This Feels Like Cheating

Back in July, or August, I got cupcakes with a darling friend and ex-housemate, whom I hadn't seen in weeks, and afterwards, I realized that I have a problem with the past. It's one of the reasons I haven't blogged much in the last year; the only posts I really like are written fairly in the moment, when thoughts flow and feelings are clear. We were catching each other up our lives, and I could do the current situation, how I'd gotten to that point—

I am now the receptionist at an Ann Arbor law firm, replacing another friend who moved down to Georgia for graduate school. So I'm staying in Ann Arbor another year. So I found a new apartment, a studio, where I exist solo. No cats, no roommate, just a boyfriend in the same town as me for the first time since we started dating, because he's back for grad school here. Well. On North Campus, eons, or at least a bus, away. I'm still at the restaurant, too, working a few nights—

and I can do the future. I can do the future great. Plans plans plans. (I should probably say the near future. The things I am going to do in the next month or so. I love—no, I have a pressing need—to pin those details down.)

One thing about me, which I already knew, thoroughly, is that I'm usually only comfortable with certainty. I miss my exhausting, seven- and eight-hour shifts at the restaurant because I know how to do everything there. I could make every salad (except some of the ones from the "nutritional combos" menu) from memory in under a minute, probably. (Before everything got switched around.) I know the prep tasks, the ins and outs of the menu, the closing choreography. I am good at that job, even if I don't like it as a job. I like it because I'm good at it, the co-workers are friendly, and because it pays my bills.

I like the law firm job for different reasons, mostly boring reasons, because it is a boring job working within boring parameters. At the time, I couldn't say much about it, though, because it was only a couple weeks in, my position felt tenuous, and I didn't know if my impressions of the job were due to the way I react to this job, or just a product of feeling uncomfortable in a new setting. I think I explained that to my friend.

But it was a pretty big gap we were trying to fill in. We lived in the same house for a year, but it had been over a year since we'd graduated and I'd moved home. We only saw each other occasionally, so there could have been so much to say. She'd just gotten back from Africa, so there was lots there, and other things, but I wasn't feeling particularly verbose about the things about my current life that were easy to say. And then there are the obvious questions that you can answer in a heartbeat, fairly meaninglessly, or else take very seriously and plunge into a study of yourself for the past few months.

And that's the thing. It seems so hard to remember precise worries of a month or two ago, and the general response I had to them, how I felt day by day. I remember the rage I felt at the entire GRE test-taking process. I remember the stress of finding somewhere to live beginning at the end of August, when it was already partway through June. I remember the horror of moving. But how did I feel about living in my new apartment the first full week? When did the solitude become too much? When did it feel right? As long as you can remember things that happened, things you felt, the details don't need to matter. The important thing is that they happened and that you understand them and share them if you need or want to.But I hate to get things wrong. I want everything told right, in order, just as everything should be cleaned in order, from the top shelf to the counter to the floor. I just want it to make sense.

This is the secret: I wrote the first half of this post back in July, the day we met for cupcakes. I didn't finish it, I stopped at a key transition and I no longer remember exactly where I was trying to go with it. I don't know if what I did write makes sense. It rambles, maybe. I think I'm missing the punchline, so to speak. Maybe there never was one, and that's why I quit writing it.

Oh well.


Anonymous said...

But it is so interesting and makes so much sense about you! I love your thoughtful posts! Write more of them!

Marisa said...

Thoughtful posts are like all I'm good at right now. Where are the fun posts that are also interesting, not just short and full of pictures? If I'm only writing thoughtful posts, it might be boring for those readers who aren't the nosiest nosy friend who already knows almost everything else about me (IN A GOOD WAY!).