Friday, June 12, 2009

A New Version of Me?

How is it that just three days before I'm taking a leap into the California desert, I'm on a bus to Boston?

Shouldn't I be packing?

Actually when I got home Wednesday night from San Diego - after the LIRR conductor held the 9:39 train for me and then didn't collect my non-existent ticket - I spun like a tornado through my apartment, collecting tank tops and underwear and toiletries and cables and wires along the way until I had a huge pile on my couch and my rolling suitcase was refilled with appropriate resort wear for 105 degree temperatures. By the time I went to bed, I was pretty much packed.

From the moment we got in line to board our flight back from San Diego, I couldn't wait to get back to NYC just so I could get back to California.

But for whatever reason, instead of selling back more CDs to the used record store or washing my silverware, I decided I had to finally get to Boston to see Jon and his new (or, not so new anymore) baby who I haven't even met yet. At times I still think of Jon as the Colgate first-year I met by a tree in front of the campus chapel. It's hard to imagine either one of us having a baby.

I've taken the trip to Boston many times over the years since Jon moved after grad school. At one point it became relatively routine for me to take either the Amtrak or the Greyhound up here. But this trip feels different, and not just because I paid $15 for the Bolt Bus (which continues to annoy me despite the nice new leather seats and WiFi) this time. It feels like I'm saying goodbye.

That's not to say I'll never see Jon again. But I feel like this may be the last time he sees this version of me. I'm getting ready to change, not only my surroundings, but myself. I don't know what will happen once I spend more than a few days in California. Sometimes the best things happen when you just close your eyes, hold your nose and...leap.

I suppose the worst thing that could happen is that nothing changes at all. I spend a few weeks in Joshua Tree, drinking wine and working on my laptop, and I come back to New York in the same old apartment with the same old stresses and nothing but a sunburn to prove I even left in the first place.

Most people - especially New Yorkers - can't fathom what I'm going to do in the desert all by myself. I respond that I'm just "going to be" and they cock their heads to one side, lift a brow and move in a little closer, waiting for something more. But that's it.

I was the walking dead for the greater part of last year. I ran away from everything. Now I'm running towards something, I just don't know what.

My clock has been ticking for a long time. It's time I really wind it up and let it run...