I've been watching the Olympics mostly because nothing much else has been on in these last days of summer. I've been given pause several times in the last week or so by what I believe are striking and strange phenomena connected to the games.
1. In the timeline of one's life, at what point does one discover talent in something like pole-vaulting? 2. What are those little towely chamois things that the divers cling to and wring out once they're out of the pool? 3a. Is Michael Phelps part fish? 3b. Is Usain Bolt part cheetah? 4. Why did that Chinese gymnast get a medal in vault when the American gymnast didn't even touch her knees to the mat? 6. How did the USA women's volleyball team manage to win a gold medal in pouring rain while wearing white bikinis and not look like they were just competing in a wet T-shirt contest? 7. Didn't the minimum age of Olympic athletes used to be older than pre-pubescent (see diver Thomas Daley of Great Britain and the Chinese women's gymnastics team)? 8. How come gymnasts are the only people in the world allowed to wear scrunchies?
I take off in about 7 hours. I'm already exhausted in anticipation of being exhausted. I went through a wide gamut of emotions today, from dread to anxiety to brief excitement to shock to denial and back again. Mostly, I'm just tired because I feel like I just did this. But this time, I didn't even really notice my room emptying.
I guess, as K says, it's more like this is the second step in what has been a transitional year than it is another transition on its own.
I feel a little bit like I've traveled so much in 8 months (to SLO, to Austin, to Vegas) that it's just another vacation somewhere. And maybe it'll even feel like that for a little while once I'm there...
My weekend of farewells started with lunch with my co-director, followed by an afternoon o' fun with some kids from Alice. I had promised them Slurpees and talking about life, so that's precisely what we did. Saturday evening, we had a going-away party, and there were even a couple surprise guests. These are people I will definitely be keeping in touch with--I wasn't sure I could make such good friends in such a relatively short time, but I did. (Lesson #428293 of those learned during this reprieve.) And then I know there are also people I've been in touch with here that I will never see again; I'll add those to the very long list of people in my life that I often wonder about.
My only wish for myself, in this "second part of the transition," is that I cling to all I've done and learned here, bring it all with me back to school, settle in, and then promptly take the place over.
I am currently in a swiftly-emptying room. 6 boxes packed and probably 4-5 more to go. Right now is probably the first time I've felt relieved about the packing job all month. I only have books left to conquer, which of course, is the bulk of it. I've gotten rid of 3 bags of clothes and a big box of books, so I think I'm taking to Boston less than what I brought to Cali. Which is good. A fresh start. I got rid of articles of clothing and books that I've been carrying since high school. And I'm sure I'll get to Boston and be like...where IS that? And then I'll curse the fact that I moved again and had to purge again. Like right now, I'm thinking, I totally got rid of that abridged version of Little Women that I've been carrying around for 15 years. And that sucks. But it's also not the entire book, so it's basically less useful to me than I thought it was when I was carting it from Brooklyn to Cambria to Berkeley to Brooklyn to Soho to Brooklyn to San Luis Obispo. Or the red fleece sweater I've been carrying since high school and wore the first couple years of college. The one that I held onto when I got a wardrobe makeover, despite my friends' insensitive protests. It's hung in like 7 closets unnecessarily. But it's still sad to get rid of it. I feel like I need a ceremony.
I hate this part. It's like a very painful shedding of my skin. And it's also the anticipation of mourning parts of my history and childhood when, one day, I'll really want to have some of those artifacts. To reminisce over. To show my kids. Too bad it's so expensive to get that stuff back across the country.
Update: After I wrote this, I went down to the garage and fished out the abridged version of Little Women. Some things just need to be held onto.
Update, #2: The heaviest box I'll pack will be the one with the memento box of programs I've kept from as far back as The Doll's House and She Loves Me, both seen around 1994.