Friday, January 06, 2006

From City to Cornfield

I was a hyper kid. Always into something. My parents have pictures of me and my sister when we were really little, and she always looked so perfect. She had that Marlo Thomas, "That Girl" perfectly coifed hair. My hair was cut short from day one. There are a few pictures where I had pigtails, but that was short lived. I think my parents figured that keeping my hair short far outweighed the hassle of constantly cutting gum out of it. Looking at old pictures, I notice a continuous, distinct layer of drool on the front of my shirts, too. It was lovely. I looked like a little boy. A damn cute little boy, but a boy, nonetheless. In fact, my mother has told me that during the first year and a half of my life, so many people mistaked me for a boy that she just played along after a while. Even with the scotch-taped bows stuck on my bald head.

I suppose I’ve always had a bit of a bohemian spirit, despite my Virgoan tendency to be organized and anal-retentive. I spent my 20s married and somewhat caged, my 30s have been nomadic thus far, but now I’m realizing that I’m almost in my mid-30s, on that downhill slope to 40 (well, in 8 months, anyway). I now have the urge to do things like buy a couch and a frying pan. There’s the school of thought that living footloose and fancy-free is the fun way to go. I’ve had several married and tied-down friends tell me to continue on my nomadic path..."Have don’t have kids, you don’t have any responsibilities...just you." Then there is the conservative viewpoint, the ones from people like my father, who say, "You need a five-year need to start saving...settling...laying down roots."

Someone told me once that life isn't about geography; it's about the people within your geography.

So, I’ve decided to compromise. I’m moving back to the cornfield. I like the cornfield. It boasts acres of corn, beans, and blue-collar people with a Saks just a mere 35-minute drive away. It’s a family-oriented place. A pleasant place. It’s my home, or the closest thing to it that I’ve ever had. I believe a nice, cozy couch will be in my not-so-distant future, along with a one-woman bachelorette pad. I will live on my own, sans roommates and roommate’s furniture. I will establish semi-roots with a smaller state sales tax. But I will remain a contractor, keeping my fear of professional commitment at bay. And, I will still eat my take-out dinners standing up over the kitchen sink. Ovens be damned. I have to draw the line somewhere.

I’m leaving my beautiful, adopted city in a short week. The price I pay for the freedom I fought for. The price I pay as a contractor. I go where the work is. I go where I feel the most loved. Bohemian thinking, for sure. But so far, it’s worked well enough for me.

I told myself I’d live in the big city for a year, and I did just that (maybe a month shy). I took subways and adopted alley bums and became one with the rats on my walks home from the local Whole Foods. I gained a thicker skin and observed. I did a hell of a lot of observing. It’s an alive place. It’s truly technicolor. It’s fabulous, and I will miss it. But I won’t cry until I drive away next week, and I’ll only allow myself a 45-minute window to do so. Only until I hit the state line. :-)