kitchen table

the game
September 26, 2006, 6:25 pm
Filed under: Buffalo, Growing Up, love

We are only particles of change, I know, I know.
-Joni Mitchell

I just started a new job this week and it has me playing the game, “What would the Whitney-from-10-years-ago think about this most recent venture?” I like this game, in part because I try to imagine what version I’ll be playing ten years from now.

In the year or so since I graduated from college, I’ve done things my younger self would probably find surprising, maybe even unappealing. They include working on a dairy farm, teaching English in South Korea, and managing a political campaign.

Sometimes I feel the panic I imagine most people feel: Shit! Am I really doing this? We tend to psych ourselves out by believing that once we sign up for a job or a change or an apartment lease, we’ll be there forever. This is another reason why I like playing the game: it reminds me of how unlikely those fears actually are.

Even if we do stay in a job or a city for a long period of time, I take comfort in knowing that our areas of focus change, our friends move on and move closer, our families split and heal and split again.

I’d love to hear about other people’s surprises—what have you done or what are you doing now that a younger version of yourself would find hard to believe or understand?


nice, little get away
September 20, 2006, 11:30 am
Filed under: Buffalo, City life, friends, Growing Up, love

“One of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary, has ever happended to anyone before.”

Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That”

Somerville station, NJ

I flew into New York last Thursday morning, early enough to almost fall asleep on the subway. I made a friend though, an Argentinian woman who wanted to go to “Can-nan-nal” Street during her layover, and our small talk kept me half-alert until I could reach my friend’s apartment and promptly fall asleep in his bed.

The city was filled with rain and strangers who shared with me umbrellas and other sweetness.

Flung back into the life of a vagabond–where am I staying tonight?–both fun and excruiating. Now that travel has become a short thing of the Getting Away nature, and not my lifestyle as it was when I hopped from plane to plane, country to country, I am feeling its affects differently. As expected, I appreciate it more immediately for what it is: luxurious, an escape.

But there’s this other piece too, and I’m afraid I’ve got little choice but to be vague as I work through the feeling: I’m learning how a simple vacation–especially when you visit a place where you spent a few nights asking yourself hard questions or a few mornings waking up in bed with a lover or a few evenings walking with a blank slate of obligations–can shake the whole foundation of the place from where you departed.

I don’t know how to let something devour me slightly.

I love lazy mornings
August 20, 2006, 6:42 pm
Filed under: funny fun fun, home, love