Friday, April 6, 2012

Free Bird is no longer my signature song.

In the last twenty years or so of my life, I've noticed a pattern of leaving both common and proper nouns in my wake as I've hightailed it into the sunset. The Schoolhouse Rock definition of 'noun' must be sung, and I indeed do 'find it interesting, a noun's a person, place, or thing.' That chuckle aside, and after some forethought or hindsight <whichever makes me sound more inflective>, I can say for the most part, I may not miss the places, I may not miss the people, but damnit, I miss the stuff!
I've left entire apartments full of furniture, clothes, and electronics, CD and book collections, movies in so many formats I couldn't play them if we were ever reunited, and a myriad of other possessions in a mad dash to liberate myself from drama or situations I was partially or totally responsible for  in one way or another, and let's face it, if you don't have a beast of burden or at least an F150, these are things you can't pack in your bag and hit the road with and make a clean getaway.

By the time I reached Wisconsin, and got a new job and apartment there, I wouldn't be able to physically or mentally make a purchase of more than tv, laptop, stereo, and futon for months in fear that I wasn't going to commit to living there much longer and  my mood changed from day to day. It was a great job with lot's of potential, downtown Sheboygan may seem like a tiny town, even to the locals who called it 'Sheer Boredom', but it had everything you would look for in a small city; the pubs all had happy hours that lasted four hours, cigarettes were under four dollars a pack, and it was on Lake Michigan. If you can imagine a salt smell it's as close as you can get to being on the ocean without being anywhere near one.

When I would shop for anything other than food, the internal argument would start with the 'do i want this?' phase of the purchase, which is pretty much self explanatory. I'd then graduate to the 'do i need this?' phase of the purchase, and I'd imagine the many uses and benefits of purchasing a  <let's say> couch for my living room in the event I decided to have people over and not have to pretend to notice the expression of awe on their faces when they walked into my two bedroom apartment that with the exception of a 'nerd nook' was completely barren. The last and most crucial phase of the purchasing procedure was the 'can i leave this?' phase. It entails not spending so much money or getting emotionally attached to anything that you couldn't easily leave behind if you couldn't take it with you. It would be a real strain to pull out my checkbook and fork over an entire paycheck for something that was ultimately going to make my neighbors dream come true once it was fished out of the dumpster area. I had to make sure I was willing to make the temporary commitment while also reminding the couch at least weekly that 'this is only a temporary thing' and when it got too comfortable or I sensed it was too needy, I was quick to give it the 'you knew what this was about when we got together' speech.

I really like to think I'm over this phase of my life now. Married to a better guy than I probably deserve, I've managed to become an international traveler, and have relocated hopefully for the last time <and yes, I pretty much left all my stuff to donations when I broke my lease and said I wouldn't be coming back to the States as early as I had originally intended> and am settled in our new home situation in Australia which is also subject to it's own fair share of idiosyncrasies as far as permanence. We lie in bed, and chat about where we could go, where we could live, and when we'll be able to afford to travel back to the States, a formidable expense in any budget of any size income. I'm making my first major purchase this week, I'm buying a new guitar amp so I can practice guitar, plug in a mic, and hopefully get comfortable enough to either recruit a band or put cymbals between my knees and be a model 'geek'. It weighs over 50 pounds. Even if I could get it back to the States I wouldn't be able to plug it in due to European socket configurations. It wouldn't fit into my bag if it had to. It's taking a lot of thought to relax and say to myself 'if i buy this amp, I'll never need another.' I can't quit smoking, I still drink. I still believe, however, that this is one habit that it's definitely time to break..... maybe.

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