Monday, February 11, 2019

Ten (More or Less) Things: Leaving Home…Going “Home”

Back when “Coming to Terms” was a viable collection of writings, with actual readers, I used to do “Ten Things” lists when I had a bunch of little ideas for posts rolling around in my head, but I couldn’t flesh out any one of them enough to create an actual essay.  To say that I have lived in that paralyzing limbo for many months now—since ‘long about November of 2016, I’d guess—would be a gross understatement.

Still, I feel like this momentous change that’s going to occur in my life deserves some kind of record, if not analysis…or maybe a bit of both.  Much as I’d like to do a series of essays on the subject, I haven’t yet moved past that emotional roadblock that has kept me from investing any decent amount of energy into anything that ISN’T about the horrifying state of our national government. 

So I’ve decided to record some of my maddeningly incomplete and random thoughts on the coming move as a “# of Things” assortment.  Maybe sometime later I can take one of the ideas and turn it into some real writing.

1.)It’s no secret that I am NOT sad to be leaving Scappoose.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been here for almost 18 years, and, despite even having run a damn restaurant in the town for 5 of those years (possibly the most exhausting five years of my life) we have NO friends and NO social connection to this place.  I realize that, with the advance of the internet and social media, communities and neighborhoods aren’t what they once were.  And I also realize that, being the introvert I am, my social isolation is as much my own fault as anything.  But that hasn’t really changed the age-old small town dynamic:  at its core, it’s a tightly closed group of folks who were born and raised here, as their parents and grandparents were.  They all know each other and they pretty much shun “outsiders.”  And no number of years living in their space absolves you of being an “outsider.
 We had lived here 5 years when we bought the restaurant.  We'd made some attempts at fitting into the place in that time...I'd frequented the community swimming pool, I volunteered at the county fairgrounds, we tried to join local community organizations...but we were still hanging on the fringes of the place after 5 years.  Then we bought the restaurant, where we were loudly and aggressively NOT accepted as part of the community for 5 of the hardest years of my life.  After that, I really had no more interest in assimilating into this insular, mean-spirited little burg.  
As I was driving AWAY the other day, toward my new house and new future back “home” in Eugene, I thought of how I would describe this community in one sentence.  And this is what came to me:

Columbia County…land of unimaginative, uninspired quasi rural types whose vision forthe future is “let’s keep things the way they’ve always been for as long as we possibly can.” 

Even at MY “advanced” age, I can’t see myself allowing my life to be ruled by that moldy old philosophy for the days I have left on this planet.  Can’t shake the dust of this backward little town off my feet fast enough.

2.) Even as I complain that I won’t miss this little town, I am struck by how much I will miss this place—the geographic location.  It’s a lovely area, hemmed in as it is by the hills to the west and the channel to the east, with major components of the “ring of fire” visible beyond the channel, on clear days. I have grown to love the outdoor spaces of this place, to which I have so often fled for solace in the sadness, exhaustion and confusion so ever-present over the past two decades of my life. I know I can and will establish a connection to Mother Earth in my new home.  But I will miss the breadth and depth of the one I have here.
3.) And then, there’s the house.  I have never been one to become too attached to stuff. I do tend to acquire more than I need, mostly because of my philosophy of “retail therapy”—I just like to shop.  And when one’s next living space will be roughly half the size of one’s present living space, one learns to cut the cord on much of the stuff pretty quickly.  The concept of purging my life of things that “no longer serve” has never been more relevant.  I’m not surprised, really, at just how much of what I own no longer serves, or at least will not serve in a vastly reduced living space. And I’m okay with that. 
But as I wander the rooms of the house that has been my home for so many years, "staging" it to be attractive to prospective buyers, I can’t help but look a little wistfully at the spaces that have held some of my favorite objects—my mantels, my bookshelves, even my dressers…and feel somewhat sad that I will no longer be able to indulge my penchant for (over)decorating.  Gone will be the elaborate Christmas mantels and much of the kitschy wall art I’ve acquired over the years (because there were so many walls to decorate…)  The tiny rooms into which we’ll be installing ourselves will not lend themselves to the large collections of tchotchkes  I’ve compiled.  If I don’t learn how to decorate in a minimalist, massively edited fashion, our home will look like an overstocked curiosity shop.  I’m pretty sure I don’t want to live in such surroundings, and I know the husband doesn’t.
This post has been sitting on my desktop for a couple of weeks already.  If I try to come up with my traditional “Ten things,” it might never make it to the blog.  So I’m going to publish this now, and add more “things” as they come to me, in short enough bursts to get onto “paper” and over to the blog. 
That seems to be the best I can do, right now.  Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. OK. Miss fumble fingers can't seem to manage a simple comment. I'll be back later.