“I know we’re home now,” Alan said. “I heard semiautomatic weapons fire last night.”
I can’t say my realization was quite that dramatic. But it was similar. Fireworks. Anyone who lives around here knows exactly what I’m talking about, why I’m still awake at 12:20 a.m., among my still-cardboard-box-strewn house, typing listlessly, avoiding bed.
The move went about as expected, which is to say, it sucked. Once again, I marveled at how many Fellows were able to make it in Ann Arbor for eight whole months on things they could carry in one car. The overseas Fellows brought two suitcases! We loaded a 15-foot rent-a-truck, and filled it full of crap. Well, we paid for it. At least the move to Ann Arbor was out of our house, into a nice flat ranch house with a driveway that allowed us to extend the ramp almost to the front door. Going back? Eleven steps up from the street to the front porch, crossing the yard, and then half the crap had to be hauled to the second floor. In about 80 percent humidity. Oh, kill me now.
Now we’re back in the house, fighting the old battles. Fireworks. Semiautomatic weapons fire. The cable guys, who came, stayed more than an hour and managed to install broadband cable that still doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. One of them was a veteran letter-to-the-editor writer — I thought he looked familiar, although I met him only once, in a Best Buy, where he recognized me when we were both looking at camcorders.
“You know anything about these?” he said.
“A little,” I replied. “What are you looking for?”
“I need a model with night vision.”
He said today he no longer writes letters to the editor, but he doesn’t seem to have changed much. “If you really want to know what’s going on in this country,” he said, “you need to buy a short-wave radio.”
Back home agaaaaain, in Indiaaaana…
The house is slowly returning to normal, the pile of collapsed boxes growing on the back porch, art back on the walls, clothes finding their way out of suitcases and into drawers. It’s starting to look the way it did before we packed it up last summer, with some differences — there’s the kilim pillow Yavuz and Nursen gave us as a hostess gift last New Year’s, here’s the glass dish we bought in Argentina, little reminders of the year. There’s a Shaman Drum bag, here’s a bunch of hangers with MICHIGAN CLEANERS on the paper wrappers. I looked up the definition of “fugue state” on the internet:
…a type of dissociative disorder in which the individual may “flee” from his or her usual life circumstances, take on a new identity and have no recollection of his or her previous life.
Yeah, it’s like that.