My home is 250 miles away from where I live. So, what does “living” mean? A soul-mate takes me on the MegaBus to Manhattan to remind me.
I am a creature of habit. Nothing like beginning a blog post with a cliche, eh? But, I am.
Example: In my primary residence —
(doesn’t that sound fancy? But I’ve a lot of house and dog sitting regulars with whom I am quite close, in addition to a foundational “feeling” that there is a home base waiting for me to build it and so, it feels as if I am – in many ways – un-moored – but that is another blog and and I FEEL you saying, “Why are your tangents and asides PARAGRAPHS long?” So, back to the story – which isn’t really the story but the intro to a story … and now this is so long I need to separate it visually and … oh dear . . . )
— the kitchen trashcan is at the northern end of the kitchen island and opens by means of foot pedal. The result of my nearly chronic need for (not to say “addiction to) habituation is that here, where I am house-sitting, here, at a home I know quite well, here, when I have gone to deposit something in the trashcan I have repeatedly walked to the northern end of this kitchen island and readied my foot to press the pedal to open the lid of the trashcan. Which, here in this house, does not reside at the north end of the kitchen island. Here, in this house, there is a bag arrangement/attachment on the cabinet door beneath the sink.
I laugh now, every time I do this . . . or something like it; occurrences which are not infrequent and which I have been doing my entire life – but, again, more later. I offer this story now as illustration both of the degree to which my pathological need for order has physically manifested as well as my awareness of said pathology. And too, to make you aware of the anxiety I feel whenever I am doing something outside of my daily, regular routine.
A trip to New York requires getting there. Getting there from here, the going, is not particularly problematic, and while trains are the most comfortable mode of transport, they are ridiculously pricey and require getting to the station and parking costs and all of that. My preferred mode has of late been the MegaBus which departs from White Marsh Mall. One parks in the West Lot. The bus comes – and while some have complained of it being always late – usually on time or near enough, you get on, you sit, and some three and a half to four hours later, you arrive on 28th Street in Manhattan. Sweeter still, it’s quite cheap.
Not only had my pal Cody bought the theatre tickets for “BIG FISH: THE MUSICAL”‘s final show (more later), he had also bought our Megabus tickets. He had taken care of everything. I cannot tell you the warmth and happiness by which I was caressed when living that sentence: “He had taken care of everything.” So, on the night of the 28th, Cody and my sister both arrived here where I am Judah-visiting to prep for our four in the morning departure to catch the six thirty a.m. MegaBus.
Of course, showering and going to bed at eleven-ish, knowing I had to waken at three-fifteen-ish meant I would barely sleep. Which, I didn’t. Lots of waking and paranoia that when I ought to wake, I wouldn’t. That we’d get lost or break down on way to White Marsh and miss the bus. That . . . on and on with the “what ifs” of disaster and plan flaws and what next.
We got up. Cody, too, who I have known since he was a child and who – frequently – accused me of responsibility for much of his own crazy – had not slept either, paranoid about waking/missing/alternatives/what if.
We met in the upstairs hallway at four a.m. and we were wearing outfits almost identical. Jeans. Blue-ish sweater over black and white un-tucked Oxford button-down shirts. J’accuse, indeed. And odder still, as we left the house, both of us bag and backpack free, having determined we would not take anything that could not fit in our pockets, we headed toward our cars and both looked at the other and said, “Who’s driving?” Neither of us had our keys. Neither of us had directions. Maybe we SHOULD worry about things.
Long story (750 words already, or, as I have been told by an editor, “450 words more than anyone reads – over 300 is masturbation, EDIT, CHARLIE, EDIT! Fuck editing.) long however; determined Cody would drive, went into house to get his keys, determined we needed my GPS, returned to house to get my keys, my GPS has a smashed screen (and yet another blog-tale) and Cody – frustrated by my inability to find directions through crushed screen – used his phone and – boom, boom – we made it to White Marsh West MegaBus Parking Lot an hour before the bus.
In the rain. With no umbrellas. Needing to stand in line to guarantee early entrance to bus so we could sit together. Bus early. Got on. Sat together near the stairs on the second level (Cody, on return trip, informed me he hated sitting near stairs. I always sit near stairs on bus because at their bottom are both the doors to the restroom and the exit door – but on way home we sat further back) and the bus took off and we were in New York City twenty minutes ahead of schedule.
I am crazy and a creature of habit and habituation and paranoia and worry and what if and what next about ALMOST everything in my life but when it comes to New York City, I am home.
New York City is my trash can at the north end of the kitchen island habituated comfort zone. In my head and heart, in my soul, in the matter of which I am made by whatever force in the universe makes things – I am home in New York City.
I am never afraid there. I always know where I’m going or trust that where ever I am heading – even if I don’t know where that is – is where I am meant to be. I am free of doubt there. I am free of fear there. I am filled with Charlie there. In New York City, I am the Charlie I always meant to be, always think I am. I am never REALLY Charlie anywhere else but there.
It’s always been that way. Despite the fact that I was born in Frederick, 250 miles away from Manhattan, from the moment I heard about “New York” – as a child – something at the center of me sang and knew – BELIEVED – understood – that was me, that was where I belonged, that was where I was Charlie.
I am a creature of habit, some of those habits seemingly inculcated, implanted in me before my birth. It was my dear Aunt Frances, Sissie, who recognized that New York City was my home and first took me there and too, Sissie who first saw me, really saw me in that connected to the soul empathic way. I seek those kinds of loves and connections out. I flourish and blossom with those people. Like Sissie, Cody too connects with me there, and – as I said – I am a creature of habit, and so it makes perfect sense that for the first time since Sissie took me there as a boy, the next person to plan and take care of everything in taking me to New York City would be another soul-mate, dear Cody.
Aside – tangent – but not really; Sissie died ten years ago. It feels like yesterday. It has only been in the last three months that I have realized how I had for the last ten years been worshipping and living in a draining death-cult in which Sissie was one of a holy trinity of the gone, the dearly departed. It was only in the last three months that I realized I had been trained since before I had rational actual memory to genuflect at the altar of the missing, to create a ghost presence with which the living could never compete. It was only in the past three months that I realized I had – perhaps – just perhaps – missed parts of a life I might have LIVED because I held so tightly onto things that never were or had DIED – and so, it was only in the past three months that I have been able to have Sissie again, by finally, FINALLY, letting her go.
And when I let her go, my life started to change. I don’t know where it’s going now – and for a creature of habit, like me, that is not an easy thing. But I do know that there is space inside me where there was none before. There is a level of acceptance and forgiveness – of myself – and the courage to experiment and expand and explore that had been gone before.
Ironically, because of another death, I have learned to let go of so many things and so much loss and death and sorrow that there is now room for LIFE again.
And soul-mates hear that. Know that. And so, Cody, of course, for Christmas 2013, took me home.
My pal and genius, loving, amazing Christmas gift-giver, Cody and that’s me – the old one with the COOL glasses – having after show-pre-show dinner at Sardi’s in NYC.
(…to be continued…)