I am not sure what I expected when I entered my Dorchester home, but this wasn’t it. I guess I haven’t been too silent about the unsteady ground I seem to be in recently from not really identifying where I am from. The running joke for me is when asked where I am from, I would say “I don’t know”. Maybe I assumed when I got back to the condo some feeling of finding a ‘firm ground’ would come.
After leaving the pup at a pet spa Saturday morning, I hoped on a five-hour direct flight to Boston Logan. It landed around 11pm local time, which meant by the time I got my luggage and a rental car I wouldn’t be pulling up to my place until near 12:30. Some of what I saw pulling up was what I expected, easier driving and more logical parking since the roads were clear of the snow that was such the habit for my time there. I parked as close as I could have hoped for a Saturday night in Dorchester. Quick drag of the bags up the flight of stairs, a long fumble to find the right key to open the doors, and I was in.
I wondered how many smoke detectors would be beeping, or if some amount of food left in the fridge had decided to turn into a zombie, or maybe a squatter would have taken over. Instead there were no smells, no beeps, no new house guests. The clocks showed evidence the power went out at one point, and a couple of red bell peppers had turned liquid – but everything was in working order, even the quirky washing machine that went immediately to work when I got in the door.
In truth, you get used to things when you live somewhere for a while – even if it is a hotel. I’m not saying the change of sheets or clean towels. It starts with the sounds. A two-story hotel made in the 90s sound proofed much better than a three-story 115 year old Victorian. Every step taken by my upstairs neighbors boomed in my place making me remember how often the Auggie would freak out about it. Wood floors on me feet was a relief from the carpet I got so used to. And I won’t lie to you … I missed my TV. 60″ crystal clear HD beauty giving me a definition and picture quality I couldn’t really appreciate until I went without it for so long.
It was much of the way I left it,thought. Which is to say, in rough shape. Most of the unpacked boxes still filled my home office, the dining room was still nothing but a folding table and a printer. I started to pick up papers and old mail to throw away wondering why I didn’t clear it up before – but I took a look at some of it and thought I might want to keep it. The furniture I need to build for the home office, it still was in its boxes blocking the front room. As I wandered around the place,though, it felt a little bit foreign. Like I was staying at someone else’s place. I knew where everything was, but it was still a house that didn’t seem mine. Yet it also seemed like it wasn’t a house someone had lived in either. Which I guess is true too.
By the morning and a couple hours after, I was re-packed for a work week in New Hampshire, just a couple hours up the road from Boston. No food in the house, no desire to add things to the fridge, by noon I was clearly clearly hungry – but the burden of finding a place with respectful parking on a Sunday afternoon drew a blank. So I just wrapped up at the place, packed up the rental and tried to find lunch. I went downtown, near where I lived when I first came to Boston and again was strained by the lack of parking and lack of inspiration. But down here, there were memories – places I went when I had the time, stores, shops, pubs. There were places I wanted to visit, tours I wanted to take. I started to head out of town and passed through parts of Medford where I saw some of the old New Englandy parts of town. The radio played sports talking Red Socks and Patriots. I saw all these things that I remember
I remembered the optimism. The feeling I had when I came to town excited on the possibilities. The ideas I was going to come up with to make a life here.
I drove on, to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Five days here. Which is the first of at least four weeks I will spend up here this summer — four if things go well, eight if it doesn’t. And if it does, those other weeks will be spent somewhere else.
It’s supposed to get better.
But maybe it will be cool to keep coming home to that TV.