Itchy Feet

I want to move.  I hate moving.  When I moved into my parents’ house in early 2010 to housesit, none of us thought it would be for five years, much less the at least six, possibly seven we’re facing now.  And it’s not so much that I’m unhappy in Dallas as much as it seems like I could be happier somewhere else.  And I know that happy isn’t something to pursue, that it’s a by-product of doing work that challenges and adds value to the world.  Living in this house, in this part of the country, feels like suspended animation.  The impermanence of living in someone else’s house makes my pursuit feel like it has an additional difficulty level.  Like if Sisyphus also had to contend with a couple of feet of sludge-y mud.

I can’t remember the last time I lived in one place for more than three or four years.  Before this, it was my apartment by the baseball park in Houston for three and a half years.  Before that, my perfect, 1920s one-bedroom in Arlington for three years.  Before that, my efficient efficiency on Capitol Hill for three years.  The shared apartment by the Supreme Court for two years.  The women’s dormitory by Union Station for a year.  The apartment on the worse side of the Astrodome for two years.  The apartment on the bad side of the Astrodome for a year.  Various dormitories.  Maybe the frequent moves in my childhood cut some grooves in my soul that make me antsy when I am still.  I think this is what made my road warrior job such a good fit for me.

A couple of things have exacerbated the itchiness of my feet.  I had a conversation with the matchmaker about how wrong Bachelor #1 was for me.  I told him that after three months of disqualifying men at a rate of about 80/week and then finding Bachelor #1, it seemed clear that my people are not in the eHarmony database.  Michael claimed that if he changed his approach and focused on particular cities, we’d have better luck.  Apparently, the nationwide search he’s been doing has only picked up men who are interested in dating people anywhere in the U.S.; he further claimed that while most people don’t select that option from the dropdown menu, they are also willing to date outside the 25 mile radius they claim.  So I’m going to give it another month and focus on the cities I love visiting the most.

As much as I love Texas, every year, it feels less and less like home.  I can’t figure out why.  We have the kind of restaurants I love, though not as many as in other cities.  The cocktails are ok, though I’ve been forced to learn how to make the ones I like best at home.  I have good, true friends here, though we are scattered hither, thither, and yon over the 9,000 square miles of the greater DFW metroplex and a few hundred miles away in Austin and Houston.  I hate that at Steinmart last week, some white woman assumed that my stylist (who is a beautiful, African-American woman) worked there; she asked Tricia where she could find something in the store.  Tricia responded with an inspiring amount of grace while I stood there trying to process what happened.  When I mentioned the incident in the car, Tricia said she wasn’t sure I had noticed.  How many oblivious people must she encounter every day that she thought a friend might not notice something like that?  How frequently does she encounter that kind of casual racism that she’s developed that effortless poise in responding?

The cottage that the Viking and I rented in the Willamette Valley came with a bookshelf full of books.  I was tired, so instead of picking up a novel, I grabbed a book from the bottom shelf, where the children’s books are, and I discovered Little Bear.  It’s a series, and I can’t remember the title, but in the book I picked up, Little Bear’s grandmother told a story about Little Bear’s mother rescuing a baby robin and keeping it in the house.  After some time, the robin grows sadder and sadder flying around the house, and at one point, thinking about flying outdoors, the robin says, “My heart is sad.”

My heart is not sad, exactly, but I feel restless and a little trapped.  I’m still trying to figure out where I should go and whether I can swing it and whose fresh air my lungs are craving.  My eyes keep looking west, though.  I’ll keep you posted.

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