#461: The South Pole

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I’ve been writing a lot about what it feels like to live in a completely different world, apart from where I was used to, and away from the people I used to spend so much of my regular, daily time with. I’ve written a lot about how I feel like an exile in a strange world, and how I feel trapped as well in this place where I’m unable to leave or move away from, at least not yet or not without some extra help. I tried my best with the last person I was with, and even though everything seemed to be going great, even though the cards were stacked perfectly in my favor, I still somehow screwed it up.

I can’t take all the blame, though. I know for a fact that being betrayed isn’t something you can just take as your own, accept as completely your own fault. There’s more to betrayal than just the mistakes made by the person who was betrayed upon. There’s the impetus of the decision, the motivation to make the betrayal, but not everything needs to be relegated to that one person. It’s not fair to them, and not fair to me, for me to assume all responsibility for how things went wrong. I simply can’t accept that about myself, as hard as that may sound. I want to succeed somehow, in spite of everything, and recapture the motivation I lost while I was becoming complacent.

This blog post was originally going to be about the South Pole, because we’re working on that right now in R&P for school. It’s one of the topics we’re discussing together and analyzing in detail thanks to some supplementary readings. It sometimes feels like I’m living in the South Pole these days, so I guess that’s how I’d connect things.

#460: The Necessary Evil

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Sometimes I wish I could just wait until this is all over, wait until it’s possible for me to forget all of this ever happened. It’s a necessary evil, however. It’s something that I need to endure while it’s happening, and even though I despise it, it’s necessary and there’s nothing I can do about it except accept the circumstances I’ve been given. Like in card games, you can’t change the cards you’ve drawn in your opening hand; you have to accept them and try to win with whatever you get. Unfortunately, I drew some bad cards recently, or at least cards that are sometimes detrimental to my own sanity and health.

The necessary evil that’s currently occupying my time is my job, as crazy as that may sound. It’s a necessary evil because I don’t quite like where I am but I have to be there while I look for something new to occupy myself with. I’m accepting the fate that I have, even though ideally I have to worry about gas or anything like that in the meantime. Because I’m driving to work every day, and while I’m doing so, I’m thinking about the fact that I now need to drive an hour back and forth. I’m thinking about the ticking clock of my gas meter, how I’ll need to fill it again soon even though I already filled it a couple days ago. It’s a terrible situation to be in, but you have to live and let live.

Jace has been a great help, though. Having him around has reminded me of what it’s like to have a lasting companion that won’t just disappear or betray you after a set amount of time. I appreciate the fact that I have a friend who will help me when I’m in need, instead of kicking me out.

#459: The Highway Coffee

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In my last blog post, I discussed my commute to work in Norwalk, and how that’s like in the mornings and afternoons. I almost always seem to go back to talking about my commute, in one way or another; at this point, anyone who’s read this blog regularly probably knows what my commute is like by now. If I had to tally up however many blogs I’ve written about this topic, it’d be impossible to quantify. But today I’ll be discussing a new topic related to my commute, so stay tuned for that.

When I go to work, I always come with a Dunkin Donuts coffee in my hand now. It’s become a part of my look and outfit at this point, and I wouldn’t be surprised if people expected it by now. Part of the reason for that is because I like to grab coffee on the way to work, either at the pit stop by exit 40 on I95 or the stop over by exit 21. I could stop in Northford, but it’s actually far away and difficult to get to when I’m driving in the morning. Plus, there’s a bunch more traffic over there, believe it or not. More people want their coffee from their regular, local place than the one on the highway to work. It’s a lot faster to just drop into the drivethrough and deal with things that way.

I tend to get the same order every time I drive through, so at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if people knew what I get. But that’s besides the point. I still fill up coffee in the morning at home, because I actually drink too much coffee and I end up drinking both the morning, highway coffee and the coffee I fill up at home before leaving. Usually not at the same time, though.

#458: The Traffic

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Driving through traffic isn’t fun, as anyone who has a long commute can attest to. It’s never interesting having to stop and go, stop and go all over the highway, back and forth, as if you’re eventually getting motion sick. You just do it until you lose all sanity, and even then you still have another couple miles to go before you can get off, so you grin and bear it. You accept the fate that’s been given to you, and you move on with your life regardless.

Driving through traffic makes my mornings exceptionally boring, but the parts of my commute where I just drive normally, where I can flicker through music and podcast options and listen to whatever I feel like, those are the best ones. Friday mornings are nice because there’s usually no traffic to be found, and then the inverse takes place during the afternoon, when Friday betrays me and I have to just wait and wait until I get home. I wish it were easier to deal with this commute, but unfortunately it’s a part of my current exile. It’s a natural state of things.

Being the kind of person who despises traffic doesn’t necessarily mean that I hate driving to work every day. Sometimes it’s nice having peace and quiet to myself, to my own thoughts and head space, for the time that that’s available to me. It might not be long, but it’s there nonetheless.

If I had to choose between driving an hour to work and driving ten minutes, though, I would obviously choose the ten minutes. I’d much prefer having a commute that allows me to sleep in a bit more and stay up a bit later. I’d also prefer having a commute where I’m allowed to get home at a reasonable time. But you can’t always get what you want.

#457: The Tapestry

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Today, as in the day that I’m writing this blog, my mom and I worked together to hang up the moon tapestry that used to hang loosely above the computer desk and chair in the main room. It now hangs above my bed and the bedpost downstairs in Northford, in a dramatically different town and location than its previous home. I wasn’t expecting to get that back, actually, but I guess Alex no longer wanted the tapestry for herself. On a visit to Stamford to pick up the last of my things, I think this would’ve been when Mike and I went to grab the desk and mattress, I noticed that she had hung up separate portraits on the walls. I guess the moon didn’t interest her that much any more, or maybe she wanted to rid the apartment in Stamford of everything that once reminded her of us. I don’t blame her for it, honestly, but I do feel like it would’ve been nice to still have up in the old apartment. You don’t have to get rid of absolutely everything to appease your desire to get rid of the past.

The tapestry is now hanging above my bed, and it’s going to stay there for the foreseeable future. It reminds me of how much of a lunatic I was for staying there and getting comfortable with life as it was, for not seeing the signs and not listening to the people who told me right from wrong and what to expect from a person who’s trying to separate from you the way that she was trying to.

For awhile, I wanted to avoid discussing this topic on my blog, but I feel now that it’s essential to let these feelings out. In a previous time, I would’ve channeled this into poetry. Maybe I’ll try that again sometime soon.

#456: The Alarm Clock

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Having an alarm clock helps you wake up on time, and it helps keep you productive, feeling like you’re doing the right thing every morning. You get used to waking up to the same mechanical alarm sound, no matter the circumstance. It begins to feel like home, like you’re used to the sounds that emit from the clock every morning at 6:40am. Some people wake up earlier, later, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. You do what you can to survive and that’s what sticks around.

So when I opened up the box of things that Alex had prepared for me, the last of the last bits and pieces, I scavenged around, hoping there would be some memento to hold onto, something small to remember our relationship by. I had already kept the purple teacher’s apple we made at the Yankee Candle emporium in Massachusetts, even though I probably shouldn’t still be holding onto it. It’s one of those things you just can’t look away from, like a natural disaster or a cringe-filled television show or drama production.

When I looked through the box of things, I saw the alarm clock, and it stuck with me. Not because it was inherently significant on its own, but because I didn’t expect to get it. It’s like the blue sweater; you see it enough times for it to be significant to you, and you forget it was ever once yours. Divvying up the items in the apartment by who owned what, the vacuum, the blender, the moon tapestry, the posters and art prints and framed photographs and poems from Valentine’s Day 2019. She took the batteries out of the alarm clock before giving it back to me. I guess she had to conserve everything possible.

#455: The Exile

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In Magic: the Gathering, the exile zone is the zone in which you are placed when you are unable to return, unable to come back from. I mean, there are a few ways to get cards out of exile, to be honest, but they’re very very limited and infrequent. They don’t show up in the limited format and you’d have to run them in your sideboard in any sort of constructed format. That’s pretty much how it goes.

So when I was exiled away back home, I originally convinced myself that I deserved it. That I needed this time away to fix myself, to make myself better and help rebuild what I lost over the years of being too comfortable and secure in the apartment, in the dog, in our relationship as a whole. I felt like everything was going well, like my future had been decided already and I could comfortably relax without worrying about what life would be like in five years’ time. Turns out, I was wrong, of course. There’s more to life than we ever expect, and the second we become comfortable in the way things are, they start to show signs of deteriorating. Like all things, this too shall pass. I just need to accept where I am now, in exile, wherever that is, and live and let live. I need to move forward with my life and not waste time thinking endlessly about past mistakes. There were many mistakes that I made, but in retrospect, I didn’t deserve what happened to me.

So much of what I’ve written on here was a lie. I need to eclipse it with truth. That’s my new goal for this blog, to override everything I wrote on here that was false or misleading, to take it all out and not erase it, necessarily, but to make it better.

#454: The Doorway, Part 2

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This post is a continuation from the previous one, so please read that one first to get an idea of what I’m talking about here.

So, when I talk about Jace leaving the room and roaming around outside, I don’t mean in the outdoors, thankfully. If he were actually roaming around outside, I would be worried. He’s supposed to be an indoor boy, apparently, and so he most definitely finds the most happiness and comfort surrounded by walls. He’s domesticated, after all, and has a penchant for climbing on top of things and jumping from place to place.

The doorway allows him to roam around the basement or first floor area, and I’ve considered leaving the door open so he can just roam around wherever he wants. The only issue with that is that I worry he’ll stand by the doorway leading into the garage and, when someone opens the garage door, he’ll make a run for it. He’s a crazy little dude and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to do that from time to time.

Whenever I’ve opened the door and he’s made a run for it, he usually doesn’t run at all. He just kind of casually walks away, meanders down by the staircase, doesn’t go up it at all, but just stares at it for a few seconds before deciding to go towards the computer desk in the other room. He looks at it, goes underneath the desk when he sees me wander nearby, and then waits patiently for me to pick him up and bring him back to the room. He doesn’t mind being picked up, thankfully, which makes this whole process that much smoother and better for me. Sometimes he even just walks on his own back to the doorway and doesn’t seem to find the other area that interesting.

#453: The Doorway, Part 1

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The doorway into my bedroom is a wooden door that’s quite slim and tiny. It’s difficult to get in sometimes if you’re carrying something. When Mike and I were carrying my desk from the apartment back to the new home, we thought about bringing it through the doorway, but then remembered it would be impossible. It’s too tiny, and the curve around the hallway makes it exceptionally difficult to manage holding something like that. So instead, we went in through the door that leads outside, the one right by the bathroom. It was easier for us to manage and made the moving process so much better.

But this blog post isn’t about something as mundane as the doorway leading into my room. Instead, I want to talk about how the doorway leads to a certain escape (to borrow a term from a previous blog) from one small cat, the same cat that loves leaving the room as soon as possible and roaming around all over the place, leaving its hair on the ground and chewing on whatever seems to be chewable in the nearby vicinity. He’s a monster, but he’s my monster, and I love that about him. He’s the exact type of cat I imagined getting all those weeks ago, and he’s fulfilled all the obligations he has. He’s the type of cat that meows when you see him, and he lays down on the floor as soon as you walk in because he wants you to pet him and love him. He’s beautiful and a bundle full of love.

The doorway, however, is what allows him to roam around more. It’s not that him going around the downstairs is a bad thing, necessarily; it’s good that he’s able to explore and manage life on his own. He’s a good boy, after all.

#452: The Amazon

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No, this won’t be about the rainforest, even though I know it’s falling apart and needs rescuing. Instead, this is about the website Amazon, a remarkable resource for finding items you need and getting them delivered quickly to your doorstep. Whatever it is you’re after, there’s a way of getting it cheap and easy on Amazon. It’s literally one of the few capitalist inventions I’m willing to splurge on, even though I know it’s probably a bad idea to endorse the processes that Jeff Bezos and his friends represent and also endorse. Labor exploitation isn’t fun, and it’s definitely one of the issues I care most about, considering I work as a teacher and being contracted under a union is deeply important to me.

But today I’ll be talking about Amazon. I didn’t have Amazon Prime for awhile, but I split the cost of it with Alex, who has since changed her password. I realized this after I tried logging in to watch something on her account. Not that she’s wrong for doing that; it’s just it reminds me of the realization that we’re no longer together, that our lives have separated completely. Every inch of our relationship that once was is no more, severed in some way, sometimes quickly and smoothly and other times with a bit of challenge and difficulty. It’s so hard to move on without feeling like you’ve lost something that was once a huge part of you, a person you built your life around. Like being lost in the Amazon.

There’s nothing wrong with changing your password, and I don’t hold that against her. It’s the right and fair thing for a person to do after a break up. It’s just one of those small actions that surprises me and keeps me on my toes, I guess.