Note No. 66

April 29, 2010

A few days ago, while staring inside my closet and willing all the clothes to jump off their hangers and into my suitcase, I told Pedro that one of the worst things about being a human is packing.

Seriously. I would rather empty someone else’s septic tank than pack to leave somewhere. And yet, at least every two years I find myself moving, which is the ultimate form of packing. What the hell is wrong with me?

At least this time there are no dishes to pack, save for a few sentimental pieces of pottery and some really cool kitchen utensils. So really, I just need to worry about books and threads, the latter of which I am trying to pare down anyhow, because I know that Island Style is a little different than what you Real World People wear. Do you guys still wear hose, by the way? Because I am SO not doing that.

Anyhow. The fact that I have less to cram into a bag does not change the fact that the act itself marks the beginning of Goodbyes, and I happen to come from a family with a recessive gene in the parting ways department. It always goes something like this: “Okay, then. So, yeah. I’ll be seein’ ya. Bye. Take care. Don’t work too hard. Bye.” Pause. “Bye.” Pause. “Bye.” Shuffle. Turning to leave. Stopping. “Hey, have you ever noticed that no matter how well you take your blender apart and clean each individual piece, the bottom bit underneath where it screws into the motor still gets all scummy and, like, mildewed?”

Basically, where I come from, you talk about anything to avoid a farewell.

It would be a lot easier if I wanted to run screaming from here, as I kind of used to want to do, but I don’t anymore. I have made peace with this place and have actually come to love it and the people. It’s like when your hair is suddenly, horribly, awfully in need of a haircut, so you book an appointment but it’s a few days away yet, and then, by the time you finally get to see your stylist, your hair has completely got its act together and could actually audition in a commercial for the Salon Formerly Known as Vidal Sassoon.

That’s how the island can be. Everything is fine and then, without warning, it’s the very opposite of fine, so you decide you have to leave but you can’t leave right then and there, because these things take time, so finally, a long while later, you are about to leave for real, and then it goes all perfect on you again.

Yesterday, for example, one week away from my departure date: I set off on my morning walk and along the waterfront, I could see the car ferry coming in and there was a group of men all pressed into a pack on the front of the boat, and they were wearing the same dark pants and white tops, and because they were also the same height, they made this beautiful double stripe of sameness, and the light was perfect and golden, and as I was pulling my eyes away, memorizing the image, because I did not have my camera on me, a truck full of military men passed by, all of them standing in the back as they do here, when they are being transported between the base and the navy hospital, and I saw my ex-boyfriend in there and he waved at me, so I waved back, and then the orange juice guy was peddling his cart towards me and he had his hand out so that we could high-five, as we do on most days, and “Love Generation” was playing on my earbuds, which I am not ashamed to admit, and the only thing missing, really, was a pack of Mentos.

That’s just the way it goes, though. It’s like a test or something: am I strong enough to actually leave here?
Yeah. I am. Because I am excited about going off and doing this road trip thing, and because I know that I have done what I needed to do on the island, and because I know that I can always come back again.

That does not make me any more enthusiastic about packing, though. While talking to a good friend on the phone tonight, I realized what packing is like: painting. All the work goes into the prep and then the actual act is not that difficult. So right now, as I sort through paperwork and weed out the clothes that I am leaving behind, and make one more list, in case the other list forgot something, it’s like doing all the sanding and scraping and taping of the windows. Then when it comes to the actual job at hand, it’s a cinch. One, two, three—packed!

Well, that’s the way it is supposed to be going, at least. But it seems that every time I try to get something done, Pedro needs another cuddle. You HAVE seen him; right?

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