I will admit to having spent a great deal of time being transient in this life. I've slept on many a couch, floor, futon; inside sleeping bags; at airports, railroad stations, one or maybe two bus stations and occasionally a hotel room... much of that was done when I was young, carefree, but most importantly single. I’ve even made two major moves as an adult with a small child, both times though back to places I’d previously resided, hence I had a network of people (that I knew), there was familiarity and a level of comfort with the “lay of the land”.
That was not the case when I departed the Pacific NW and headed east; despite having visited Pittsburgh in May and been to the “area” for long weekends, I had no idea what it would be like. Not to mention, that I am a person who revolves in patterns… as many of us are when it comes to where you shop, what day or in what order you run errands, the way you drive to this place or that, especially if you have lived in the same place for a long period of time. There was a time after the beetle wreck, certain routes were critical to my sense of well being; some roads were off limits, others I could zip along gaily. Eventually you learn traffic patters, you even occasionally see the same car: there is a sense of control… and as those of you who know me know: I like being in control.
So when I arrived here and was staying with near strangers in a strange land, knowing not even where exactly in the city we really were, compared to the places I had seen in May or been during visits past, I will admit to letting each and everything push me into a corner. In some ways… not knowing what path to take, meant I didn’t take any path at all. In some respects I felt like I shouldn’t leave our ever so temporary home, because I didn’t want to leave Poppy in a little room all day, but we couldn’t take her and leave her in the car either. Occasionally Michael would drag me, begrudgingly, out. A few times we drove around aimlessly looking for rentals, Craigslist isn’t always the best method of finding something you need/want around here, and I think they still use the Penny Saver religiously.
It was difficult, and I begun to let fear rule me. I gave in, at last, to the sadness and grief I felt over leaving my friends, even my life and not just where I lived and worked, but the patterns, the easily met expectations. I felt that by making this decision we had ruined our lives irreparably. This, of course, did not come across well to those we were staying with. They didn't know me from jack, and I suppose at the moment I didn't want them to know me, and I didn't want to have to get to know them. As Ani Difranco sings, "I want my old friends. I want my old face. I want my old mind. Fuck this time and place."
Of course navigating their lives, including their children and animal’s lives did not help me stand up any straighter, or find my way out… in fact I felt like I had two left feet and was tripping over everyone and everything. I was NOT in control. I needed space: a room that wasn’t covered in someone else’s photos, and the trinkets of their life; a place for my puppy dog to play with her toys and laze around that didn’t smell like a gigantic dog that wanted to eat her; most importantly somewhere I could bring my daughter home to, a place we could all be together again as a family…
One day when I was willing to step outside the door into the unknown… I came across a For Rent sign, only a stone’s throw away from the corner I had gathered myself up in. But alas it wasn't that easy and there would be hurdles to jump, and choppy waters to cross before I could call the place ours.