Packing for long term displacement must be hard enough that my brain wants to find respite elsewhere. Color schemes start asserting themselves and the iPhone materializes in my hands to create a welcome photo break. Yes, the stacked tops make it into the luggage. And no, the grapefruit quartet is rejected. Sorting through the drawers and closets is also the kind of activity that demands cleaning. Dust and its bunnies, as well as some cobwebs are lurking in corners, hoping to be spared…
Don’t know that all cobwebs need cleaning up. Specially the kind that tie us to others in our lives. Whether they’re on the front burner of our daily attention spectrum or relegated to some well known corners of the mind. Of course, Facebook has paved the way for those corners to be better lit and aerated. My virtually-accessible friends – because the friendships aren’t of the virtual kind, it’s just a matter of geography, really – have become a more pronounced part of my daily life and my own web of ties has extended itself beyond the mere limits of my local geography. Ties that are much more ubiquitous and effortless than a phone-call once a month or an occasional email could ever hope to be.
It’s poignant to think about re-inserting myself into another place. Re-inserting, because I’ve lived there before; there are landmarks that have personal meanings; there used to be such a thing I called my LA or my LA experience at least. An experience was mostly centered on Glendale and La Crescenta; mostly because of community and work. But even then the West Side beckoned with its art house movie theaters, its pre-Starbucks cafés and its suaveness. And yes, after watching a foreign movie, my friends and I did have discussions about how the waitstaff in those same cafés seemed to be posers, as if waiting to be discovered by the only industry in LA that obviously matters to all those who are svelte and beautiful enough, that draws them from all over this country and others to Hollywood. Or is it the dream of Hollywood?
Now I’m curious to experience this West Side as a temporary “local.” A re-invention of the self is what may dissolve the routines that encumber us and so it may be liberating to be surrounded by posers. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on that. Right after I’ve walked to Laemmle’s Music Hall and back. After stopping by at Tarte Tatin Bakery, of course. That aspect of just walking to places in the neighborhood being one of the major draws for me. And maybe one of the reasons why my husband is packing his jaunty summer hat.
Can’t even begin to think about this re-insertion without all those friends that are in LA. They’re part of my cobwebs that need absolutely no cleaning. Yes, we can’t step in the same river twice. Yes, they *and* I have changed. Some used to be my preteen students at the time and are now adults with jobs and even kids of their own. Yes, we can’t turn back time and erase fifteen years or so. Not that that’s what I’m expecting, but seeing my friends again and hanging out with them will be the closest I’ll come to doing exactly that: recapturing some part of me who liked how I felt being with them, and they who liked how they felt being with me. On the way back from our last lunch near our house, my husband and I talked about how that mutual feeling is one cornerstone of friendship.
Okay, so maybe a spiderweb isn’t the right way to describe friendships and ties. I certainly don’t want to evoke fat and gruesome spiders clasping and devouring their prey and attuned to the vibrations of their web which they are ever vigilant to repair. And now that you’ve all gone ahead and pictured them anyway, no, that is not it at all. Rather, the image of a delicate lace shawl comes to my mind. This is one I knit of black wool a few years ago when trying to learn how to be more patient with my hands and myself. Although it didn’t take a lifetime to create, it took long enough to serve as a good metaphor for the intricate ties one forges with friends. And the warmth it can provide despite its quasi-weightlessness is yet another good reason for this metaphor to work.
Tomorrow we’ll cross a good portion of California from North to South. And my friends at both ends of this road will weave themselves into my mind while I’ll be desperately seeking diversions on the long flatness that is the San Joaquin Valley. So long and see you soon!