7 am: I take the son to the bus stop, and so, high school begins. I have mixed feelings about this, but worse, I have opinions. Yesterday at orientation, the whirring of the helicopter parents was deafening. My policy is to let people like that do as they please with their lives, but it enrages me when they try to pressure me into micromanaging my children's lives. Especially since my children are not only academically successful in their own right, but are responsible and concerned human beings who are worried about taking care of those around them.
7:30 am: I take the daughter to school, and so middle school begins. She hugs me hard, the top of her head now reaching the area just under my collar bone. Then she spots her friends and I am forgotten. I've watched most of this class grow from 4-year-olds in junior kindergarten, to today, sixth grade. Some of them drive me crazy, but they are beautiful children, just because, and I'm grateful that I've seen them grow and develop even if some are developing junior hoodlum status. I talk with a few of the other mothers (since reading Neil Gaiman's Coraline, "Other Mother" has such a sinister ring to it). I flash briefly on the many times over all of the years I've spent standing outside a school talking to other parents.
8:15 am: I set off toward the channel trail. It's Tuesday, walking and weights. My schedule has suffered with vacation and the chaos attendant to Back To School, especially with computer problems, and my washing machine opting to spew water all over the laundry room floor while I was trying to get the son's new uniform pieces clean. Hooking up the new, completely enormous monitor that Gateway sent me to replace the one that died (let's hear it for extended warranties on fussy items) for which some assembly was required. Then there were the friends we had over, and all of my desperate attempts to play catch up with everything.
It's humid this morning. Warm. Yuck.
Still, it's good to walk, as much as everything seems to hurt; it feels like Back to School. It also feels stale because I've been doing this for years.
It's not enough. I knew it wouldn't be.
Endings and beginnings. Both the kids started new chapters in their lives today. I've just ended one in my own.
Which, naturally, requires a new beginning.
Travel, arrival, years of an inch and a step toward a source
I knew what I was doing when I got on that plane in April: forcing myself out of my comfort zone, forcing myself back out into the world. I tend to be too insular; sometimes I don't realize how much I've isolated myself, how much even on a simple walk I stick to the back roads and stay away from areas where there are lots of people. I don't think about the fact that I see the same faces, the same places, that I've ceased to venture forth.
And so, planes, hotels, people and places I don't know, friends and familiar cities. I began on an island and finished on an island.
But no woman is an island. And I actually don't want to be. If I learned anything out there on the road, it's that introvert I may be, but I do get something from throwing myself onto a plane and knocking myself out traveling.
At the moment I am limited. I don't have a good excuse to pack a bag and go to New York for a few days (though, don't doubt it, I could come up with one). And honestly, after circumnavigating the earth a couple of times in the last few months, I really have had enough of airplanes. So how do I keep up the momentum and still be home in time to make dinner?
Have train. Will travel.
Hitting the Rush show at Nokia made me realize the extent to which I've lost touch with my old L.A. haunts. There was a time when I virtually lived in downtown Los Angeles (albeit usually unwillingly). It was not unusual, though, to park myself in a coffee shop in Hollywood or Studio City and just listen to the conversations swirling about me while I wrote. I would go to LACMA or MOCA to see a new show open. I'd go to a park, a concert, a nightclub.
I have a plot. I have a plan.
I have work to do.
See you in L.A.
Go listen to some good music: "Still in Hollywood" from the album Concrete Blonde by Concrete Blonde.