A year ago today, on Cinco de Mayo, I wrote a post about having to move. I called it Moving A Dude’s Abode and Body: A Buddhist View. In it, I reflected on stuff, attachment, cravings, and even death. You might be expecting another installment, all kinds of new pearls of wisdom after a year of THE VIRUS!, but for the life of me, I can’t think of any at the moment. So I’m going to write about the things I will miss in this place. I know the title is about the new residence, and I can hear you saying, “That’s not what was advertised in the title.” To that I’d say, “Well, that’s just like, you know, your opinion, man!” But I’ll get to that, just cool your jets, pump your brakes, and slow your roll, OK? Good.
Itachi the Cat. I’ve mentioned him before, and keep thinking the next time I’ll see him will be the last. But then I’ll swing by his place and there he is. He seems to recognize me, plays a little coy, but eventually allows a few pets and even to pick him up for a bit. Today he was a sleepy boy, and laid down on a piece of grass by the sidewalk. A couple passed, the woman saw us and went “Awww!” For some reason I explained “He’s my therapy cat,” but not out of embarrassment, because pet friends can be great stress relievers — literally. Petting an animal raises your levels of oxytocin, a feel-good chemical. As my crazy but super smart uncle used to say: “Better living through chemistry!” Anyway, there are some other neighborhood feline friends but Itachi is The Dude of cats. I’ll probably still visit him.
Nice neighbors. I’ve not made any lifelong friends out of anyone, but I’ve chatted with several enough that I will notice their absence. Who knows if they’ll observe my disappearance. There’s the young college guys, one of whom works at a bike shop who is helping me move. Another is pre-med, also very nice. The post-college young woman who is a singer for a band and tends to tend her front yard garden while wearing a biking top and sometimes bottom. (Other times she has on longer pants.) Why not? If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
There’s a well-to-do heavy woman with the yappy dog, her very thin Spanish-speaking neighbor with another yappy dog, and her medium-sized neighbor with a young barky dog — all in a row. I won’t miss the yapping and barking, but the women do add character. There are young women who are athletes at the university who saunter back and forth. The friendly male couple with a huge modern house they rent sections out of. One of the few female college students to say hello and her small, non-yappy dog. The older couple who garden; he made a snowman and a funny sign after it melted. Neighbors are like extras in the movie of your life, they add meaning but don’t have leading roles.
Campus walks. I generally take my daily walks by going over a cool bridge, through the park and into the neighborhood, but occasionally ramble the other direction. The University of Texas at Austin, although not 100% full of students (because of THE VIRUS!), has enough of them and other activity from staff and construction to make it seem like it’s not a complete ghost town. The stately buildings, including the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, the iconic Tower and stadium, Bass Concert Hall, and music school are all interesting to look at and bring back memories. Of particular interest to me as an aspiring author is the James A. Michener Center for Writers, but it’s been closed all this time.
One time my dad was visiting and we were in the Library and listening to a woman talk about being in school the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It was one of LBJ’s daughters Lucy giving a tour, which we glommed onto. I got to go up in the Tower during a short period it was open for tours with a good friend from my college. I saw the bullet holes still there from first major US school shooting ever. Once while in high school I competed in a solo competition in the music school, and have seen numerous concerts in several venues. So yeah, there’s some history there. Not being next to it means I won’t have the easy access, but I will still pass through it on bike.
Central location. This location can’t be beat since it’s so close to the Capitol, downtown, the river, and so on. Except the highway traffic and hospital helicopter rattling the windows will be happily forgotten. Except I’ll still be living near the damn highway, plus another one, a busy road, and a construction site!
Whole house to myself. I got lucky due to the aforementioned dearth of students. Having my own house to myself was not a new thing — I’ve had a string of them. But this felt like the first proper house, because it was old, in an established neighborhood, and kind of made me feel like a retired professor. It was too good to be true, though, and I didn’t have a choice; it’s time to move on.
Place has a lot to do with who we are. As I move to a new place, it turns out it’s one I’ve been twice before. First was meant to be in-between longer term places. The second time I left prematurely due to a roommate who had issues and really needed to live alone; they’re long gone. So it’s a bit of deja vu, a little homecoming, and I know the owner. My temporary roommate is a friend of friends, whom I’ve known a bit, and is a former amateur bike racer and still current bike dude. But he’s moving on soon. J.R.R. Tolkien is quoted as saying, “Not all who wander are lost.” That’s my motto, a credo, really, perhaps even a manifesto. I blame my in-town nomadic ways on my Jewish ancestry and lack of a travel budget. Plus, we can’t really safely go anywhere still becaus eof THE VIRUS!
Maybe I’ll write more about the new/old place in a future post. Unless I too find myself moving on. You see, the toilet needs flushing with a bucket sometimes. The fridge leaks on occasion. There’s water damage on the ceiling. One tub doesn’t work. But I’m currently looking for a really nice Oriental carpet. Something that will really tie the room together. I just hope it doesn’t get urinated on then a replacement stolen in a complex story involving Russians, some nihilists, an avant-garde artist, a certain dude named Jeffery Lebowski, a paraplegic guy with the same name, and a kidnapping. But that story’s already been told.
Well, we know where we're going But we don't know where we've been And we know what we're knowing But we can't say what we've seen And we're not little children And we know what we want And the future is certain Give us time to work it out Yeah -- "Road to Nowhere," Talking Heads
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