Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Thrill of Running from Memory

Over the past year James has told me more than once to step out of my comfort zone. I'd never really thought about my life like that before, but last night I bounded out of it and it was fabulous.

I walked down a dark street to a house I didn't know to a party where I only knew two people, and already I could see my mother's paranoid frown. I'd almost let that frown make me take the safer of my two options for going out, but something told me to just go, even though it was just a block away from where a break-in stabbing occurred just a little over two months ago and even though it was the very neighborhood that my parents had rejected for my potential apartment without even looking at the apartment itself.

I had a plan in mind that would allow me to go to this party and still make it back to my own place without being stabbed--and this is only a little bit of inherited paranoia, since people seem to be shot or stabbed left and right around here these days--but this also meant that my bus options resulted in me arriving obnoxiously on time. It could have been a lot more awkward than it was, but instead I got into a conversation about astrology and the philosophy of love, and I started feeling wonderfully pretentious in a reject-pretension kind of way, and I thought I could get used to this kind of existence that I watched my roommates lead for three years.

And then other people started arriving, and they looked and were nothing like anyone I actually know, but that was okay too. Out of the remnants of my natural awkwardness I ended up eating a little too much for this kind of setting, but somehow I blended in. When was the last time I was somewhere without another Asian? I remember, but it's exactly the memory I've been trying to run from for the past seven months or maybe even longer.

Someone offered to give me a ride home and so I got into a car with a guy I'd only just met two hours before. By now my mother's frown had turned into a shrill yell of disapproval, but somehow I knew that it would be okay. Besides, this is all the stuff that everyone is supposed to do at one point, and after the black hole that my past five years have become, why not? The car rattled and shuddered and smelled vaguely of who knows what, but it was wonderful anyway. Speeding down a residential street, not getting lost, even being pulled over and then being cavalier about it--I don't think I've ever done any of those things, let alone in the span of half an hour. Sometimes my memories would come creeping back, and I would think, What would he say now, huh? and at the moment it didn't really occur to me that he probably wouldn't care at all. Instead I moved on to thinking that I could get used to this--the unfamiliarity, the thrill of the moment, being carefree--and although it probably isn't a sustainable lifestyle for me I'm not done trying it yet.

I would have to look as I did and be unphotogenic and all that, but in the end, who cares, right? I danced in my apartment lobby.

No comments: