Sunday, April 05, 2009

I'm in Atlanta visiting my sister. I do this fairly often. Annually, if not biannually, and it feels like a home of sorts. Not really my home, not really. A home though. They live all mushed together, sharing a car (singular), and money, and lives. It stresses me out a little bit more than I would like to admit to think of living thus. The year I spent in Chicago was dreadfully hard and exhausting and lot of aspects of this life here remind me of that life there. Public transportation, and dependence on it, makes my chest tight and this odd feeling of panic well up. Also, for some reason it makes me think about how I haven't made any significant choices lately, that I am coasting, that I haven't decided to be anything yet or do anything major. This pushes me into the beginnings of panic as well. I am beginning to think that you are settled simply when you decide you are. Maybe that sounds obvious. I think that maybe being "settled" has nothing to do with education, marital status, or financial stability. Perhaps it is simply committing to things regardless of time or time limits. When you go to your job, and pay your rent, and befriend your friends simply because they are there, with no thought to what you will do next, then settlement happens.
I am never very sure that I want settlement to happen. I am never very sure where this pressure to decide, to do, to choose comes from. I don't enjoy being coerced into feeling guilty because I am not settled. The word "settled" is starting to lose meaning since I've used it so much already. It is starting to require quotation marks. I wasn't to clear about what I meant to begin with. This isn't a new confusion. I haven't learned anything new about it.

Anyway, Atlanta is a visiting home for me. I love my sister and I like her roommates and I am starting to get over some of my old aversions to this crazy, overcrowded, ramshackle city. Over the last couple of years I have discovered that my aversion is to cities in general, not Atlanta in particular. Therefore I am not as disappointed when I come here. I expect this level of discomfort. I walked the length of the Atlanta airport instead of taking the train. This is the second time I have done this. I'm not sure why it took me two times to understand what was going on there. You can walk the length of the Atlanta airport because the terminals come one after another, E to D to C to B to A to something called T to the baggage claim, but when you do this you are walking a sold mile and a half. I think in the past I have flown on airlines that arrive at B or A terminals, and the walk to the baggage claim is brief and unremarkable. However, when you fly into E or D, as I did this time, the walk is something of an experience. There is a train that runs, but the train is very crowded and the airport was stifling and hot and I felt like walking made more sense. It took me much longer than is reasonable. Anyway, I walked and my sister waited. Which I appreciated.

I am reading Kite Runner, looking forward to two days of rain and a solid freeze, and enjoying a week of no responsibility at all.

Kudzu is oppressive. Even when it is dead.


Kevin said...

"When you go to your job, and pay your rent, and befriend your friends simply because they are there, with no thought to what you will do next, then settlement happens." I like this.

tygrr said...

I think that "pressure" you refer to is more of a drive and ambition to move forward and progress as a person. From your description, settling sounds terrifying. Although I can appreciate and would love to learn to settle in the small, micro, everyday things while still having grand visions and drives for myself as a whole. What was the question again?