Do you ever let yourself sit somewhere so long that the room grows cold and dark around you? And suddenly you're uncomfortable and you don't know why? You would be so much happier if you just got up, turned on a light and donned a sweater, but you can't move. You've been there so long already, so there you stay, depending on your own limbs to warm each other. You are hopeful yet afraid that your roommate will come home, possibly with a friend you don't know, and find you sitting alone in the dark."Uh, hey?" they'd say.
And you would snap back to life.
In the months since I moved to San Francisco, I've let myself sink into an excess of stuff in just this same way, and suddenly I realized I was drowning. Piles of crap in the corners of my room, my closet regurgitating countless identical tee shirts that had been chewed up and digested, but that I thought I might one day use again. The thing is, when your bedroom is only a 10x10 square with one small closet, you can't afford to accumulate in the way that I do.
I love to wander through thrift stores and pick up $1 frames or funky knickknacks that are just like the ones I see on design blogs and would be oh! perfect! in some eclectic but clean arrangement on a beautiful bookshelf or brick wall that I might one day have. But I don't have that bookshelf now and I don't have the space/time/money/energy to commit to making my temporary month-to-month apartment look like Pinterest (oh god, the pretty of it all). I just don't care quite enough, because most of the time I'm not at home anyway. That's the thing about being 25, you do stuff, so you don't need to own quite so much of it. And you know? When I do have that beautiful bookshelf, that perfect wall or room, there will still be knickknacks out there for the finding.
So upon my return from 2 weeks on the East coast, when I realized I couldn't even unpack because I didn't know how I would put anything away, I set to work purging. I am getting rid of stuff and plan to make due with what I have. My place is nice enough for what it is, so I'll just keep changing out the fresh flowers and, for now, stop collecting junk. I cleaned out my closet and my dresser, I rearranged my bedroom furniture for the third time and have finally found a set-up I like. The hard drive on my computer is full to bursting, so I'm finally going through and deleting all the duplicates and duds from a 6-year-old, 20,000+ file backlog in my iPhoto. I'm growing out my bangs and gettingthehairoutofmyfacegoddammit.
But still, I've stowed away those piles of cheap frames and knickknacks because one day? I am going to do this:
I am I am I am.
Here's a little red, white & blue that I found around New York and DC. We're making corn on the cob, potatoes, asparagus, brownies, and of course some sweet tea vodka + lemonade, before heading up to the roof to watch the fireworks above the Washington Monument. Not too shabby. Hope you're all celebrating in style!
A trucker just drove past with a dog in the passenger seat and an alligator head on the dashboard and I am in a bus bound for Washington DC. The sky is gray and the highway is flanked by green and we are somewhere in Pennsylvania or New Jersey or Delaware. American flags hang from cranes stopped from their work and I am going to see how the 4th of July is really done.
This week I’ve learned that in only six months, San Francisco has made me forget how it feels to be hot, to be sweaty and sticky and to surrender to the oppressive warmth of the atmosphere. San Francisco has made me forget what it feels like to be outside in the middle of the night in sandals and a dress and walk slowly down the street, because there’s no other way to be on a summer night in Manhattan than relaxed. It’s so warm that it feels like someone’s taking care of you, like they’ve brought the evening to the exact temperature you need to feel alive. Like they’ve put the drum circle and the fountain and the laughter in Washington Square Park because they knew you’d be passing through, because they knew you wanted to feel like you were in some kind of heaven.
And you know what else they have here? Fireflies. Someone teased me when I stopped the conversation to point them out, the little floating lights that come and go. They teased me but I hadn’t seen fireflies since a summer in Michigan when I was 12, and to me they are magic.
Living in San Francisco has made me forget what summer means, but can despite all the beauty in New York – the heat and the life and the streets of trees and brick – can I tell you what leaving San Francisco has done? Made me want to go back.