When I was studying English and Literature at the Community College, I was convinced I wanted to do nothing else but read, write, and talk about books for the rest of my life. I wanted to teach, interact with others who shared the same passion. I found an intense connection with literary theory and enjoyed the exercise of pulling stories apart from many different perspectives. It taught me a valuable lesson-I could listen to an idea, let it roll around in my head, understand it, even apply it, but not have to adopt it as indisputable fact. That is a powerful feeling and an idea I wish more people understood.
Since I needed to absorb every ounce of information I could, I never discarded textbooks. I wrote notes in the margins and transferred those notes into journals, thinking that this would all come in handy once I began teaching.
My time at the University of Utah sucked out my desire to be an academic. I hated the pretense of it. My experience had been that you went to class to learn, not show off what you already knew. I struggled to adapt to that sort of classroom experience and soon grew tired of it. Gone was the idea of teaching at the Jr. college level or any teaching at all. I couldn’t see myself sitting through graduate course work, where I was supposed to be impressed by the ramblings of my fellow students as they tried to enter the academic conversations, which in all honesty seemed to be about debunking others, not contributing more information.
Lucky for me, I found the library.
The collector in me still could not discard those text books. They sit on a book shelf across from where I type this blog. They are like tattoos in that they remind me of specific things, and they are difficult to remove. My library school books share the same space. Both are certainly completely irrelevant to any current academic study, but I like to pretend they have value beyond the personal.
Why do we trust our memory when it often proves to be unreliable?
My father claims to never forget anything, and that curse keeps him up at night, constantly going over moments that are decades old, slightly haunted. And how can I disagree with him when my only argument is evidence from my own head? I still think he forgets, reconstructs, contextualizes the same way the rest of us do, regardless of his sincere belief in the unaltered, untainted quality of his recollections.
But so what? We all do the same on some level, all hold to some version of events that paints things in a particular color.
What does this say about the grudges, the thrills, the angry moments, the blissful things? The passage of time changes everything, especially our memory. Our perspectives have changed and therefore the way we see our past changes. It is not necessarily a good or bad thing; it just is.
None of this changes the events we experienced or makes the things that have hurt any less painful or any less real, whatever real means. Perhaps that is all that really matters-what is real to us-and everything else should just fade away.
I don’t even remotely believe that.
I am back. Internet is active and I can once again use my laptop for blogging purposes. Hooray!
The move is over.
Most of the stuff made it from one house to the other. The few things that didn’t are replaceable (picture frame glass and the like). All the furniture arrived safely, including the piano, all thanks to Rocky Mountain Movers . The last two times we moved (apartment to house, house to here), these fine gents have sweated and broken their backs making sure our Piano was moved carefully and safely. I highly recommend them.
For all the smoothness of the listing, selling, purchasing of the new home, getting settled has been a bit of a bother. Problems with cable and internet providers, summer colds and the dog needing some surgery, a severe lack of adequate shelving for dvd’s, dealing with the price of window coverings (wow), have made the transition wavy, but these are minor complaints. They will work themselves out and soon enough, all of this fade and routines will begin-school, work, friends, life.
Far more difficult-the unexpected heartbreak I experienced leaving the old house. I knew it was going to be difficult but I can admit to being completely unprepared for the agony I felt as I locked the doors, leaving that part of my life behind.
The day the movers came, I was distracted, excited, busy. That night, as I lay in my new room, new bed, new everything, I was overcome with a deep depression. One sentence-“We have made the worst mistake in our lives.” Over and over those words ran through my head. I could see them in stark black on a white background and the sickness I felt drove sleep from me.
The next morning I felt better, but still had to return to Commonwealth Avenue to clean and lock up the house. What struck me most-opening the front door and after one day being vacant, the house already smelled abandoned, like a home that has been sitting for months, waiting for new people. It surprised me how all trace of us could be erased so quickly; not just our things, but the familiar smells of our lives.
I wandered the rooms a few more times before leaving, touching walls, fixtures, windows and cabinets. I walked the perimeter of the house, taking in the smell of the flowers and plants, the textures of leaves. I took one last shot on the basketball hoop (which I made, of course), took several photos, then went inside. I locked the front bolt, and set the keys on the kitchen counter. Walking out the back made it less difficult, but the sound of the door clicking shut had a finality that still overwhelms me.
Seventeen years of my live, most of my marriage and most of my adult life spent in that area (five at an apartment near 9th and 9th, twelve years in the house I was leaving behind). Losing that much stability, that much structure and routine, it made perfect sense that I would feel the loss deeply. Some of it, perhaps the most important parts, I can’t verbalize yet.
Each day in the new place, that feeling subsides. I don’t think I will ever lose it completely, but the happiness I feel in my new office with all my things, walking the halls and rooms of my wonderful new home cannot be denied. I love it here and I love it more the longer I am here. It is becoming home.
Soon enough, everything will be put away and we will plan our housewarming extravaganza! Anyone who wants to come look will be more than welcome. Right now, I am thinking a Friday night party with drinks and music, followed by a Saturday day open house sort of thing. Let me know to which you would like to be invited (both is an acceptable answer).