The first to go were all of the talkitive strangers on the street. There are a lot in New York, begging people to sign a petition, announcing that aliens are among us, and singing off-key, totally strung out, hoping for a dollar to put towards their next fix. I stopped hearing them all out of self-preservation, to the point that I can have an unbroken conversation on the F train while a spittle-flecked bug-eyed prophet is screaming in my ear to turn to Jesus, much to the amusement of anyone I’m talking to.
My brain is out of room! There’s a lot going on with more on the way, and I’m dealing by callously pushing out all of the stuff – physical and non – I don’t have the space for, New York City nut-jobs included. I don’t miss them, but I do miss some of the fun stuff, especially the extra layer of goodness I used to have that made me a Very Thoughtful Person. Everything is fine, but there is suddenly… a lot of life. It’s taken up the room that was previously dedicated to remembering birthdays. You know?
You probably know.
It’s a marriage, no longer buoyed merely by the spark of newness, requiring ACTUAL WORK to maintain the wonderful (and it is wonderful, it’s just not effortless anymore, much like metabolism slowing). It’s owning property where things go wrong. It’s living in a rental where things are constantly breaking because at every turn there is evidence that the landlord used the cheapest EVERYTHING possible. Since we’ve lived here, the ceiling has leaked, the heat has gone off in sub-zero temperatures, the hot water’s gone off mid-shower with my hair foaming with shampoo… I could go on and on, but the clincher? Last week I dropped a small, light, plastic bottle in the bathroom sink and it made a dime-sized hole. There’s other stuff, too, that I’m not ready to talk about. It’s all mewling for my attention and things have reached the point of “overwhelming”.
And it only ever gets worse, doesn’t it? Clutter in, clutter out. Bills, deadlines, clients, expectations. Dishes piled high, again. The laundry. A sick dog, a neglected friend, emails unanswered. Layers of dust. Forgotten receipts. Expired coupons. Lost keys. Long lines at bureaucratic offices.
I’m not really complaining. I would rather this any day than the life I could have very easily had – the one where eating out at a chain restaurant is the most exciting thing to happen to me in a month; the one where entire conversations can revolve around the price of gas these days – but I haven’t quite learned how to deal with it yet.
So if I’ve missed your party, forgotten your name for the fourth time, or turned up at an event unfashionably late, know that I’m really sorry, and I’ll be better in a little bit. Just give me a minute.