|December 21, 1998||Previous Tale||More Tales||Next Tale|
With Inga moving out of Susan's house and back in with video producer and home fish pond excavator Grover, attention has turned to the question of when Susan and I will cohabitate. My friends and family seem quite eager for me to move into Susan's house, doubtless because this represents the next agreed-upon stage of relationship development. For a couple to delay conforming to the timeline sends subtle signals that there's trouble on the home front. Despite subtle social pressures, we've remained resolute that no one moves anywhere until we're good and ready.
And much as I adore Susan's company, I was clearly not yet ready even a few short months ago. The thought of sharing my space with someone, and having nowhere that's exclusively mine to hide in when the world feels inexplicably evil, is pretty terrifying to me. She and I spend a great deal of time together, but it's taken time to ease into the idea that sharing space does not translate into a complete atrophy of my privacy, safety, and personality. As a psychological toehold in this new living space, Inga's room is likely to become the painting studio that I've been wanting since before moving to Washington. This concession of space on Susan's part is a touching offering to what I admit to be my own psychological hang-ups.
In the face of these changes, my dreams are as readable as a children's book. Last night I dreamed that I was in college and a scheduling error put me in a women-only suite. The only way the other women would allow me to be their roommate was if I took the one room with no door separating it from the rest of the suite. What I immediately noticed was that this was actually the largest room with the best furniture in the whole suite. It seemed like a reasonable trade off, but I was feeling a little worried that my suite-mates would realize I had such a great deal on furniture and start asking for that back, as well. I doubt I have to explain the meaning of this nocturnal edition. That kind of dream must be the stuff of analysts' fantasies -- a slow pitch they can smack out of the ballpark with their eyes closed.
In other news, I sold my car -- the beloved but ridiculously indulgent Porsche 924. The buyer is Matt the med student, who fell in love with the car from the first time he saw it. Matt was so enthusiastic in his adoration for the Porsche that I thought his test drive would prove fatal for both of us. Clearly, he wanted and deserved the car in a way that surpassed anything I was capable of.
Having sealed the deal for the Porsche, Susan and I spent our last day with it running around the DC area looking for a more sensible car to take its place. We went out to Bethesda and found one that we liked quite a bit, owned by a woman who had bought it new eight years ago. We were feeling very positive about it until her husband decided that he would be the one to conduct the actual negotiating and started running the show. We disliked him from the start, when he couldn't seem to stop himself from repeating insulting and stereotypical things about urban DC. Our city has its share of appalling problems, but I much prefer my funky in-city neighborhood over the hyperdeveloped and unwalkable leprosy of suburbs and strip malls. Susan and I were both getting so pissed off at the denigrating comments and the presumption that the husband was the more appropriate negotiator for his wife's car that we had to remind ourselves on the way home that we were only buying a car from them, not auditioning to be their friends.
Owning the bright red funmobile has been a three-year triumph of exuberant self-gratification over fiscal responsibility. It's the most fun car I've ever driven, but it's also a giant maintenance-cost time bomb waiting to detonate. Having quit my job and to start Oxygen Communications, I now have a new self-indulgent and financially reckless enterprise to rivet my attention, but I'll miss the car. On Sunday I made a graphite rubbing of the place where the word "Porsche" is embossed inside the car door in spacey letters. It's important to permit yourself these ridiculous little rituals when it comes to saying goodbye.
It's probably bad timing to be selling a car that pre-dates my relationship with Susan while also contemplating giving up my tiny studio apartment. Too many acts of letting go of the past can really mess with your ability to embrace the future, however rosy it may appear. But the future tends to come anyway, so I'm trusting it to take care of me.
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