Welcome to My New Life in the Country…But Don’t You Forget About Me
If you’re not insane by now, you must be insane.
Everything’s open. Most things are closed. Nothing is open. Some things are closed. Some things are open. Nothing is closed. What’s open?
And so on.
I’m high risk. One droplet and I’m a dead man. And I don’t want to die alone in a poorly lit room and limited cable access. I want to go out in a glorious flash of light, surrounded by throngs of dancing people, the night busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere!
Where was I? Oh, right: For me, everything might as well be closed, because I ain’t going anywhere either way. I sit on my partner’s porch out in the country day after day, night after night, trying to remember what I used to do.
I’ve become an old man before my very own eyes.
My partner, she’s lucky. She’s “essential.” I’m a discard. Everything about what I used to do involved very close human contact, face to face, intimate encounters.
Does that make it sound like I was an escort? I dunno. It just sounds funny.
Then again, maybe in times like these, escorts are considered “essential” personnel. That is, if people even have sex anymore. I’ve been trying to figure out whether there will be a population boom this coming winter – or no new babies at all. That all OB/GYNs will be retrained as ventilator operators.
But, back to my partner, Janelle. She had a three-day weekend. Remember those? I would kill for the opportunity to hate Mondays again. Now I don’t even know when Monday is. I don’t even recall its particular role in the space/time continuum anymore.
Do I sound like I’m cracking up? Don’t worry: That happened months ago.
Where was I? Oh, Janelle.
She spent the long weekend in a mad purge, making the best of her rare free time. Cleaning out her rooms, closets, cabinets, cupboards, pantries, all in a fixed determination to fix everything that’s wrong with the world.
Or, at least, with her house.
And to make room for me. I’ve moved in.
In the process, she uncovered and rediscovered the entirety of her past. Photos, letters, relics, folders, binders, mementos, all the crap that sits in shoe boxes in the back of your closets that you find only when you decide to purge.
For the three day weekend, I was nearly assaulted by her past. The family and school photos. The Michael Jackson LPs. The Star Wars stuff, or whatever it was that I missed in the ’90s. She called it “a walk down memory lane.”
Whose memory, whose lane, all a blur to me. So many photos. So many memories, not mine.
But the place, it looks great now. Really nice. But I got a little despondent, watching her accomplish so much when I, technically, don’t even have my own home anymore.
She sensed something wrong. She said: What’s wrong?
I said to her: Suppose you’re me. You write a weekly blog post. But you don’t do anything. You don’t meet anybody interesting, you have no new experiences, there are no new revelations, no new insights into the human condition. You just wake up every morning to the horror of a brand new day.
What’s to write about?
(OK, it’s not that bad. I cut grass. I plant things. I rake. I lift weights. I cut grass. I plant things. I rake. I lift… Oh, damn, maybe it is that bad.)
Janelle, she says: Why don’t you write about me!
Janelle, she speaks in exclamation points.
Sure, why not, I said. That sounds fun. So I asked her to fetch one of the multitude of photos that she found this weekend. So readers can get a better sense of you than just my words, I told her.
And so you’re looking at the one she chose. Welcome to my new life in the country. Welcome to the Breakfast Club.
Meet Janelle, 1990.
Ain’t she a prize?
But don’t you forget about me.