Saturday, January 20, 2007

Married brain

Me [while chopping vegetables for chili, singing]: Twenty- twenty- twenty-four hours to go-oh-oh...I wanna be sedated...

Me [cont'd]: You know what put that in my head?

Husband: What?

Me: This knife. It's serrated. [beat] I was going to do something with the song, some parody with "serrated," but I couldn't think of anything good after I started singing, so I just sang the actual song and hoped you wouldn't know that I had failed.

Husband: You're allowed to have secrets, you know.

Am I allowed to have secrets? Of course. (And I do have them.) But that's not the point. Before I got married, making a minor fool of myself inside my own head didn't require a second thought. Now, something about the lawfully-weddedness of us makes me feel certain that he's in my head with me. Sometimes I am so fully convinced that we occupy the same mind-space, that I'm honestly surprised when he doesn't know what I mean when I ask what happened to that thing that was just, you know, over there.

And the other times? Well, realizing that my husband hasn't been privy to my impromptu song parodies gone awry just gives me an excuse to let him know that he totally missed out on the chance to make fun of my capacity to trip over my own mind - by not being there at the time.

His loss, as far as I'm concerned.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

No place like home

As I wobble down the increasingly icy wooden steps in front of my house, wearing two shirts under my sweater and coat, and tights under my jeans, it's hard not to think, "This isn't my home." In my mind, it doesn't snow where I live. I never look out the window to see fat white flakes falling onto parked cars and evergreen trees, slowly transforming the world outside into a Christmas card watercolor. There is no snow at home. Snow is something you have to drive a couple hours into the mountains to see.

Rob tells me that this winter has been remarkably, uncharacteristically cold and snowy. I would like to think that he's telling the truth, but I am in no hurry to get to next winter and find out. It's not that I have anything against snow, believe me. I love snow. As a child, longed for an actual, honest-to-goodness white Christmas, and I resented the presence of "Winter Wonderland" on radio station play-lists and department store PA systems. It doesn't snow in Southern California. Not even at Christmastime. Get it right, broadcasting people! But this isn't really about snow. Snow just seems to be driving the point home, so to speak: this place still doesn't feel like home.

I can see the Space Needle on my way to work, and my driver's license was issued in Washington State. But after almost a year and a half after moving, I still don't feel like I live here. What the hell is my problem?

When Rob and I moved to our current house, I remember it not feeling right. This was someone else's house, right? We were just staying there. Now, on most days, it feels like our house. But when I look around at the neighborhood - the people, the evergreens - I don't really believe that I live here. The water still tastes funny, and I don't know where anything is. An out-of-town friend recently asked what was absolutely worth doing and seeing in the Seattle area. And I couldn't think of anything.

"Pike Place Market?" Like she hadn't already thought of that. I shrugged. "I dunno, I still kind of feel like a tourist here, myself."

Except that I'm a tourist with no guidebook, and no return-ticket home. When I walk around this place I'm supposed to live now, I always feel just a little like someone is going to figure it out: Ah ha! You don't live here! Who are you trying to fool?

I'm not trying to fool anyone into thinking I belong here, except maybe myself.
I never imagined that I would end up somewhere so far away from my friends, my family, and the things I know. With any big change, there's bound to be a period of adjustment, but really, how long will this one take? How long will it take to adjust to the idea that this life is not the life I thought I would have, not the life I planned? Another year? Five years? Never? (Oh, please, say it isn't never.)

Eventually, I know I'll get better acquainted with the area, and know where to take people when they visit from out of town. And maybe - just maybe - I'll eventually manage to come out of my shell long enough to make some friends locally. But eventually doesn't take the cold sting out of feeling like an outsider in the place that is supposed to be home right now.