My Cradle of Friends rock my fear,confusion, attitude, confidence, and spirit. Thank you for sharing the storm. I will bring my light back because of you.
ADVENTURES IN LIVINGNESS FALL ON… moving without a new address. This is the pinnacle of the If Girl, an identify that suits me. I’ve met dozens of men and women who are transitioning from one local to another, one partner to another, one pet to another, the if is the true arch of our character. If we reach to high we may end up with a knock on the head, if we reach to low we disappoint ourselves. If you are not moving internally, well, I guess you are happy where you are. I’ve never known that. Maybe its the writer in me, without conflict what to write about?
Direction is a choice; move back home, move near your children, move for a job, but in my case I move because my act in Santa Fe has closed. I’m like a space between two paragraphs; a blank slate sounds romantic, no commitments or tangible responsibilities my home is rented and so like a nomad, I’m searching for a new beginning. Some say its an adventure, some say the answer will come in time, as I lay my head down on a hotel pillow, the interim is asking me to be peaceful, as my belongings are reduced to a partial wardrobe, my cat, three books, and my coffee maker.
Its like when I went off to college, a liberating extension of those early days when belonging to things didn’t matter, life mattered. If you are single and without children this is the knife that we must slice into a piece we accept, or no peace at all.
AWAKENING TO AN UNFAMILIAR REALITY. Ten years and two months I’ve nested in one place. Where once the red white and blue lights twinkled on the house and along the spruce tree, music circulated a crowd of friends and neighbors on the porch, and we danced in the street. It’s all wrapped up in a journal, words that I can read if I wish to remember. I don’t. The past crawls up my spine like a spider trying to weave me into its web.
SARATOGA SPRINGS 2012
Clarity, comfort, security, ambition and love are broken wings. I have to redesign how I think, calculate a direction that will return me to adventures in livingness.
I’ve never been a woman who dated. There is too much pretense and preparation. My preference is to just meet him by circumstance, become friends for at least a few weeks, and then either we are inseparable or separate. Dates are like the holidays, a whoosh of expectation. Had my attitude been more flexible and my social presence more waggish, I could have met more men. They don’t have to be long-term commitments, or marriage, just friends.
The freedom of traveling solo was the prong of my selfishness in my thirties, not anymore. As the curtain drops on romanticism of solo adventure, it’s really second place to romancing with a partner.
Singleness after several years is feeling the chill , envy of couples embracing in laughter, staring into a wedding party as if it was a fairytale, dining alone with the TV, laptop, or music as my audience, but worse of all is wearing the wicked blue robe! The one that feels like a blanket and looks like it should be thrown out.
The actuality of my detachment from a relationship, is posted everywhere and it is neon bright in my head. When this singleness sinks my spirit, I take a bath. Women you know, if you drop down and eliminate, the room that may not be as you please, or a phone call, text, beep, and soak out everything, it is bliss.
Freedom is the bait and the blessing. I can do, go, think, act, without argument or alarm. I have always been more observer than joiner. Even in High School, in a gang of ten gals and guys I continually turned down invitations, or bowed out at the last-minute.
If you are a dreamer like me; youth doesn’t end, people don’t end, ambitions and passions still erupt and the blood in my veins boils to reinvent, redecorate, and relocate. All of those choices are upon me.
SEASONAL AND SENSUAL OVERTURE TO REVERIE.
SUMMER is not a memory yet; my skin too sensitive, and my heart still attached to the moments. I’ve misplaced my journals and so I have to read my to-do list to recall the events. Let’s go back to June; well my head was bent like a candle wick in this memoir. By then I was into the first rewrite, the worst of the next ten. That first one is deceivingly promising, the chapters line up, the suspense tickled, and it was five-hundred pages. The first draft was actually two books, as I dared to try and run the 100 meter in two different directions.
I must have had some standout memories, but I don’ recall June being amusing. Writing about my deceased parents was not summer reading. A year had already passed since I began, and I was now at the last stretch. My sense of completion was annoying. I began to hate the word focus. My body ached for water, in any form, a pool, a river, and the ocean. June was also the month when rejection letters arrived. For a moment, I’d forgotten. Whoa! Stay away from LouLou, her nerves are visible! On the flip, it was also acceptance of those letters. I had to prove to myself that I could take it, and continue writing.
Outside my window, Palace Avenue raised to motorcycles, skateboarders, conversational bicycle riders, and families out for a walk. My concentration was beguiled. So I turned on the fan, the loud kind that screens the room in a hum. I tried to imagine as waves just after they have capitulated into bubbles.
Memorial weekend was gemstone sunlit of color and clarity. I’d decided to break and go to a party at La Posada. Yes, that was my first grasp of summer, the sudden appearance of flowers, greenness of the landscape, flowers, and light. I think it was warm enough to sit outdoors all night. We were not yet ready to kick and scream, it was more of a real memorial kind of party. For our troops who finally are reaching us through the news, the films, and the books.
Most every evening I’d walk across the street to La Posada, have a glass of wine while listening to the chattering guests, age-out themselves by immobilizing a very liberated and young spirit. It’s a beautiful sight. Most people in my experience, come to Santa Fe and strip down to vulnerable. They invite conversation and are genuinely interested. I am asked, ‘What’s it like living in Santa Fe?’ To be continued.
IT’S UNLIKE ANY OTHER CITY I’VE EXPERIENCE.D It’s called the city different, it is also the city difficult. She ( I see Santa Fe in the feminine gender) has to be treated gently. Her weather patterns resemble a menopausal woman,her stature demands respect, and she can be congenial and patient.
You can walk this city as if it were a neighborhood. If you do that consistently you’ll meet people, and get to know them. Unless you’re like me, a standoffish fast walker dazed by the outdoors.
If you’re dazed and illusional you can master this city very well, as the drowsy pace and cordiality allow freakish freedom. I ‘ve seen the liberating soul of Santa Fe, teenagers racing down the middle of a commercial street one foot on the skateboard, bad-ass bikers talking with bad-ass cops, women with parrots on their shoulder, dogs in baby carriages, cats in a bag, and women on horseback galloping up Palace Avenue.
At night you’ll see raging midnight ramblers dancing on the sidewalk, and all of this is appealing to an LA transplant. I have driven in my robe, danced in the street and broken the heels on most of my shoes because of the pot-holes. They are always working on a street, but never the sidewalks. I ‘ve been bounced out of the locals night-howl El Farol for accidently pushing a dancer, who knew the manager, who came running after me and took down my license plate.
So many of us are loners, the serious kind, that have to be rigged out of our nests. Luckily I live on a commercial street and have no choice but to be commercially friendly. After nine years, my seasonal behavior is obvious: sprite in summer, blissful in fall, giddy in spring, and withdrawan in winter. I’ve learned patience, understanding, and adopted a mixture of cultural traditions. I’m close to fifty percent certain I’ll miss Santa Fe terribly when I do leave.
Has living in Santa Fe given me more than I’ve given back? Yes, it has and that’s why when I’m asked what’s it like living in Santa Fe, I try to reveal the blessings here and not the bullshit.
Intersections between mid-late-life adults with youth; anyone under the age of forty is an adventure in livingness. I remember strangers that counseled; passed on a prized preface to life.
It was my first solo trip to Europe. Emboldened with the freedoms in every cupboard of life: abandoned career, home, and possessions I lived out of a suitcase for about a year. Three of those months were in Ireland, France, and Italy.
I was dining in Venice, alone, down to coupon crushing finances and no interest in going back to the USA. The rise to relocate plunged a new view ; find a job in a glass foundry or a museum, and rent a little room in Venice. The Venetians of my age, artistic, independent, and humanely trusting enchanted a woman who’d been sharking San Diego in commercial real estate. I got eaten alive. Venice was the shore that I wanted to curl around and become fluent in Italian, learn to cook, and wrap a scarf.
I was standing next to a bar-bistro melting in the lustrous conversational elan’ when a couple in their sixties approached me. The corner of the bar waxed us in and for the next hour, that man changed the direction of my life.
” Yea, I knew you were American. Where you live?
” San Diego.”
” Oh! I’d move there if I could. ” I cannot recall where they lived other than the Midwest.
“What kind of work do you do in San Diego?” He shouted.
“I was in commercial real estate–leasing and marketing.”
” Good for you! That’s a great career.”
” It was. I want to live here… in Venice
He set his wine on the counter, I remember that, and pulled at his trousers or tie, and then he said, “What would you do here?”
” I don’t know yet?”
” You can’t beat what you left. Are you crazy?”
Before I answered he continued a breathless sermon peddling the virtues of my life; not jumping into a fantasy, and to forget about moving to Venice. My references to challenge, adventure and change met more opposition than I’d expected. He deplored my naiveté. “You shouldn’t go through with it. San Diego has the best climate. It’s coming up in the world, not just a little getaway resort. If I were your father I’d bring you back myself. ”
They departed when his wife begged him to calm down and I returned to the evening’s allure. There was a scar left, an abrasion of my plan. Over the next few days, I met a group of Venetians, younger than me. After revealing my plan to live in Venice, they drew me into their group. I haven’t any diary of Venice, so the names and dialogue are absent. The memory is vague, a collage of framed vignettes. We went to a friend’s apartment, who had a spare room to rent. This friend, a young man with speedy senses whipped me around the apartment. He spoke English, with saucy speed, and he had more friends. By the end of the evening, I was tumbling in a wave of stimulation. It was too much too soon. The next week I was in Milan unknowingly colliding with Fashion Week.
After three months, my wardrobe was wasted from hem to neckline. My shoes: a pair of lace up boots, lace-up sandals, and flats. I landed in Milan at the Train station, and then where did I go? OH I remember. It was my last night with Julius; my traveling European Chef companion. We stayed at Relais & Châteaux, selections for three weeks. We dined and slept in surroundings that dubbed European film sets. I was dazzled and too overfed.
The last night with Julius was in a very chef gathering restaurant, busy waiters, lots of background noise; the place to say goodbye and not cry. After dinner, we strolled around the Piazza and window shopped.
” Look at these shoes. I’ve never seen shoes like this-not even in Beverly Hills. ” Julius chuckled at my unworldly impressionable outbursts. He enjoyed educating me on all things European.
” In Italy shoes are the most important part of the wardrobe.”
” You mean seriously. ” I asked.
” Oh Yes. They will judge you by your shoes. Not every one of course, but the important types will.”
The next morning I rose to the uncertainty of traveling without Julius. That’s when I got on a train headed for Annecy, France. I have no memory why Annecy, other than the couple I met at Lake Maggoire who might have suggested I visit the Southeastern part of France before going to Paris.
All of them. I mean all ages, classes, genders, and sexes. Single people must be brave; they do not have a partner to hold on to when THE LIGHTS GO OUT. The eye of the United States Government knows we are single. Why are we not included in your speeches, legislation, and laws??