Thunder Thighs Moves into A Van Down By the Nowhere
Yesterday confirmed something I've long suspected: I am only happy while riding my bike. It's the only way I can commune with the weirdly phlegmatic city of Chicago and feel generally excited about being alive. I bike a good deal. Usually around 20 miles a day depending on what I'm up to, what errands I invent for myself. Yesterday's mission involved riding up the lakeshore to Montrose Beach. The pathway was so packed with pedestrians, cyclists and roller bladers, I found myself almost wistful for the dangers of car-traffic. Before I reached the shore, I had been barreling down North Avenue and experienced a peculiar sensation of air moving through my body. Being out in the sunshine, in motion through the world calms and blanches my mind.
At the beach Vic and I were joking about the bodily transformations a bicycling life-style effects on one's person. For some time I'd been laughing about getting thunder thighs but now, today, it's dawned on me, in a really corporeal way of knowing, that it's happened. My thighs are decidedly bigger. They make contact with one another when I walk and this is startling. Jesse assured me that since it's all muscle this is sexy. But what will become of it in the winter? How true it is that like the proverbial miser, the more jealously you possess something, the more fearfully obsessive you become about losing it. I've been blessed with at least a couple bits of luck in that in spite of all the abuse I've heaped on myself, I am pretty thin and youthful looking. I am positively terrified, however, about losing my looks. I think about aging all the time. I've become distrustful of my body, all bodies actually, as I enter a new phase in my life in which entropy begins to make itself known. People my age are beginning to gain weight, lose hair, and just look, in a way that's hard to describe, a little bit older in the face.
Not surprisingly, there seems to be a direct correlation between my panicky fretting about aging and my near terminal inability to grow up. And here's where we get to what I really wanted to tell you:
I'm leaving town.
And I don't know when I'll be back.
1 year is my absolute cap. Since I was 17, I have never managed to stay put in one place longer than a year. And rarely a year. The true max is more like 10 months. I shan't bother to list all the countries, states and cities, (not to mention all the houses within those places) I've lived in the past 7 years but there have been quite a few. I attended three colleges and have already dropped out of my first graduate program. I spent two summers in a row homeless and aimless. I've road-tripped, hitchhiked, and hopped freight trains. I've slept on a lot of sofas, in vans, boxcars and under bridges. And I'm about to do it again. And I'll let you in on a little secret:
I hate moving. I hate traveling and above all else, I hate change.
And yet, I'm always up and going. Truly, I am a desperately sedentary creature who had the deep misfortune of ending up in the existence of a wanderlust. Every time I relocate it's with the hopes of finding love, peace and fulfillment and settling down. But that keeps not happening. And I get disappointed. A deep, sad sort of disappointment that unlaces things inside, pulls out shoddily basted stitches and then runs the threads across ticklish places. I get to thinking it's time to go, to seek fortune elsewhere.
When I was 19, preparing to move to Pittsburgh, my friend Allan, over cigarettes and a piece of apple pie, told me something I will never forget. "Abby" he said shaking his head "You're a real fool if you think you can move anywhere in this world and your problems won't follow you." I thought I had it. I was moving, after all, to escape the torturous ravages of my dissolving epic first love affair and figured if I could leave him in Michigan I could start all over. What I know now but didn't know then was that this heartbroken escapism would become a trope for me. All to often it strikes me as easier to move than simply move on. It's not that I have any trouble tackling my problems head-on. I tend to over tackle, really to cripple. I move so far through and beyond my targets I emerge on the other side and find there's nowhere to go. I'm so full of hope I become hopeless.
Whenever my most recent swell of schemes for stability is thwarted I react like a petulant child. Things aren't working out? I'm still alone, without a respectable salary, material possessions to speak of, well why bother trying? Instead, why not willfully place myself in the most unstable, transient scenario possible? Enter my plans for this summer, which will go into effect this Monday June 6th.
Devon and Sam graciously invited me to join their band for a cross-country tour as a sort of catchall girl. My involvement will be varied and minimal, some vocals and keyboard and depending on Sam's plans, perhaps some bass. Over the course of a month we're touring from California to New York and back. I've rented out my room, quit my job and am preparing to pack my stuff in storage, unsure when or if I'll ever return. I'm taking stock of my meager possessions and lending them out in a will-making sort of fashion:
Mattress and dresser- to Tyler
My busted old classical guitar, the one my father used to serenade my mother- to Emilio
My jambox- to Heather since she keeps it in her studio all the time anyways.
The computer will come with me as I have a lot of writing projects scheduled for the summer.
I love the boys and although we will certainly have some difficult moments, living in a van the 5 of us, I'm looking forward to playing music, visiting places I've never been like New Mexico and Texas, sleeping all rolled together like puppies.
One thing I'm going to miss desperately, however, is riding my bike.
That muscle might turn to mush long before the cold weather sets in. But then again, I'm leaving Chicago; maybe the cold weather will never set in again.