Fugitive Umbrellas Has a New Home

Owasco Lake, NY. Can you see the other side?

Between this post and the last are many, many drafts of posts about various things, like how weird and difficult it was at times to actually move to my new place, my current foot sprain that is forcing me to spend the 4th of July weekend in my apartment, how to balance sheltering in place, moving, and working when your life is turned upside down, how I rediscovered New Kids on the Block two weeks ago and listened to them everyday as I was moving because New Kids on the Block have somehow (accidentally?) stumbled on some cosmic medicine, dispositor loops, the joy of doing something difficult all by yourself, of being dirty and sweating, and what it feels like to be here at three months now, but I didn’t finish any of them.

Because I’m through. I don’t think I’m over it, but I’m through.

But I get it now, you Xennial heterosexual white men: there is definitely something creepy about the New Kids on the Block, and you were right about that. I can see that now. But know that you will live your entire life and then die, and never ever, at any point during that life will you ever be an integral part of the sexual awakening of all the girls your age all around the world the way New Kids on the Block were.

And maybe that’s problem of our micro-generation: on one hand, boys were getting messages from media that the girl of their choice was their reward for being alive, while on the other hand, girls were listening to New Kids on the Block and learning that they are the center of a cute boy’s universe or five cute boys’ universes and that all their friends should also want to be the center of one of those cute boy’s universe, and that whatever happens, their moms should love the boys and their fathers should absolutely hate them.

Wasn’t it both an incredible bonding experience and yet incredibly awkward when you knew another girl who had the same favorite New Kid?

I actually went back and forth between Donny and Joey, but exclusively Donny before Joey’s voice dropped.

My sister, on the other hand, was an exclusively Joey girl.

But you have to hand it to them: they went from being so famous at such a young age to becoming middle-aged men without drug problems, without major scandals, without going through a weird Scientology phase. The guardian ad litem in me is pleased to know this. But then, they came back around decades later when they realized that once again, our demographic has a lot of disposable income compared to most, and now they can disrobe on stage because no one expects them to be virgins anymore?

Outstanding.

Did you know they put out albums? They do shows. They have an annual cruise. Did you know that they were originally intended to be an R&B act, were one for years, until a Florida DJ played a song on a pop station?

Did you know any of this?

I didn’t, because by the time I was fourteen, I was much more into Pearl Jam and my own self-loathing to pay attention to them.

But I want to be as accepting of my past and my identity as each of these five men by the time I get to be their ages, which I now realize isn’t actually that much older.

But not that old.

The eclipse in Cancer occurred in my 4th house, and Mercury went retrograde back into my 4th house. But bringing the New Kids on the Block back to me wasn’t the nostalgia I was expecting.

But you know, now that I see it, that I can finally see it, I can’t ever unsee it:

The New Kids on the Block always were creepy as fuck. All of it. The falsettos, the whispering, the maudlin, non-sensical lyrics that read like someone wrote them on LSD while channeling Robin Gibb, the dancing, the characters, the clothes, the squeaky-cleanliness, the

Because all boy bands are actually just wish-projections/servitors of the creepy middle-aged men who invent them, and the reason New Kids on the Block were so successful is that they were the utmost creepy, supernatural in a way, tulpas of an old and frustrated Hades seeking Persephone in all maidens everywhere.

*******

And I was also going to blog about moving, because I downsized from the old two bedroom, two bath in Rogers Park to a walk-up studio in the outskirts of Lakeview. This new home for Fugitive Umbrellas is really just all me, and it took me two months of a lot of solo work, including sawing a portion of sofa off to get it out to the dumpster.

After Rick died, I would lock myself in the master bedroom suite for the night, stay up, and fall asleep in the morning.

I thought to myself that I really don’t need a place much bigger than that. And I don’t need an elevator, or a dishwasher, or a garbage disposal, or a full-size fridge with water and ice, or an in-unit washer and dryer, or a whirlpool tub, or a ton of windows.

But I do need thicker walls with wainscoting and a million layers of the same chalky white paint in a nicer neighborhood with variety of restaurants, theaters, used bookstores, and art studios and a Marianos nearby (which isn’t quite Wegmans, but reminds me of the OG) with utilities included and a parking space.

And I got that.

But I haven’t gotten a chance to see any of it yet, and I suppose I’ll have to wait a few more weeks.

And this apartment is where I am staying all 4th of July weekend, because on the very last day of my move, after weeks of daily labor to downsize and move up to a 4th floor walk-up, I fall down the stairs when I’m not holding anything and I get a very bad sprain on my driving foot.

Like doesn’t stop being swollen. Like I’m pretty sure I can feel where the ligament is torn. Like I can feel the swelling in my foot jiggle as I step into the bathtub, like in the very moment after the fall, you can feel exactly what you did.

I have crutches. I don’t have room to use crutches.

****

That’s not the worst injury I could have gotten during this prolonged move.

I came up with a plan and executed that plan.

I forgot how easy it is to do that by yourself.

In order to move, I had to rid myself of most of the possessions in the apartment by throwing it away, giving it away, or selling it. All harder to do during social distancing. Once I got used to the idea of having to do all of this myself, I wanted to do it all myself.

So I moved all by myself, furniture and all. I even destroyed three large pieces of oversized furniture to get them out the door. A chest of drawers can be unscrewed and pried apart. A Persian rug can be cut into smaller pieces using a bread knife as a saw. A long sofa can be made into two shorter pieces with a crowbar and a handsaw.

I am now in better shape than I was a month ago simply because I spent two weeks hauling heavy things out the door and up three flights of stairs. The day I brought my furniture and most of my personal possessions, I had a back pain so bad that night that I couldn’t sleep, and I had already acclimated myself to sleeping in my new bed.

There is something liberating about physical labor, about being drenched in your own sweat, your body bruised and battered. My body was covered with the fading bruises I acquired over the month. Most of them are nearly gone. I knew that if I could this myself, that I could go into a new life depending on no one, that I would make sure nothing was lost or broken the way it usually happened when I hired movers, that I could control what goes into this new home, that I would be creating and curating a new life soup to nuts, and that if I could do this, that I’m not old yet.

Not old in the way I don’t want to be old.

I’m not done yet. I need dressers, but not second-hand ones, but ones I can assemble myself so I can slide the boxes upstairs and make the dressers in the closets. But the ones I want, I can’t get right now. I need curtains. I need a table for my printer and computer.

I need some more art. I really do.

***

I am still working from home for the time being, with a transition back into the workplace starting on Monday. I just got my computers set up, too.

But this is a good thing, that I can work uninterrupted.

My landlord was planning on renting out my old apartment by July 1st. At first, she wasn’t going to paint or make repairs. She was going to find a new tenant ASAP. After all, it was a good space in a not-bad area of Rogers Park, and so I was amenable to showings because there would only be a few before they get a new tenant.

I was flexible.

The first two groups of showings were difficult as they occurred when I was living and working in the old place, and we couldn’t have a showing and have me working.

I’m an attorney, but I’m also a guardian ad litem, and my clients are all very vulnerable humans. With strangers walking around my home, I can’t work. I can’t have files out. I can’t take calls. I can’t be on Zoom. I can’t have anything sensitive on my computer screen. I have to put everything away and then take it out again.

But I would only have to do this a few times, right?

After like the third group of showings, I realized that I would have to move into the new place sooner than expected. I decided to begin the lease two weeks early in order to move in around work and downsizing, but not necessarily to start living there sooner.

But I had to start living there sooner to keep confidentiality.

I was very flexible with the showings, which just kept coming.

After all, it was understood that they would show the place until they find a tenant, which they wanted to do, ASAP.

For the next five weeks, I worked around showings, about fifteen I think, with no tenant. By June 28th, I had revoked consent for any more showings, because at the rate they’re going, I wouldn’t be out of there in time.

Turns out they had a ton of applicants, and most were qualified. These applicants, who were paying like $60 per application, were being rejected for arbitrary reasons. The landlords refused to rent to graduate students, even though Rogers Park is where they live. I know they rejected people for other stupid reasons.

I spent all of Sunday, the only day I had unfettered use of the apartment, cleaning and drafting in my head the lawsuit I’m going to file if my security deposit isn’t refunded in full.

***

I have decided to stop talking about my previous relationship. I’m through it. I have come through, and I want to keep going. I’m not so much worried about his privacy, but my own. I have raw emotions, but the walls are back up, and when I can actually go outside (should I practice my crutch-walking outside? I need vitamin D), I will be in a new place by myself where I don’t know anyone, and I can’t wait to take a walk, because there is still dust that needs to be shaken.

****

I am very focused on making this space my own. I have all new furniture, save a few things I cleaned and painted. I have a north-facing window, but it’s bright and the lighting is natural, and everything in here is white or perwinkle or coral or aqua or all the other fun colors that scream “a girl lives here” without being too on the nose.

I unpacked my library. I don’t have much — some fiction I didn’t finish, astrology and esoterica that I can’t get elsewhere.

But there’s like four used bookstores in walking distance (walking distance is 2 miles or less), so that may change.

Although I do have a Chicago city library card. But the library isn’t really the library anymore, is it? It’s not about quiet. It’s not about books. It’s about getting a community to come together and spend money on artsy things. It’s like what Borders used to be without the swarthy sleekness of the book store.

So now I go to the library to help relive the ecstasy of being in Borders.

If there is such a thing as a soul mate for me, then he remembers the sublime ecstasy of walking into a bookstore, the weight and feel of a smooth, clean, unopened book, and another, and another, and finding a quiet or quiet-enough corner to sit down and read the books to figure out which ones got you hooked.

And I think I’m done with May/December relationships. I think I’d like someone who gets my cultural references.

At the very bottom of the last box with my library was a journal that I thought Rick had callously thrown away.

I couldn’t believe it. I swore I had it with me and was reading it earlier this year, but this box it had been sitting in was at the bottom of the storage area on the ground floor, unopened for the last six years.

*****

So I think I’m ready to start writing about astrology or something else besides me own drama.

One thought on “Fugitive Umbrellas Has a New Home

  1. Pingback: A Tremor in the Force | Fugitive Umbrellas

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