March 08, 2007

City on the river.

I emailed the goblins in their house on the hill and told them I won't be joining them in their far-flung solitude. With no groceries or restaurants nearby I'm concerned that my tasty flesh might be the nearest convenient meal for them.

With that established, I've returned to trolling Craigslist for early summer postings. The most promising thing to turn up this morning was a summer sublet two blocks up the hill from Kingman -- two actual blocks this time -- starting a few days before co-op moving day and ending within a few days of the end of my job here. I bookmarked it and spent several quality hours arguing with myself. I need something long-term, I said. No you don't, said the voices in my head, you don't have a job in Berkeley after July. But I'll need to find a job after that, I said. No, they said, you'll have found something already and you can look for an apartment wherever your job is. I said, won't I just stay in Berkeley anyway?

This is where the voices started playing dirty. You don't have to stay in Berkeley, they said. I said, where else would I go? They murmured among themselves -- I vaguely heard a short name beginning with a P. Stumptown? I asked. You're not serious, are you? The voices took on a note of tried patience. You like Portland, they said. No, I love Portland, I said, but who do I know there? No one, they said, and what's the problem? The problem is I don't know anyone! I whined. They asked me, do you know how to stop being afraid of meeting new people? I said, no! They said, that's why you should move to Portland.

I tried another defense. Why Portland? I asked. They smirked. She says why Portland, they snickered to each other. Bridges and blackberry vines and trees and local beers, they told me, that's why Portland. Powell's. OMSI. A downtown you can walk across in ten minutes and rent like the Bay Area doesn't want to know about. I said, you're not helping. They said, Oh yes we are.

I checked back this afternoon and found the room listing already gone, and with it some of the immediacy of the voices. They're no longer gibbering at me to run-not-walk to this new house and prostrate myself for the room, but they haven't let up on the long-range pressure. There'll never be a better time, they say, but if you want to be stuck in Berkeley forever I'm sure that's your business. You'll get an apartment here and then a job near the apartment and then another apartment near the job and it'll keep you in the East Bay until you're 40, they say. You live in a co-op, they say, you have no furniture and you could fit everything you own in a station wagon. I don't have a station wagon, I tell them, and they tell me I'm 25 and could rent one to any city I like. I tell them I can't think about leaving the Bay Area right now, and they say no, you can think about it at the end of July. They say, you know, July, when your summer sublet runs out? I don't have a summer sublet, I say, I'm not even looking for one... and they say, oh yes you are.

It's not a plan, at all. Even I can't go from no idea to plan in four purely speculative hours. It's just that for all the time I've spent telling myself I could pick up tomorrow and move anywhere I please, it's never really occurred to me that I could pick up, not tomorrow in defiance of reason but in a few carefully-planned and financially stable months, and move anywhere I please and it might work. And it wouldn't be a way to burn out in anonymity on darkened streets, like my old Chicago fantasy, but a place to live in a brightly-lit apartment with my cat and go to work and come home and go for walks and read books and drink tea and do other things that Diannas find fulfilling. It wouldn't have to be Portland particularly (although there is the great Cementhorizon migration to consider). Pick a minor metropolis, any minor metropolis -- nothing fancy, just a progressive reputation and a small local music scene -- and go. There will be libraries, there will be museums, there will be room for Dianna.

It's weird to feel compelled to go, instead of just to leave. I seem to have fans and motors installed in my extremities all of a sudden. On the other hand, I'm still sick and my head is spinning and my ears ringing, so it's no wonder my mind is way off in the distance. It may come to nothing. But: Portland!

Edit! Extry! Extry! The posting wasn't gone after all; it just moved into the "sublet/temporary" section. Hot damn. I've already sent an email.

Posted by dianna at March 8, 2007 05:43 PM

Portland, eh? That's closer to Seattle, right? The place where I'll be living, come late July?

Posted by: Erik at March 8, 2007 06:48 PM

I have a better idea. Why don't you move to the most remote corner of the Valley and become the indentured caregiver for an aging relative who's currently the focus of family psychodrama?

Seriously, while I'm trying not to do Trembly Lip at the idea of my DBS moving farther away, (a) I never seem to visit you enough anyway, so what's a few miles?, and (b) I think moving someplace new is awesome and exciting, and I'd definitely hop on a bus to come see you wherever. Except Coalinga.

Posted by: katie at March 8, 2007 07:25 PM

coalinga IS stinky.

there's a lovely train to portland too, katie.

not that i'm pushing you to move to portland or anything, dianna. but it really sounds like you would fit right in and love it. if it helps, i can give you introductions to my cousins that live there. they're friendly and funny. also, admittedly, about to become parents, but you can't hold that against them. if only they'd known in advance that you might be coming, i'm sure they would have held off on the baby-making.

p.s. nuala has almost definitely decided against moving to denver and it's looking like her next choice is portland. or georgia. but come on, i'm relatively sure she won't move to georgia. (man, i hope she doesn't move to georgia.) so the great CH migration might still be happening, you never know. though two of the classes i want to take next fall DO require some class time on campus. which would be a problem.

Posted by: michele at March 8, 2007 07:55 PM

Lovely train! Lovely train!

So, hey. I forgot this incredibly important question: who wants to take a short trip to Portland with me this summer and talk me either into or out of moving? We can make a long weekend of it. C'mon. They have trees there.

Posted by: Dianna at March 8, 2007 08:32 PM

This summer, round abouts May, I'll be taking a road trip up to Seattle for an interview (I hope). I hear that Portland is somewhat on the way to Seattle.

Posted by: Jacob at March 8, 2007 11:48 PM

I am fucking pre-sad.

Posted by: Elliot at March 9, 2007 08:47 AM

I hear that moving to Portland cures pre-sadness in 99 out of 100 Elliots.

Posted by: Dianna at March 9, 2007 09:20 AM

Unfortunately, the remaining 1 out of 100 was Elliot Smith.

Posted by: Jacob at March 9, 2007 09:36 AM

Bad taste, you. Anyway, he was excluded from the study for spelling his name with extraneous Ts.

Posted by: Dianna at March 9, 2007 10:14 AM

To be fair, he already lived there. Also, his name wasn't really "Elliott". One might argue that Mr. Smith is actually a good argument against moving to Los Angeles.

In addition: Well played, Corn.

Posted by: sean at March 9, 2007 11:05 AM

Wait, wait. I didn't actually know that he lived in Portland. Is it too late to go back and register a "well done sir" nod?

Posted by: Dianna at March 9, 2007 11:20 AM

ha ha ha! jacob, you made a funny.

may, huh? i thought you were thinking later in the summer.

Posted by: michele at March 9, 2007 12:05 PM

I'm thinking later in the summer. Like June. Mostly that's because I don't get vacation time from work and with the way my current Black Death is going I won't have spare sick days for a while.

Posted by: Dianna at March 9, 2007 12:26 PM

i might be in ireland in june.

Posted by: michele at March 9, 2007 04:18 PM

Will you be taking the high road or the low road? Or is that Scotland?

Posted by: Dianna at March 9, 2007 06:19 PM