I’m sitting outside, the first and last night spent by my sister Andrea’s pool. We spent time in it today. The weather was great. And we drank aperol spritz’ and listened to music.
I started the day at 11 this morning and packed two and a half months’ life into some suitcase. There were things that I had to rummage through from the storage unit. Years and years ago these things were who I was. A leather motorcycle jacket custom made on a terrible trip to South America. Suits I wore as a lawyer. A pea coat my mother bought me when I was 15.
If time travel is possible, I experienced it today and the whiplash was something awful.
But I did it.
It’s my last night in Arizona. My last night hearing crickets. My last night of seeing the Big Dipper.
And tomorrow, I fly first to San Francisco and then to Newark where friends will pick me up and take me from Jersey through Manhattan and home to Brooklyn.
I don’t think anything can prepare you for going home like this. Everyone is dealing with reality in their own way. All those touchstones we had before this, before Covid, are on pause. And I don’t know when they’ll be back.
I moved to NYC for the camaraderie, the energy, the potential to perform to live audiences more than once every six months and see shows any night of the week. The availability of everything at your fingertips. The ability to walk down the street or ride the C train and see all the faces.
Now those faces wear masks. I read lips. It’s part of this sensory thing. I can’t focus on just conversation with all the other noises, so I have to be face to face with someone to grasp what they’re saying. I’m worried about that.
I’m worried about a lot. And to say that everyone is doesn’t really change anything or make my worry any less terrifying or any more universal.
Until I get there and decompress and acculturate, I might face challenges that I might not be adept enough to deal with.
I don’t care if anybody believes me, I’m autistic. On an average day, I’ve learned a hundred tricks to deal with my issues. And now all of that is thrown up in the air by some giant child unhappy with how the game of Monopoly is going.
I need touchstones. I need touch.
But I’m not alone. And my friends who’ve already been in the thick of it will be there. I haven’t had much for human company in over two months and now I don’t know what awaits me in that department.
I have hope. But how many more minutes do I sit here absorbing the desert sounds of mesquite pods randomly hitting the dirt, of crickets giving the weather report, of occasional tires on old roads. I could tell you I’ve had my fill, but how can you know when it is the last time?
My father stopped by the AirBNB today to say goodbye and pass along a mask and some gloves from my mother. I couldn’t bear to see her today. It would have broken me.
My dad, who usually keeps things lighter than a Martha Stewart pavlova, looked me dead in the eye and told me to be careful. Last year, when I left, he didn’t even say goodbye. This time when he left, he told me that it was my job to be there at his funeral. And to give him the best eulogy. It would have sounded macabre and overly dramatic if death weren’t amongst us in such a palpable way.
So how do I make it through decades of past and onto the future in the course of 12 hours?It’s just a jump to the left.