know you are dying in anticipation).
I’m trying not to be enthusiastic or emotional about the house, because it’s not a done deal until we sign the final papers. We have friends whose house was almost scuttled at settlement because the sellers suddenly couldn’t bear to part with it!
(BTW, sellers, in case you are Googling me for bargaining leverage (which I totally already did for you; how did you like living in Clearwater?), know the same caveat goes for you. I am an emotionally unstable, stubborn, only child with a tiny OCD Godzilla tramping around in the depths of my abdomen. Don’t underestimate my pertinacious self-spite. If you are the slightest bit squirrelly in bargaining I might seriously convince myself I don’t want your house just because of that one wall plate that’s crooked.)
What I am allowing myself to be quite enamored with is the idea of not living here, because even if we don’t buy this particular house, now we know we can buy a house. Any house. We have the money and the know how, and I make mortgage people sweat when I open up my laptop and tell them their “revised” offer actually costs more and that they ought to try again.
(That was pretty awesome, actually.)
Here is hellish. It wasn’t when we got here. It was pleasant. A sunny, mostly-quiet block with the occasional midnight drug deals at the corner that mostly kept to themselves with their impossibly small plastic baggies whose ziplocks are bigger than the bags themselves
Now, not so much. Ever since the hate crime we walk briskly, park out of sight, and regard everyone with cool suspicion.
Things we used to complain about now go uncomplained. I remember when we used to shoo people off of our stoop, or call the police for screaming fights in the middle of the street.
Ever since being vandalized, nothing seems to phase us. It’s not fear, so much as feeling completely apart from a community that could sit around and drink beer while someone shoveled cat shit through our mail-slot.
It’s their home, so if the consensus is in favor of their behavior why bother caring? Tiny barking dogs that live permanently in the yard? Awesome. Blasting wall-shaking music from a car in front of our door at midnight? Go right ahead. Using the sidewalk next door as your wood shop, complete with a table saw? Totally normal.
When we walk into the new house, or any other house we’ve looked at, we always get to a point where E and I share a glance that says, “This is normalcy.” No sidewalk shop calls. A car blasting music would be a front yard away from our door instead of on top of it, and the neighbors would call the police on it in a second.
It’s like we’re waking slowly from sleep to come to our senses.
Last night, when some unidentified figure hurled a bottle at my neighbor’s grandmother as she got out of a car, I allowed myself to be phased. Other neighbors were just standing around. I called 911 and said, “Someone is assaulting an older woman on our block. You need to send several patrol cars.” And then I stood in my doorway and stared down everyone on the street until they all tucked themselves back behind their doors and window shades, stared until the cops had come and questioned and gone.
I stared at the empty street and realized that it went from being home because I felt at home to being home because other people felt at home.
I don’t know about you and the stage of your life you’re currently gaining hindsight on, but it feels like that’s been the story of my recent exisistence – assimilating other people’s annoying, unkind whims just so I can say that life is comfortable.
Well, if I can stare down a mortgage agent in his own office until he lowers my rate, I can sure as hell feel at home in my own home – especially if it’s just for thirty more days.