The slow climb back home

April 26, 2007

It’s happening – the fridge slowly refilling with condiments, the milk crates giving way to shelves found tucked at the back of used furniture stores, the creaks of doors and windows becoming familiar background noise. How I can find my way to the bathroom in the dark. Settling in. The appliance count is up to four now with a washer and dryer. Give me a stud-finder so I can hang my favourite antique mirror and I’m set. That’s not entirely true, I still haven’t found a paper towel holder. Or a dog. The hunt continues – I’ve made a few depressing trips out to the SPCA; dogs endlessly rising to the promise that each person who walks in will be theirs. Hopeful eyes, wagging bums. I cry each time I leave, and not just because I haven’t found the one for me but because I can’t be the one for all of them. Like everyone else, I often imagine what I would do if I won the lottery; I always imagine a sum of at least ten million so that at least one million can go to the SPCA in every city I’ve lived. When my uncle died a few years ago his will asked that donations be made in his name to the local shelter – their house was always full of foster pets, of strays. They never turned an animal away, and eventually moved somewhere large enough to accommodate their menagerie. I found the best friend of my life thus far at a shelter before and am committed to adopting again, but it’s a heartbreaking search. It will be worth it in the end (sharing your life with an animal always is) but each time I go I have to restrain myself from lashing out at strangers on my way home – I find it hard to stomach that I move amongst people, nameless faceless people, that would do something as cruel as chain a dog’s face to an exhaust pipe while the car is running just so they no longer have to take care of it. I can save one right now, and one day a tenure-financed tract of land and I will save more.

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Memory is like fiction; or else it’s fiction that’s like memory. This really came home to me once I started writing fiction, that memory seemed a kind of fiction, or vice versa. Either way, no matter how hard you try to put everything neatly into shape, the context wanders this way and that, until finally the context isn’t even there anymore. You’re left with this pile of kittens lolling all over one another. Warm with life, hopelessly unstable.

-Haruki Murakami, “The Last Lawn of the Afternoon”

Bonheur d’un Flaneur

April 15, 2007

I’m alone again. Boxes have been unpacked (except some that were crammed unceremoniously into the closet at the end of Moving Day Two), my enormous new beast of a table now dominates my dining room, and all I hear are my fingers on the keys and the whirr of the fridge (I now own appliances! An apron must surely be next). Art has been hung, books (and more books, and yet more books) have been shelved, and when I look around at a space that is entirely mine I exhale with real, instinctual happiness. Not to disparage my former roommate in any way – my joy at living alone again has everything to do with me. My phone and internet have yet to be reconnected (I’m currently pilfering someone’s unsecured wifi), and the past few days of dropping out of range of everyone but myself were by this point very necessary. I need me right now. It’s been one hell of a semester, and the dust is still settling. I made it, and sitting amidst the genuine quiet I’m not entirely sure how I managed – or even if I did. I made a string of poor choices based on a laughable over-estimation of my capabilities and capacities. But this change of scenery… it’s a simple shift in perspective that I can already feel. I know that the newness will wear off and this will just become home, but that’s part of what I’m anticipating. I haven’t felt at home in a long time, and there’s something about this configuration of space, this neighbourhood, that’s already tugging at that part of my heart. Proximity to train tracks and waterways. The old warm wood permeating the apartment. The money set aside in lieu of painting, of a washer and dryer, of cable, of high-speed internet, for a new canine best friend. I miss Isis every day, and the past few months especially. Dogs bring a certain kind of companionship made up of unconditional love and unrelenting get-outsideness that you forget is essential until you need it most. The SPCA is near the top of my to-do list, after a bathmat and before a paper-towel holder.

Lasts

April 12, 2007

Day of school.
March up the stairs at the Papineau metro.
Nap on the daybed.
Run in the park.
Day of cable.

Migrate the blog. Not just to mildly protest that my pretty, labour-intensive graphic has disappeared, but also to set up categories (there’s something satisfying about classifying and organizing – I can see why structuralism caught on). One of the biggest categories will no doubt be ‘Feminism,’ and I’ll put stuff like this in it – a reminder that women are still demeaned when we speak out in public, that our sexuality is still viciously policed, that our most culturally acceptable choice is still to be quiet and modest lest we be seen as ‘asking for it.’ Grrrrr.