I have a laundry list of things to do today:
- make a movie
- walk the dog
- feed the dog
- make coffee
The list is overwhelming.
I’m going to go put the laundry in.
I’ll be right back.
I’ve been in my apartment for almost three weeks. I still haven’t settled in. I feel restless. Maybe it’s spring fever. Things are buzzing. Thoughts. Bees. Little doggies who love chasing balls. I’m still uncovering subtle changes in the landscape of my little home – small, hints that someone else was here and lived a lot of life in seven short months.
There’s a whole pile of cheap silverware I don’t recognize in the kitchen and the sconce is missing form the ceiling light. The pillows are disguised as shams and the shams as pillows. The bedroom light is missing a bulb. There’s a pregnancy test in the medicine cabinet, and today, when I was changing the sheets, a condom fell from the shelf. Expiration date, August 2015. It is highly possible that the condom will live its life without feeling the whoosh of fresh air as it’s birthed from its protective cover. Poor guy.
I got to go put the laundry in the dryer.
I grew up in Connecticut. Throughout my childhood, my parents referred to New Jersey as the armpit of America. This sentiment was etched into my consciousness by a miserable nine months I spent there with my unhappy family when I was five. Memories consist of my depressed mother staring down a wilted tuna fish sandwiches at the diner, and a kindergarten teacher who would call the cops on a five year old muscling in on another kid’s cookies if she were still teaching today.
I was thinking about this last Monday as I was riding the ferry to Hoboken. It was one of those beautiful New York spring days, and though the ferry was rather small, and the ride was only eight minutes, the light over the water was perfect. The New York skyline loomed like a picture in a reverse, the commuters numbed by repetition to the urban wilderness following them across the river, dove deeply into their smart phone screens.
The ferry chopped through the waters, carrying me to my New Jersey date. I was feeling good. I’ve hit eight states out of 50. 42 to go. I am Getting Things Done.
I have to fold the laundry. I’ll be back in a bit.
Anyhow, I got off at the wrong stop, which was made clear by a flurry of text messages, and as I walked along the waterfront into the bowels of Jersey, I began to picture what 50 Dates would look like if it were a Hollywood film.
Probably something like this: an intrepid, cute but quirky, perpetually single reporter who lives with an uncannily perceptive, well-behaved, shockingly cute and clever dog, accepts an assignment from her chain-electronic-cigarette-smoking, shoot-from-the-hip, Long Island accented editor to date across the country and write about it for a column in the paper and a possible book deal, career success, etc. She and her dog head out on the road and fall in love with the first man she meets, a cute but quirky, divorced, uncannily perceptive dad who doesn’t mind that her usually well-behaved dog pees on his shoe. As she jots from state to state, gaining notoriety for her fresh writing style and witty insights, she finds it harder and harder to keep her secret life a secret from her first date, with whom she shares an unusual love of stilt walking, juggling, and circus skills.
Separated by distance, responsibility (him), and career ambition (her), (plus, it turns out that the uncannily perceptive dad has known all along about her assignment and has been following her column), it looks like love, once again, is slipping through her fingertips.
That’s as far as I got.
My parents were wrong about New Jersey. Hoboken is a gem of a town. My date met me on the walkway and took me to a cute little cafe on Washington Street. He was a cool guy. He lived on a boat and played the sax. He studied his wines and loved his beers and knew how to look good in a suit. Unpredictable and contradictory. He was his own man.
My heart wasn’t in it, though. I was distracted.
I’m gonna go make some coffee.