Sunday, January 9, 2011

Living, not traveling

So I don't really write here because I just don't know how interesting it is for all of you (you know, all four of you) to read about my exciting life in Australia and how I WENT TO THE GROCERY STORE and then I RETURNED SOME BOOKS TO THE LIBRARY and then I WALKED MY DOG. Those are the things that living is made up of, not traveling, and since this blog is about traveling, I don't want to bore you with my ex-pat lifestyle. Unless you are panting to know where to find the best seedless grapes in season here in Perth, in which case I can tell you, it is the Morley Grower's Market, where they are less than $6 a kilo, and Americans, if you think this is massively expensive, this is only because you don't know that bananas are $2.99 a kilo. Compare that to the whopping US sum of 39 cents a pound. Also gas (or as they say here, petrol) is up to $1.35 a litre and not falling. I might as well light all my money on fire as soon as I get it.

I live in a new house now. It is very large, much larger than my boyfriend and I can fill up, even with an enthusiastic dog. The dog mostly just sits where we are anyway, hoping that he will someday have discovered the way to occupy the exact same molecular space as us so that he can literally be INSIDE US and therefore complete the purpose of his little pat-obsessed doggy brain. The house has rooms everywhere, so many rooms that we have two guest rooms and only one guest to fill them with (Jason's teenaged son, occasionally), and whole rooms with which we do nothing. It's like living with Jeff all over again: having not just rooms but FLOORS where nothing happened, and dust slowly settled on whatever thing we'd temporarily decided to put in there. (As an aside, can I say that I think dust is one of the most unfair things about living in a large house? I remember complaining to my mom once about how I had just dusted and then I had to go and dust AGAIN. And she said, "Yeah, that happens. Dust really never stops, you know?" Stupid dust)

So this new house is in a supposedly bad neighborhood, and apparently we can't get contents insurance on our stuff--which, given, is mostly not very expensive--because we don't have up-to-date security stuff. We have deadbolts on all the doors, and window locks, but we don't have security screens or an alarm system. The dog would probably lick burglars to death, and Jason's son would probably not emerge from the depths of World of Warcraft to notice that they'd made off with the TV and laptops. So contents insurance is renter's insurance, basically: it's insurance for the stuff in the house, as opposed to the house itself.

Living in my own space as opposed to just renting a room from an awesome lady I met on Couchsurfing entails some understandings of things that I didn't have before: namely, that domesticity has a tendency to hit me hard. For example, I seriously considered buying a $400 Dyson vacuum cleaner the other day. I bought a 1950s dressing table and put it in the bedroom. I refinished it with wood cleaner and walnut polish. I feel like I should be wearing an apron and curlers, and like my name should be Mabel.

I also need to understand that it's a sort of permanence I've avoided rather seriously up til this point. Living with Justin, I always knew I could leave whenever I wanted. In fact, most of the time, I felt like he would have been equally happy if I left or stayed...he might have been a bit sad that I was gone, but he would have gotten over it by evening, when he found a nice squishy girl to have sex with. The only time in my life my name's been on a lease before now was a six-month stint at an apartment in Pittsburgh (still the only six months I've ever lived alone), and I always knew that was temporary. I had the plane tickets to Guatemala already blinking in my in-box; the end-date was set. Now, in Perth, I've gotten more settled than I've been for a very long time, and I admit, it scares me a bit.

The thing is, whenever I get settled, I get hurt. I give up parts of myself, get all domestic and homey, and then realize the world I've settled myself into has goes bad...and I end up ending a relationship or being forgotten. Moving in with someone takes a big commitment, obviously, but just the space of commitment is a commitment itself. I take a big breath, though, and I try again.

1 comment:

sky said...

Also, being settled means that you have lovely friends around you to help out if things do go pear-shaped (or less-attractive-fruit-shaped). *hugs*