New Fiction

On the eve of my birthday I went to a local bookstore to buy myself a birthday present. I don’t think I do this every year but maybe I should, so let’s go ahead and say it’s a tradition now. I should note that this is a very good bookstore, and it clocks in at .8 miles from our apartment, so it’s the perfect get-outside-and-walk-somewhere destination. These sorts of destinations are important to have when you spend all day sitting inside working on job applications, short fiction submissions, that play I wrote this year and really like and think everyone else should really like, researching new OB/GYNs, figuring out a way to con Final Draft into letting me download the software I already own instead of making me re-buy it for the third time, and reading the state of California driver’s manual. Yes, Los Angeles is a beautiful place, and in the Nancy Meyers version of my life I’m walking the beach in dulcet tones every morning and befriending a Hollywood screenwriting legend by night, but shit man, I have things to do, so I end up working at my kitchen table until I look up and think, oh no, I haven’t gone outside today.

So I walked to the bookstore on the eve of my 28th birthday, which was strange and disorienting because the average temperature in LA last week hovered around 100 degrees, and I’m used to celebrating my birthday in the for-real fall. And I had been wearing running shorts all day and I was kind of like, I’m going to go do this fun thing for myself, it’s my birthday, I should look like a functioning adult member of society, I should change out of these running shorts because I’ve been sitting in them all day and they’re disgusting. And I just wanted to put on some jeans, because I am done with shorts, but it was so hot, and I settled on wearing a maxi skirt? Which was not better than pants, it was probably worse in fact, but that’s what I wore to buy myself a birthday present.

Once at the bookstore, it became apparent to me that everything was different and maybe I wasn’t supposed to be there and also, yes, I was sweating in a way that I’m sure looked both impressive and troubling to the staff. The space was set up for an author reading, so many of the book cases were wheeled away and hidden within other aisles. I knew what I was looking for, but the titles would be impossible to find in the new set-up. Naturally, I did not ask for assistance. Rather, I sucked in my stomach and shimmied between book cases, swiping at books with other books like they were power towel rolls on a grocery store top shelf. But this is not the story! No, reader, I have led you down a deceptive path paved with tales of my sweat (you should probably get used to that, though). The real story is that of the Whining Man.

That’s the thing about these bookstores! They have everything except the books you want!

The Whining Man wore some kind of performance fleece vest, maybe one of those Marmot numbers that keeps you both warm and cool. You know, something completely impractical for a place that literally has no weather. He was there with his wife, who was wearing some sort of corresponding outerwear, and she held their dinner leftovers in a styrofoam container. The Whining Man walked swiftly from aisle to aisle, bobbing his head, swinging his arms, at one point spinning in circles before finally declaring:

That’s the thing about these bookstores! They have everything except the books you want!  

His wife mumbled something, surely a stock response that she’s conjured after years of these kinds of outbursts. At this point, I pulled out my phone to look up a photo of the author who was doing the reading later that evening. It would have been too rich if the Whining Man was whining about his own book, but alas, it was not to be. However, I have been in that same bookstore when a different man, an author, very politely asked a store clerk why his book was not displayed on a better shelf, so it wasn’t a completely impossible scenario. The Whining Man continued whining about these kinds of bookstores, and they have all these interesting books, sure, but where are the books he wants? Where are his books! Where are the books for the whining men?

I am happy to report that the Whining Man eventually found the book he was looking for. I caught a glimpse of him with Dan Brown’s newest release, Origin, tucked smartly under his arm. The book, as it turned out, had been so sneakily hidden away on a large table plainly marked “New Fiction.”


On my birthday, Tony took me to Malibu. It was lovely. Here are some photos!

Birthday shrimp, obviously

Couples pic

You can search “surf life” on giphy to find and use this gif made by me, the author

One last story before we go. Tony and I went to a beachside bar for a happy hour drink during sunset. As you can see from the pictures above, the sunset there is gorgeous, so lots of people want to find a good viewing spot. By some miracle of birthday magic, we got a pretty prime location in the bar, and I got a big ol’ birthday whiskey. The table next us, however, was occupied by a family: father, mother, and adult daughter. I assume they were tourists. At some point in our drinks, Tony started giving me the “look behind you” eyes. So I faked a stretch, the kind you only do when you want to look at the people next to you, and that’s when I saw it: The adult daughter was taking off her clothes. From her seated position in the lounge couches, she was stripping down to her bikini. This bar is on the beach, yes, but it is certainly not a “beach bar,” i.e, it was actually a little fancy, i.e. i.e., there was certainly no indication that this was an establishment in which you would still receive service if you were shirt and shoe-less. So she took off her clothes, and her parents gave her a little clap, as they were very pleased that she was now sitting there in her bikini. Then, she stood up and strutted a circuit around the bar, full-on cat walk style, while her parents clapped more and took pictures of her. By the time she made it back to her table, a very uncomfortable-seeming hostess was waiting for her. She informed her that she was sorry, but she did have to ask her to put her clothes back on. The family was incensed! Father, mother, and adult daughter all began talking in unison, explaining to the hostess why this was just not possible.

It is so hot! What do you want her to do!

I am too hot! It is so uncomfortable in here! That’s your fault!

But my beautiful daughter! No one is complaining about this! 

The hostess said she understood, and she would work to cool down the area, but she asked her again to please put her clothes back on. The adult daughter (I repeatedly write “adult” because I estimate the woman to have been between 35 and 40) huffed and crossed her arms. She picked up a fashion scarf that she had with her and draped it around her neck.

“There,” she said. “Is that better?”


A quick blogkeeping note! First, thank you to everyone who is reading and to all the people who have offered such kind words to me about enjoying the blog. Writing makes me feel better (among other things), but having an audience is an added bonus. So THANK YOU! Second, at this point I have typed 1328 words. That is a lot of words! Which means writing blogs of this length (and of this quality, right? …right?) can take a good chunk of time. I am probably going to start writing shorter posts (if not very short posts) but posting multiple times a week. I am not going to do a social media call to those posts, though, because that will be too much, for you to see and for me to keep track. I would love it if anyone who enjoys reading can check back in at their convenience (bookmark this website!) to see if I’ve added new content. If the analytics show the views are dipping too much, then I’ll go back to reminding you. But let’s try that and see how it goes!

 

 

 

Three LA Shorts

But first, a list of words that I confuse with other words, and therefore have to think about significantly more when I try to say them aloud:

  • Polenta, the cornmeal-based Italian food; it takes every last sinew in my body to not say “placenta”
  • Aioli, the spicy mayo that comes with your fries at nicer restaurants;  always right on the razor’s edge of blurting out “areola”; this one works both ways, as the words are totally interchangeable for me, unlike “placenta” which always, always comes out first
  • Nagini, Voldemort’s snake in Harry Potter; I refer to her solely as “Kathy Najimy,” but that one is a conscious choice

And now some stories.

The Storage Unit That Was Filled with Garbage

I recently posted on Instagram about finally getting our stuff delivered from Chicago. A very exciting day, indeed! It was surreal to have lived in a new city (and apartment) for 2 1/2 weeks, packed a whole apartment and then traveled across the country the week and a half prior to that, to make for nearly a full month of not living normally. I remember packing up our Chicago apartment at the end of September and saying to books and dishes, “I probably won’t see you for awhile.” And I was right!

We reserved movers to meet us at our moving unit in Van Nuys early last Thursday morning, which was a very easy commute because no one here wakes up before like, 10. To give a small amount of context to anyone who hasn’t used a moving-unit service (still calling it a “moving-unit” as not to out a particular moving company, but maybe I will start a PODcast and out them there), it works like this: You rent what is essentially a storage unit from a participating company of your choice. The difference is that the storage unit is not a part of a building; rather, it’s just a big metal box that is moved around a warehouse with a forklift. (Very cool to witness and even cooler to think about how satisfying it must be to stack and unstack things all day; thought briefly about quitting writing and going into demolitions full-time.) Your big metal box gets loaded on a tractor trailer and is driven to where you need it to go, e.g., the City of Angels. Most cities allow you to place your metal box on the street, and you can unload directly from there into your new home. As luck would have it, we moved from one big city to another, so street zoning laws prohibited us from leaving it on either our new or old streets. Therefore, we had to hire movers to move all our stuff into their moving truck, and then load it into the moving unit, vice versa of course for the California part of the task. That is why we had to meet our movers at the loading dock last Thursday morning. You can also avoid all of this by driving your stuff across the country in your own rented moving truck but, as I cannot think of a lower depth of despair, we opted not to do that because I didn’t want to hate myself. I remain steadfast in saying I have no regrets.

Our movers were three lovely Russian gentlemen (though two were quick to clarify that they were Latvian and Bulgarian respectively) and upon hearing we are writers, they began to pitch stories, I assume with an aim to get a story credit on our pilot, “Movers.” One of them asked if we are the next Dan Brown. I said, “I hope so.” The leader of the moving team then told us a story about moving a hoarder out of her home and discovering a mummified parrot between the cushions of her couch. I had many follow-up questions about this claim, chief among them a question of the parrot’s age in relation to the hoarder’s age. Parrots live forever, everybody knows that!

A woman in a BMW pulled into the loading zone. She was very put together: high heels, expensive bag, hair up in a sleek bun. From around the corner, three day laborers entered on foot, one of whom holding a gigantic pair of bolt cutters. The forklift was moving again, readying 3 storage units for her. We watched her deliver some instructions to the day laborers then disappear, presumably into the main office or some kind of Fancy Lady Lounge. I decided to watch them unload her units, since watching my own things get loaded made me too nervous, and Tony was already low-key Dad-style checking in with our movers after every box. I was also curious to know what such a fancy lady could have in storage. Jewels: Box 1/7 I chuckled to myself. The day laborers cut the Master Lock with their giant cutters, and that’s when I saw it: an avalanche of trash cascade out and onto the asphalt. It was too good to be true! You know, you dream about seeing so many trash bags fall out of a storage receptacle, especially one owned and operated by a rich person, but you never think the stars will align in such a way that is actually happens to you. And then the second moving unit was opened: More trash! Trash bag upon trash bag, gathering in a great mountainous heap. The day laborers shrugged at each other like, Boy, this lady has a lot of trash! then proceeded to toss it about before eventually digging out a gigantic antique dinette set from circa the “Backstreet’s Back” music video. I guess it just goes to show that sometimes you have to dig through a lot of trash before you can….eat? (That one didn’t work so well, I’ll keep trying to break it.)

I of course want to note that I recognize the relative disparity in a fancy lady just passing off her mess onto someone else, in this case, workers she can probably exploit if she wanted to because that’s how power and privilege works in this country. I also recognize that she is likely a person who is used to things getting done for her while she gets to wait inside in the air conditioning, and that sucks. But for now, reader, take solace in the fact that once the storage units were open it was revealed what had been inside her all along: it was trash. (Theeeeere it is.)

The First Time I Bonded with Other Angelinos 

Perhaps I have expressed this before, but one of my primary concerns in moving to LA has been finding people that are like-minded. There are plenty of nice people, plenty of funny people, plenty of amazing friends-of-friends, but I’d be lying if I said I was totally sure I could hang with Angelinos. Over the past several weeks, I have become very aware of how Midwestern I am, and I began to ask myself, “Then what, exactly, is universal?”

I got my answer at the West Hollywood Target.

Tony and I had spent most of Sunday shopping at Target, because that’s what you do when you move. (It’s also what you do not when you move, when you just feel like “going out and doing something!”, when you just want to feel something.) This was to be our last “big” move-in Target trip; purchases included things like a vacuum, an ironing board, tiny fake pumpkins that were noted on my shopping list as “fall color.” It was a relief to be done with this, because it meant we could start living our lives with all the same trappings that we had in Chicago, with most of the same stuff, with all the comforts of home that go into making a home. Of course, when we actually got home, we realized we had left Target without an entire bag of stuff.

I was very angry.

Angry because it meant the move was still not over, angry because driving all the way back to West Hollywood would not be a breezy errand, angry because I never forget anything but when I do I really beat myself up over it. Luckily, we were attending a Halloween story telling event in West Hollywood later that evening so we decided to leave a whole half hour early and go back to the Target.

We got our stuff back, it was all good, plenty of time to spare. But in the middle of our exchange, while we were waiting to see if they could track down our bag, I noticed two security guards bolt out the front door, presumably to chase someone down. Tony leaned over and said, in total sincerity, “Do you think there was an issue with our receipt?” Eventually our transaction was complete and we got into the next down elevator to go back to the parking garage. We stepped into the elevator where two Kendall Jenner-clones already were: Shiny high ponytails, high-waisted jeans, crop tops, dramatic brows. One was on her phone, with her agent, I thought. Then, Target security personnel appeared at either elevator door, so suddenly that my first instinct was to be anxious of them. Other people loaded onto the elevator, but I realized we weren’t going anywhere. That’s when I realized security was there to apprehend the two ponytails.

“Mommy, I have to go,” said the taller ponytail into her phone before hanging up and cooly going with the security guards. The smaller ponytail toady followed suit, pushing their over-stuffed cart back into the bowels of Target Jail.

“Oooh, mommy’s not gonna be happy with her,” a fellow elevator rider said the second the elevator door was closed.

Without hesitation, the other people on the elevator started adding onto this bit, calling out their total lack of denial and laughing at their acceptance at getting caught. We all sort of reveled in our collective pettiness and wore it like a party tank, while ultimately knowing, Hey, I’m not the one shoplifting at Target! And that’s when I realized: it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you are there for witnessing the comeuppance of some white girls at the Target.

The Woman in the Gold Dress

I was sitting at a Halloween story telling event a few nights ago, when I noticed a woman slink in. It was nearing the end of intermission, and people were heading back to their seats, fresh drinks in hand. This woman, however, had not been there for the first half. In fact, I wasn’t entirely convinced she knew what she had wandered into, as this event was taking place at a bar and anyone could wander into this back room if they wanted to. The woman wore a floor-length gold sequin dress and she jangled the ice of her cocktails in a glass. She was smiling not only with her mouth but with her eyes and her whole body. She was very drunk. The lights changed and the MC of the event approached his microphone, signaling to us that it’s time to be quiet and behave. The woman in the gold dress had different ideas, though. Instead of finding a seat or heading back to the bar, she opted to sit on a chair that was part of the set. She wrapped herself in a sarcophagus of fake cobwebs and then sat down in the space where performers might perform. So picture it: the MC, in full vampire regalia and makeup, is addressing a room full of people while a woman in a gold dress sits exactly parallel to him. It looked like this:

Artist’s rendering

She stayed for more stories than I expected, laughing along at all the right times, listening intently, never taking her eyes off the performers. It seemed that the woman in the gold dress might be an honest-to-god fan of live entertainment. And when she decided to go, at some point in the middle of a story, she quietly stood up and left, dragging all the fake cobwebs with her, the very same cobwebs that were wrapped around mic and music stands. At first there was an attempt by some audience members to assist her, but they soon realized it was not a fruitful undertaking. They just kind of let it happen. She slinked back out into the bar, ice cubes clinking, sequins and cobwebs disappearing through a curtain. The moral of this story is: When you’re a woman in a gold dress, you get to do whatever the fuck you want, I think.

Book Club Questions

  1. What do the female protagonists have in common in all three stories? How are they different?
  2. How does privilege (theirs and your own) affect the lens through which you read these characters and their actions?
  3. Is it possible that the woman in the gold dress was a ghost?

 

All the Weird Things

I present to you my up-to-the-minute list of all the weird things about Los Angeles.

  1. The never-changing weather, the constant sun, the vivid colors found in the flora of the trees, the nice-smelling air, the dependable light breeze at sunset, zero humidity. I depend on bad weather to stay inside and read and write all day. I need it for my art, man. How will I find the time or the strength to burrow under a mountain of blankets and read if the weather does not necessitate (and enable) my staying inside? Do I read outside now? Has one ever read outside? Will it hurt my eyes? What about zoning out on my phone and watching hours of unwrapping videos on YouTube? Are these unwrapping videos real or are they fake? Do these gift unwrapping families get sponsored by the toy companies before wrapping these gifts, so that when their sweet British children declare, “Oy! Happy Christmas, mum!” they are actually reacting to goods that were provided by Big Toy, Mum and Da laughing all the way to the bank? Can I watch these videos on my phone outside, too? Please advise on what “going outside” is like.
  2. How nice everyone is to you all the time, presumably because they think you might be famous or important. One can’t possibly have every actor/writer/director/producer/blogger/lifestyle expert/celebrity gossip columnist/Olsen sister/health guru/morning show host committed to memory, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. If I walk down the street with my sunglasses on, I can see people look up like, Are you somebody? And they don’t do it because I exude a particularly strong sense of célébrité, they do it because they’re just playing the odds and it’s more likely than not that the average person in public is actually a famous person. I guess it doesn’t help that I’ve taken to publicly shouting, “My uncle, Francis Ford Coppola, won’t be happy about this!” into my phone.
  3. Anyone who orders anything at a counter takes 7-12 minutes to place said order. Sandwiches, coffee, drinks, you name it: People here have nothing but time to ask questions about their purchase. I went to my local grocery store last week (like the Dude, my Ralphs card is also my only form of identification) and there were two young women in front of me at the deli. Their shopping cart was filled to the brim with items you only buy if you just moved, e.g., condiments, cleaning supplies, toiletries. All the stuff you throw away at your last place and just re-buy at the new one. Having just moved myself, I felt sympathy for them, knowing that moving can be tough and having to re-buy all the stuff you had just a few days ago can be annoying. I even went so far as to think, “Yeah, I bet we have a lot in common. Solidarity!” And then it took them literally 15 minutes to purchase a pound and a half of cold cuts and that’s when they became my sworn enemies. They began by asking the deli worker how much meat they would need to make four sandwiches. The deli worker gave a response. The women hummed and hawed over this response, then switched the question up to how much meat is needed for a week’s worth of sandwiches. They deliberated again over the expert recommendation that came from the deli worker. Questions of this nature went on for some time. IF turkey BUT ham THEN what? Then what??? And how! Why ham! Why turkey! They eventually decided that they wanted 24 slices of turkey, 12 slices in one bag and 12 slices in another. They then asked for a sample of every cheese–“just a little slice, to try!” How are you about to buy a cart’s worth of condiments but not know how sandwiches are made? At some point during the cheese tasting, the deli worker turned to me and asked what I wanted and then said, “Do you want to pick that up later? I’m helping them right now.” I begrudgingly agreed and turned in a huff, whispering to no one that Uncle Francis is going to hear about this.

But I suppose the truly weirdest thing about moving here–or moving anywhere, really–is the element of starting over on things that I just didn’t have to worry about for a long time. This is not a phenomenon unique to me; all people hate updating resumés. This stage of rebooting, however, is the first time I’ve had to do it since graduating college and solidifying my life in Chicago. This is a return to finding doctors, a place to get my hair cut, the safest route from point A to point B. To doubting my ability to make adult decisions, even though I’ve done a perfectly fine job of it for years, even though I have a partner who supports without ever condescending. I can say with confidence that this is an issue of confidence. I need more of it. I’ve spent so many years pretending I know what I’m doing, I’m afraid the ruse will catch up with me. Here’s hoping that I can outsmart LA in the same way I outsmarted Chicago, college before that, and basically any other situation in my life in which I had to pretend I knew what I was doing.

I just told you I’m happiest when I’m inside under blankets; surely you can glean that I am a huge comfort creature. I was hygge before hygge was a thing, baby. And though I talk (and, I think, walk) a big game of making emotional, intellectual, professional, creative changes, I really hate physical changes. Like, the actually having to get up and and do stuff element of changes. Yes, I moved across the country, but that’s different! That’s big. That is macro. I am talking micro. Walk two blocks to try a new restaurant? Too much effort!  Want to check out the public library in our new neighborhood? No, absolutely not now, even though we have nothing else to do! Leave this shitty bar and walk over to that awesome bar? No way, we’re already here! It’s hard to pinpoint the exact issue, though “comfortable footwear” is a leading theory. It’s also fair to assume that I’m afraid of finding out my routines aren’t actually all that great, that I’ve been wasting time and money on things that are beneath me, that I didn’t do it right the first time.

So here’s to getting my library card, to getting my bangs cut, to walking south when I always go east. To celebrating the three writing submission and application deadlines I just hit, because we should celebrate what we write even though rejection is possible, the bright side always being that at least my mom will read my plays and stories. To all the weird things.

 

On an unrelated but sad note, I want to mention the passing of our sweet buddy, Chester. My brother and I were told for years and years that we were absolutely not allowed to ever have pets, and then my mom met Chester and he stole her heart. Chester was temperamental and hilarious, kind and unabashedly nosy. A true cat. I leave you with one of my favorite short stories by Lorrie Moore, If Only Bert Were Here. It’s about the death of a cat, and it’s so funny and touching. Just want to reiterate, this story is about the death of a beloved cat, so don’t be like, Hey, that story was sad, Katie! What gives! I am telling you now, so read it when you’re ready. But read it! It’s great. Death can be multi-faceted like that sometimes.

My last visit with the little prince

 

Stop Gap Living

Well. Here we are.

The adventure across [most of] the United States was a great one. We traveled Chicago to Omaha to Denver to Santa Fe to the Grand Canyon and finally, to our new apartment in Los Angeles. I wish there were more exciting stories from the road, but the truth of the matter is that the drive was completely without incident, each stop more lovely than the last (and they were all lovely), and we gawked in awe at parts of the country that neither of us had seen before. This is as good a time as any to mention that we were in the Grand Canyon for two days, and in those two days, the horrific shooting in Las Vegas happened as well as the death of Tom Petty. To be clear, these are two very different events, carrying two very different weights, things that I don’t intend to equate, but they were nonetheless being talked about on the trails by domestic and international tourists alike. I am saddened by both of them. Being at and looking upon the Grand Canyon is a surreal enough experience in the first place, but to look across the canyon (the great wide open, as it were) towards Las Vegas was both isolating and devastating. Big canyon, little me. And I was struck again with the now commonplace question of “Where were you when?” and it was hard not to feel shame and sadness over all the tragedies I can’t separate from the others, because there have just been so many. I was enjoying myself at the Grand Canyon when the Las Vegas massacre happened. We were awake and watching the live coverage because we were just next door, or so it seemed. Gun control now. Action now. Do something now. Throw your prayers into the canyon like I did and then get to work because there is a lot to be done. I am not going to apologize for the weird tonal transition that is about to happen.

Sunset at the Grand Canyon

The trip was most notably marked by all the warm welcomes we received from friends old and new. They showed us their cities and sent us off with full bellies and hearts alike. If you ever make a large-scale life change, one that involves moving away from all the things you ever found familiar, I highly recommend seeing as many people that love you along the way as possible. We felt loved! We felt refreshed! We almost decided to just live in Santa Fe and not go any farther! But farther we went and now we are here in our completely empty apartment because the delivery of all our belongings has been delayed for an unknown amount time.

I guess that detail qualifies as an “incident,” now that I really think about it.

In short, there was a clerical error, and our stuff just never left Chicago. Just didn’t leave. Was supposed to leave! Didn’t leave. So for the 6 days we were driving across the country, and making jokes like, “There’s our stuff!” every time we saw a train or tractor trailer pulling freight, we were WRONG because our stuff was not loaded onto any mode of transportation, it was just hanging out in the warehouse where we left it nearly 2 weeks ago. Upon hearing this news, Tony and I both laughed ourselves hoarse because what the fuck else can you do but put on the same clothes you’ve been wearing for days and keep moving forward. I’m not here to drag a company on the internet, especially as their HQ was hit in Hurricane Irma and we feel they likely had other priorities to tend to, so please, do not inquire. In fact, everything was really great until there was literally a mere paperwork error and they didn’t know our stuff was ready to go so they didn’t send it. (Rest assured that I will whisper the name of this company to you after I’ve had 3 sips of wine.) I should also add that the gas company can’t send anyone out to turn on our gas until the 10th, so when all is said and done, we will be sans stove for a week. We are basically squatting in our home. I eat cereal while sitting on a yoga mat (the most use it’s gotten in months, by the way) and I sigh deeply and say yes, yes, this is the LA dream I was promised.

Since arriving only days ago, we have developed an intricate system of stop gaps on which we solely survive. The yoga mat, for example, was the only place we could sit aside from kitchen counters and un-yoga matted floors. Then we treated ourselves and bought lawn chairs, a true game changer. We have no way of cooking, but when the gas gets turned on, our kitchenware will still be in transit. What does one buy to account for only a few days of meals? And beyond that, what if our stuff takes weeks to get here? Do I prepare now for the possibility of needing multiple weeks worth of items? Do I never cook again? This basic cycle of questions applies to all aspects of my life now, whether it’s carefully selecting clothes to wear or applying for health insurance. What do I need right now while keeping in mind that this need might very quickly change? What if nothing ever changes and this is our life now? We remedied most of these existential quandaries by going to IKEA.

I would like to begin by saying I had never been to an IKEA. I experienced all five stages of grief during my time at the Burbank IKEA. I denied that a place like this could or should even exist. I was angry that the flurbs and blurghs were all so boring-looking, yet so clean and geometric and undeniably mod. I bargained with a higher power, dedicating my life to better furniture-buying research if I only made it out of there unscathed. I was depressed at the prospect of falling prey to its powers. I accepted that I am basic.

“More jorgenflürbs!” I exclaimed, riding the cart like a Razor scooter down aisle 13 toward bin 20. “More flürbenjorgs for all!”

We selected some sensible items (and of course some not-so-sensible items) in an attempt to bring a kind of normalcy and familiarity back into our lives. I guess that’s why we bought so many pillows. I can’t claim that I fully “get” the appeal of IKEA, though I certainly get it for now. “For now” is the name of the game, but only for now. I feel just prepared enough, which is more than you can hope for sometimes. Putting together a kitchen table and chairs also gave us something to do and something to sit on.

In my last post I said “I don’t believe in luck, I only believe in myself.” I still mostly maintain that motto, though I do want to note that I acknowledge how privilege factors into my life and it’s easy for me to just, like, blindly believe in myself. I believe in myself and I also believe in my ability to be flexible. I believe in making sandwiches because you don’t need a stove to cook those. I believe in action and changing all that has become normalized “for now.”I believe in flurgenglürgs. I believe that every last one of our belongings will make it to Los Angeles and that moving will be complete and living here can really begin.