Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Series of Firsts

The first meal was takeout some weeks ago, sitting on the Ikea shelving unit / bench in the window, looking at the trees and the kittens frolicking in the yard, eating Asian chicken salad from Salad Creations with plasticware.

The first brewed coffee was Starbucks’ Anniversary Blend in a French press, nothing less than the finest bean on the planet brewed with the best method. I drank it black, in a mug from Starbucks Mexico City, a gift from some friends.

The first dump was over an issue of PEN America. You might not think a bowel movement is significant in a lifetime of bowel movements, but it is when it’s a step toward making your new apartment feel familiar.

This move has been a series of firsts. First items in the fridge, first nap, first guest (when a visit stops being “help me get this place clean” or “help me move some stuff” and becomes “take a load off, use my wireless, and keep me company while I get this place clean,” that’s a guest), the first tooth-brushing, first time naked, the first shower. More firsts will follow. House Warming? First party! All the boxes gone, all the pictures hung, everything clean and organized? First time I can relax! First date? I finally get to use the line, “Hey, wanna come up and watch some TV?” Then once we’re upstairs, “Oh, I forgot. I don’t have a TV.” Dim the lights, cue the funky-cheese bass guitar riff and the smoke machine and the disco ball.

When I made up the day bed (for the first time!), turned off the ceiling fan lights (the first time I did that and stayed!), and got under the covers, I realized I have never lived alone. I grew up with my parents and an older brother and sister. I even shared a room with my brother until Junior High. When I left my childhood home, it was to live off-campus with my girlfriend. Then back home for several weeks which felt like a few years, then off-campus with Andi.

Sometimes we had roommates – Marcus in Syracuse, Thor in Virginia, Kim in Miami – but mostly it was the two of us. I have never lived under a roof I haven’t shared with someone. I guess I share this one, too, if you count the dude renting the converted garage beneath me and the couple renting the main house, but behind the door carved with flowers and free-form designs, I am alone for the first time in my life.

I used a blanket I didn’t need for the comforting weight. I sent a few no-need-to-answer-text messages which were really disguised pleas for companionship, messages in a bottle. I watched Seinfeld on my portable DVD player. Exhaustion made slipping off easy.

Once I have the place just so, I’ll aslo have a dilemma. I will reward myself with Stephen King's Under the Dome over strong, black coffee. Few things are better in life than taking time to enjoy a good book, and my co-workers assure me it’s a beaut, so this is the fun part. But the work of moving will be done, a routine will be established, and it will just be me and my thoughts. I hope my work ethic will kick into high gear, and that my friends will keep me from becoming a hermit. I fear that I’ll sink back into depression. The virtue of solitude vs. the despair of loneliness.

Of course, the only way to find out is to keep moving forward.

I had another first this morning. For the first time, I thought of the Treehouse as home.


  1. Hi,
    Found your blog by random and have had a brief but enjoyable look around. Blogging can be kind of cathartic for many of us.

    Like Arnie...'Ahll be baaack!'


  2. My only experience with solitude has been in the daytime since I retired. There have been days when nothing got accomplished, leaving me depressed and feeling even less motivated. I have found that following a routine keeps me more cheerful and energetic than walking in circles wondering what I should do next.

    We would like to be guests sometimes.

  3. @Alistair: Welcome! Thanks for reading.

    @Stacy: Habit and routine make my life possible.
    Once I'm not living out of boxes, you'll be welcome to visit.

  4. When did you install the disco ball?