A guide to what we’ve done to get ourselves here and then what we’re doing to get ourselves out. Here’s hoping for happy endings
Thursday, October 29, 2009
THE LIFE OF A NOMAD
We only unpacked the essentials at my mom's house but the thought of having to pick everything up and move again is still a burden I wish we didn’t have to shoulder. The nomadic life we have lived is a cycle I desperately want to break but on Friday we will once again enlist the help of family, rent a ten foot U-haul for $19.95 for the day plus $.99 per mile and start moving boxes. It’s as if we’re playing some giant chess game with our furniture as the castles and pawns laid out on a board spread across half a continent. Move sofa from square mom’s garage to upper level Prentice Park, Chair two to pole barn three in Andes, Check and Checkmate. The only problem with this analogy is that our game never stops. We continue playing, never getting all the pieces off the board and saying enough, checkmate, game over. This move is just a scrambling of the pieces as we set the game up on a temporary rented board knowing we will start the game yet again in a whole new place.
There’s frustration in this constant moving but there’s hope there as well. The transience of this constant moving gives rise to the knowledge that we haven’t quit the game. We continue to plot how we will succeed and move on to a better place. As in anything in life you have to hold on to hope and never abandon your dreams.
Every so often Rick, Emmy and I with grandma in tow all pile in the car and tour a different residential area looking at homes and dreaming of the possibilities. Each of us has his own set of requirements for our own utopia. For Rick right now it’s something small with a yard just big enough for a garden, and a fireplace to keep him warm in the winter. Emmy’s dream is very traditional. Her fairytale castle has two stories, a special room for her Breyer horse collection, and a white picket fence. I’ve been leaning more toward mid-century modern. I know it’s just a phase but those are the homes I point to. The whole experience is reminiscent of what I remember from my childhood. On many a late Saturday afternoon my parents would march us into the bathroom and scrub us clean, boys first and then girls. Mom slipped us into our pajamas as my dad prepared the car making pallets out of big wool blankets and pillow from our beds. We would then drive out to Shorewood, Nakoma, University Heights or Maple Bluff and dad would slowly criss-cross the streets as we all pressed our noses on the car’s windows dreaming of which house we would pick if we could have one of them as our new home. It was a game that was very real for me. I believed each house I picked would be the one I would eventually move into.
“Oh, look at that one, the one with the bricks and the wooden front door.”
“No, over here, the one with the big columns.”
“No, that one’s too old, oh quick, look over here at the one with the red shutters.”
The game went on until the light faded. Sometimes we kids just fell asleep. On other times we made it to the nearby A&W for a frosty mug of root beer and some curly fries brought out on a tray that the carhop attached to the rolled down window on our car, simple pleasures garnished with a sprig of desire.
Sometimes life means chasing your tail. You just end up where you started, driving around town looking at dreams.