March 04, 2005

doing the limbo

I feel like I'm living split lives. There's our life in the present, here and now. Dan's working on a respected and respectable TV series. Damian attends a traditional public kindergarten a couple of miles away; I don't love it but I donít hate it. I'm in between writing projects and feeling disoriented as a result while not yet knowing what people will think of the book I've written. We live in a pretty house on an ugly block in a desirable neighborhood; we're largely done prettifying the place to theoretically sell. We don't have enough money coming in to put away for the future, or even a rainy day, and that scares me. I have a few good friends here but more elsewhere. Life is not great, not terrible. Life just is.

Thatís here. That's now. Everything else is theoretical. But there's an awful lot of theory going on inside my head right now. Will we move? Where will we move? Will it work out if we do? What will life be like if we do? Will Dan's show get picked up for the fall? If not, what will he/we do? Do I need to get a non-writing job? If so, what? Will this new charter school work out for Damian? Will we stay in LA long enough to find out?

The thing about living on the edge of change is that it doesnít seem much like change at all.

I remember an apartment in Park Slope. I remember a brick wall in the living room, a barren kitchenette, a marble fireplace in the bedroom. I remember a sense of home that seemed like forever but in fact only lasted a year and change. We lived in New York together, and that was fact. We thought about moving to LA. The thought was so strange, so foreign. Would we? Could we? Should we?

We decided: if Dan got accepted to the graduate directing program he was applying for, if the editor I worked for landed the PBS drama gig he was up for, if either of these things fell into place, we would go. Both happened. Fate giving us a westward nudge? We made our plans, packed our belongings in myriad boxes, I flew across country to start my job and find an apartment while Dan finished packing and drove our stuff through Pennsylvania and Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri, Colorado and Nevada. My books and pots and pans have seen the Grand Canyon. I haven't, merely glimpses through thick airplane window glass. Dan arrived, accompanied by brother and sister-in-law. We settled in. We explored the stucco and canyons of El Ciudad de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles. We tried to carve a home here. Succeeded, after a fashion. Failed too, in another sense.

Now I find myself thinking back to that time in suspended animation. Would we, should we, could we? Questions dangling unanswered for months. It didn't matter then. We lived in Brooklyn and loved it there. We had a life and lived it there. The future was a question mark but I think we took that for granted. We were in our twenties, anything was possible and everything was unknown.

Somewhere along the way you're supposed to know more, though, aren't you? Somewhere along the way you're supposed to be able to make five year plans, ten year plans, map out your future, know your life. And maybe even though we haven't consciously done that, we have in fact done it too well. Maybe we've been existing for the past several years in suspended animation, treading the same path again and again, a path leading nowhere but right back to where we began, following our own muddy footprints. Maybe this state of not knowing is the real knowledge. Maybe we need this time, this new iteration of Will we? Can we? Should we? Midlife crisis, wakeup call, something. Sometimes you need to shake yourself awake.

Posted by Tamar at March 4, 2005 06:14 PM | TrackBack

I keep thinking of that wonderful moment in The Hours (the film -- it's been too long since I read the book) when Clarissa thinks of a painful, tumultuous moment in adolescence and realizes "That was life, right there! "

And yes, we're in the years to be having those thoughts.....

Posted by: Chris at March 5, 2005 05:48 PM
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