Saturday, October 5, 2013

OFF THE MARKET

Titles can be deceiving, can’t they? For those of you who check the blog from time to time, you might have glimpsed the heading and thought a miracle happened.

No, I’m still single. (Nine and a half years. It’s a streak I’d love to end.)

The title refers to my house. After three realtors and three years of putting up For Sale signs and taking them down when each listing became stale, I don’t expect to have the house on the market for the foreseeable future—five years, maybe more.

What changed? I gave up workday ferry rides and the five hours of daily commuting I endured just to collect a paycheck. With a week and a half remaining in the school year last June, I was offered a job at a new site. Get this—it’s four blocks from home.

Yes, that still makes me giggle. I smile the entire walk to work—not that I’ll add any smile lines to my face; commercial breaks last longer.

Five weeks in, all is wonderful at work. How could there be anything for my inner Eeyore to mope about? Ah, but there is. Sometimes enticing promises of immediate pleasure/relief come with lingering side effects—the apple in the garden of Eden, the one-night stand that begets an STD (or worse), the refreshing rise of Lindsay Lohan only to be followed with a decade of media burnout.

For now, I have gained free time and I have reinstated weekday workouts. I have even reduced the dark rings under my eyes. It all warrants a robust WOO HOO! But the reason I first listed the house wasn’t because of a job. At the time, I was on a writing sabbatical. The deadly quiet of my environment proved perfect for slogging through a couple of manuscripts, but my social needs went unfulfilled. As fresh-faced as I may be, I remain in a hamlet on the outskirts of a sleepy town, separated by mountains and water from the rest of civilization.

How dead are things? The big events today in town are Teatime in the Preschool, Okie Doki Karaoke and a workshop called Build a Willow Tunnel. This is why I lock my doors.

The lead story in the local weekly paper is about scaring sea gulls off the library roof. In next week’s issue, there will be a half dozen letters to the editor, passionately squawking on either side of this bird brouhaha. Shoot the birds. Feed the birds. This could be the talk of the town, stretching into November. I am not kidding.


A year ago, the town’s McDonald’s shut down. That’s no loss to me as a vegetarian, but it’s a sign of a stagnant economy and dormant social network. More telling, I drove to the single-screen cinema tonight, daring to appear solo at a movie on a Saturday night. Two months after its premiere in metropolitan areas, Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” finally arrived for a weeklong run. I was the only one to show up so they cancelled the show. Folks around here love the woods. Woody? Not so much. We’re a long way from Manhattan.

It’s not just that I am the only single gay man in these parts; I have nothing in common with the locals. I would posit that Okie Doki Karaoke drew quite a crowd.

As gleeful as I was when I accepted my new job over the phone, I felt a rush of angst the moment I hung up. Oh, god, what have I done?

For the moment, I am content. I know, however, that the same question will haunt me more menacingly in the years to come. What have I done?!

4 comments:

Rick Modien said...

RG, I have mixed feelings, then, about congratulating you about finding a job much closer to home. You had me cheering at first, and, by the end, not so much.
You know, I've said it before and I'll say it again–everything has a reason for being. And, surely, there is a reason why you got a job closer to home, which led to your decision to stay where you are. You may not know that reason for some time to come, but there is one. Nothing is an accident.
In the meantime, imagine what a treat it will be to live so close to where you work, the huge increase in the quality of your life. Gotta love that.
It's occurred to me you haven't written anything about one of the big reasons why you went down to L.A. How did trying to sell a script to studios there go? Any leads? And what about your dream to return there for good? Is that on the back burner for now?
Sorry for prying.

Rural Gay said...

It's definitely a mixed feelings situation. As long as I focus on the short-term, I'm laughing.

My trip to L.A. was absolutely wonderful--heading back this weekend for a quick visit.

As far as making connections, that is something that will take far longer than a month's stay. My family's petition to allow me to live and work in the U.S. remains unprocessed, with the estimated wait time being two more years.

I'd go in a moment's notice but, alas, there is no notice in the near future. Fingers crossed, this short commute may be shorter term than I think!

Brigid Kemmerer said...

I agree with Rick -- everything happens for a reason. They say cutting an hour off your daily commute has the same mental affect as a $40K raise. Then again, if you're lonely, what difference does the money make. Maybe your extra free time will allow you to pursue extracurricular activities? Then again, I'm a writer too, so I know it's tough to meet people when you're hunched over a laptop. It's the same reason I told my husband that no one would come to a baby shower: all my friends are on Twitter. :-P

Seriously, I'm glad you got out from under that commute. I bet the new job will lead you down paths you never expected. :-)

Rural Gay said...

Hi Brigid,
Since I cut more than two hours off my commute each way, then I should feel like I've received an $80,000 raise! Works for me. My mind is so easily deceived. I'm going to see how if they buy it at the Mercedes dealership in Vancouver.

Like you, I have established solid connections through Twitter and the blog. It's telling that I check Twitter before personal email. Living in a relatively rural area, I enjoy establishing contact with people in different parts of the world. Sometimes I even feel cosmopolitan.

What a wonderful world this is!