My property is divided into three parts. Part one, roughly 75% of it, lives about 15 city blocks northwest in a storage space. Part two, about 20%, lives at my friend’s house while the other 5% lives at John’s place. I have become exceptionally good at leaving enough between my friend’s and John’s to effectively live between the two with ease. Well, relative ease. Every now and again, John refers to something in his place as “ours” which is kind but honestly, I know that it’s his apartment. Everything in it is his. The furnishings, the food and ingredients, the keys, the elevator, the address. I had my mail forwarded here but aside from my random piles and two drawers in his bureau, I’m pretty much camping. He’s been remarkably ok with it but every now and again I need to be among my things, and I’ll tell you now that I’m not above crawling into my storage space to “look for ____” even if it means just touching the stuff that was resting so comfortably in my home only six weeks ago.
So I gather what few bucks I have (that tale to come) and hop on the train northwest to my friend’s house where my bed, dresser, few random boxes and small stack of books rest. I open the door, turn off the alarm, walk back to my bedroom and collapse onto my made bed. Because my friend doesn’t have a TV and my laptop’s fan recently died, I plug my phone into the charge and lie back to surf the internets and check my email. Also because he doesn’t put the heat on, I promptly crank my mattress pad to 11 and crawl under the blankets (which is particularly cozy). I’ve spent hours and hours in that position watching Netflix, reading news, napping on and off, considering life as a wandering gypsy. I’ve come to this: it sucks.
When I left Cleveland, I knew I did not have a job waiting for me in Chicago though several resumes preceded me. After arriving, many dozens flew out of my poor laptop. Crickets. Two emails and two interviews. Out of maybe 80-95 resumes sent. Welcome to job hunting in the modern age, right? Down to my last $15, I bought a few groceries for John’s and kept my fingers crossed. Soon that turned into $8, $8 which I still have and cannot spend in case I’ve somewhere to be that is too far to walk.
Well, now I do. I haven’t put this out publicly yet (read: Facebook and Twitter) but because I’m rather convinced not many people read this thing, I’ll say it here. I’ve finally been hired. She emailed on Friday last to say so, and that I’d have a formal offer in my inbox “within the week”. It’s about 16 hours from “within the week” to “at the minute” but nothing has come through yet. I know it wasn’t a lie, I’ve met with them twice and I know it will be a good fit but let’s just say there’s a reason they needed to hire an assistant (read: Me). Meanwhile this cherished $8 sits in my bank account, waiting to be freed to fund my first few trips there and when that’s gone, I’m walking. As an aside, I kinda love this freakish winter because it means I don’t have to trudge through snow to get anywhere. Huzzah!
Hmm, this entry sounds Debbie Downer I’ve realized. I don’t mean it to be, I’m not depressed, I’m just…a migrant. A wanderer. I’m wired for this life, actually. I’m what the Brits call “game”. I’m up for almost anything, highly adaptable. So for me to say that this experience is challenging, you know that it’s not hyperbole or exaggeration.
Being broke is probably the worst of it actually, because I can’t bathe myself in stuff (good) but I also can’t do any traveling on the El to parts of town that I’ve missed or go see friends (bad). I can’t hop the commuter train to visit my family. I’m stuck. Totally stuck. I have willing roofs over my head, I’m not fighting hobos for cans of beans, but I could write an entire entry on cabin fever and its mental effects, let me tell you.
I’ve resorted to making lists in my head of all the things I’m going to do and buy when I get my first injection of cash, besides pay folks back and pay off bills, of course. Aside from the new, job-&-age-appropriate wardrobe, eventual new computer and visits to see my family, it’s the repaying/paying off of debts that I’m particularly excited about. As well as dinner with friends, oh dinner with friends! Champagne, coffee, wine, duck, cheese, oysters, speck, veal meatballs on polenta, Manhattans, steaks… I dream of these dinners. Long, lingering Ethiopian over the bottles of wine we bring, steaming bowls of pho, way too much sushi, Shepherd’s Pie, deep dish pizza, slabs of halibut and don’t even get me started on COOKING! One of the most simple, lovely pleasures of life that I miss so much is grocery shopping and now that I have a Trader Joe’s within walking distance, as Kramer says, “OH MAMA!”
There’s a lot to look forward to and a whole lot of uncertainty. As much of an amazing adventure 2012 turned out to be, 2013 is so far a very big mystery. I don’t know what it looks like yet. It has no shape. The only wish I will say out loud for it is this: I want to be a grown up by the New Years Day 2014. I want my debts mostly settled, I want my wardrobe updated and changed over from all the ragged, lived-in Old Navy, I want to have knocked out at least a handful of paintings, I want to honor my commitments and be a better worker, girlfriend, aunt, daughter, friend and sister. I just want to be…better. Happy New Year, all. Here’s to putting down some roots at long, long last.