I’m so, so sad, and all I do is cry. I miss Brooklyn. I miss everything about it. I want my friends here. I miss my mom being able to come over for the afternoon and drive me nuts. I miss the noise. I miss sitting outside on my stoop with Henry when there was nothing to do and Henry calling out “Good evening, madam” at everyone who walked by. I miss walking across the street to buy my groceries and the store manager shouting “My friend!” when Henry came into his sight. I miss walking down the street for an iced coffee. I miss not feeling lonely and pathetic; I miss my life. I want this to get better, but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to make it any better. I just want to feel better.
Entries in moving (20)
We moved on Sunday, after an all-night frenzy of last-minute packing. Even though we had been packing for six weeks—and before the official packing had begun, had purged our belongings for our Open House, in order that we might fool would-be buyers into thinking that our home was clean and spacious and not inhabited by unhinged packrats—we were still up all night packing. There seems to be no way around this. Nature demands that the night before you uproot yourselves and leave your loved ones, you must also be deprived of sleep.
For the first day or two here I was positively blissful, but at some point on Tuesday I began my slow decline. It went a little like this:
Day 1: It’s so pretty here. And peaceful! This is going to be great!
Day 2: The quiet! I love it. I LOVE IT. I can’t believe I love living here! In the suburbs!
Day 3: Wow, the quiet, it sure doesn’t stop, does it? Isn’t there any noise?
Day 4: OH GOD, THE SILENCE. THE AWFUL SILENCE. MAKE IT STOP.
Day 5: Goddamn silence makes me want to punch someone. And what’s this “I have to drive everywhere” shit?
Speaking of driving, I’ve only driven the car twice and already I’ve made at least two wildly boneheaded driving maneuvers. I err on the side of caution, as I am a 90-year-old trapped in a 37-year-old’s body. In one instance, my bony hands clutched the wheel at 10 and 2 as I came to a dead stop at an intersection because I couldn’t find the damn light (why do they hide it on the side like that?) and then wondered why everyone around me was leaning on their horns. (Even the people without cars! Kids these days! Walking around with horns!) But I’ll get used to this, right? Someone? At some point, I hope to stop sweating so hard my hands are sliding off the steering wheel.
It doesn’t help that my son has developed a car aversion, due no doubt to his delightful new tendency to vomit after relatively short car rides. (Dear relatives who want us to come visit you: will you wait until my son’s eighteen? If he’s not over this by then I’m pretty sure he could at least hold the bag over his mouth.) Today we went for a five-minute ride so that I could go to a dermatologist (because my face reacts to stress by EXPLODING. And my hair falls out! I’m breathtaking), and I thought Scott and Henry might like to check out the neighborhood library and meet me afterward, and boy what a bad idea that was! Which I realized when we told Henry we were getting into the car! “NOOOOO!” he shrieked. “GAAAAAH! I’m going to THROW UP!” he informed us. He didn’t, thankfully, and when we got there he informed us that the ride “wasn’t so bad after all,” a fact that leapt gazelle-like from his mind when it was time to get back into the car to go home. He went all boneless and wept facedown on the sidewalk while Scott and I discussed if it was okay to leave him there for the afternoon.
But enough about him; let’s get back to me. On the positive side, I have discovered my Inner Extrovert. I had thought I was on the shy side, but now that there’s no one around, I’m jonesing for the sweet stink of humanity. It’s unspeakably weird to have, instead of hundreds of people on your block, maybe eight. (It’s a small block.) While I used to sit in my apartment gritting my teeth while gaggles of morons stood directly outside my window, leaning against the security grate and discussing That Slut Chrissy Who Totally Fooled Around with Rick (for example), I now find myself standing on my porch, shrieking salutations at the 3 or 4 people foolish enough to pass by. (If you happen to be in Jersey and you spot a hairless acne-ridden hysteric perched on her weed-choked lawn, flailing her limbs, do not be afraid. That’s how I say hello!) The few brave souls I've spoken to have been lovely, even when my son tried to kiss them full on the lips. (Apparently he feels as I do, with the whole love of humanity thing.)
Also! Weeds! We have this lawn, and we have absolutely not one single clue what to do with it. We also don’t know how to take care of, oh, anything else. Our ignorance in all home ownership matters is absolutely staggering. So far our strategy has been to stare at the weeds and say, “We really should, I don’t know, rip those out?” and then go back inside and stare at the boxes and say, “Oh, god, so much to unpack.” And then we join Henry in his Quest For Galactic Dominance, in the relatively clean corner of the dining room.
So yeah, so far this is all working out just fine.
Yesterday we said a tearful goodbye to our friends Sarah and Tallulah. Or rather, I was tearful--it's sort of my resting state these days--and Henry was sulky. As we walked home he asked me why I looked sad.
"I'm going to miss our friends," I said. And Henry replied, "I'm not going to miss them."
"Really," I said.
He stopped walking and clenched his fists. "I'm not going to miss them," he wept, "Because I. AM NOT. MOVING."
I picked him up. He dampened my shirt with his tears. Then wiped his nose on me for good measure.
"I don't want to move," he said. "I want a cookie."
A few years ago, Scott and I went with our friend Mike to see a couple of our other friends in a play. It was in one of those theatres that are so far Off-Broadway they’re practically in the East River. We were late, so we ran in, not even stopping to grab programs, and sat down in the audience. The lights went down. And then they went up.
On the stage were several foppish dandies mincing about. “What’s this play about, again?” I asked Scott, who shrugged. They were wearing satin knickers and powdered wigs. We were led to understand that one of them was Benjamin Franklin. “Where are our friends?” I hissed at Scott, who looked as baffled as I was. The people on the stage were in France, which we knew because they said things like “Here we are in France.”* One of them spoke of the Montgolfier brothers, or maybe one of them was a Montgolfier? “The hot-air balloon,” he declared, scratching at his hosiery, “will be the invention of this century! Nay, of any century!”* It went on like this for some time. None of our friends were on the stage. I looked around us at the five or six other people in the audience. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. Then I caught sight of someone’s program. On the cover was the word “BALLOON.”
I can’t remember the name of the play our friends were in, but it was not “BALLOON.”
“Oh my god,” I told my husband, “we’re in the wrong theater.”
“Oh no,” he said. “Oh no oh no.” He whispered to Mike. Mike put his head in his hands. We looked at each other. We knew we couldn't laugh. There were only eight of us in the audience. The poor actors would see us laughing, and the poor actors did not deserve that.
Unfortunately, the one Monty Python sketch I know is “The Montgolfier Brothers in Love”, and in fact this is the only sketch whose lines Mike and I have recited to each other lo these many years (“Every time you sing a song, it is in some way obliquely connected with balloons ... everything you eat has to have ‘balloon’ incorporated in the title ... your dogs are all called ‘balloon-o’ ... you tie balloons to your ankles in the evenings”), and there we were in this tiny theater with the Montgolfier brothers right in front of us, preening as Benjamin Franklin held forth on the fall of Versailles. It was torture. Every time one of them boomed, "BALLOON!" I was sure I would lose it. We couldn’t just walk out (think of those poor actors!). And we didn’t know if there was an intermission.**
None of this is in any way related to the party our friends had for us last weekend, except that there were many balloons, although not the hot-air kind. We worried that Henry wouldn’t be entertained enough at the party, but the brilliant Emily, party co-organizer and the best babysitter/girlfriend Henry will ever have, borrowed Star Wars guys from a friend and then stuffed her home with helium balloons. Henry loved the Star Wars guys, natch, but then someone tied balloons to his ankles and all at once he was beside himself with joy. He was hopping and twirling and laughing maniacally as balloons bopped him in the face.
I felt kind of the same way, except without the balloons.
We could not have better friends.
(*Dialogue invented for illustrative purposes.)
(**There was. And we made a run for it.)