Sunday, July 23, 2006

Routine Senses

The hardest part to a move -- other than the revelation that we are severely attached to useless material possessions, and tons of them -- is reestablishing a Rhythm of a Routine. For the last three weeks I've been distracted by setting up and getting settled, decorating and getting reacquainted with the area. But now, I'm feeling a little limboesqe wondering, How did I used to spend my days?

This move has been a complete uprootment from a Grand Facade and a plopping back to Home. But I haven't lived in SM as a smarter, more stable grown up. I lived here as a broke and lost kid and teen. I find myself thinking a lot, What should I do now? So much to do. Should I do this particular thing regularly . . . Establishing the new routine makes me feel a little spun. Even regarding myself in the new mirrors -- this apartment for some reason has a lot of mirrors -- makes me wonder, Have I always looked this way? How should I dress now? What exactly IS my style? It's the oddest of identity crisises. I feel so close to becoming Me. But I feel caught in the last part of the maze, like I'm only one rung away from the labyrinth's exit.

I have clawed away at facades for years. I've built up new ones, and stripped those down too. Or left partial up. It's all part of a personal evolution. And this move has been the most drastic self evaluation I've done in years. Who am I, again? I'm close to knowing, I think.

I am a girl that thrives in routine. Often I think abstractly, but a routine is my life line, the grounding, so I don't go so far out that I can't come back. The fact that no routine is set yet makes me nervous, makes me a little lost in my mind, but I'm also excited at the prospect of a clean slate. I get to schedule in things that seemed impossible to squeeze into my old schedule. Things that are an important part of who I am. Things that may seem impractical in a well-flowing and productive routine. But I'll sneak them in, set them in stone, and then no one can touch them. Not even me.

I walked to the farmer's market yesterday morning. It was a good walk, a couple miles I think. I had my canvas bag and a straw hat. I passed a ton of people because my immediate neighborhood is proudly pedestrian. I have reestablished a habit that I didn't do as much in The OC years; I smell everyone that walks by me. I breathe in the waft that remains as we pass each other and I spend the next two minutes telling myself stories on how they live, who they are. I think I remember Marigoldie listing this habit as one of the one hundred things about her too. When I smell someone and the initial impression reveals itself, I then wonder if Marigoldie would come to the same conclusions as I did about the person. I laugh sometimes, like she and I are having a conversation.

At the farmer's market, I bought vegan bread still warm from baking and lemons, tangelos, avocados, romaine & butter lettuce. I bought Japanese spinach and strawberries and black plums. I saw a homeless guy that I used to see when I was in junior high. He looked exactly the same. I think, in my mind, I had named him Jocelyn way back when because he used to hang around the Jocelyn Building. He allegedly stole this kid Carter Armstrong's backpack once too, but I found that hard to believe. You never know though. Jocelyn was wily and erratic, much more energetic than some of the other homeless people in the area. I almost went up to him to say hello, but he was involved in a conversation with someone I couldn't see; he was wagging his finger and tapping his foot to a personal rhythm. I said Hi from afar. A few months ago, I saw another homeless guy that I used to see frequently when I was a kid. We called him Bird Man because he used to ride this rusted beach cruiser with high, chopper handlebars and he would caw like a loud raven. "CAW! CAW! CAW!" Back in the day, Betsy and I would yell, "Bird Man!" And he'd say, "CAW!" When Husband and I were first driving around SM, when the call to move back was just beckoning, I saw Bird Man. I couldn't believe it. He was still riding the same bike, or one very similar. I rolled down my window and yelled, "Bird Man!" He looked around startled like maybe he hadn't been called that in years. When we were about a block away, I heard a faint, "Caw."

At the last booth of the farmer's market, I bought a bunch of white roses that had small and tightly wound buds. They were so lovely, but when the flower guy wrapped the bunch in a sheet of newspaper, the contrast of everyday and elegant set my heart soaring. There was nothing more beautiful to me than a big canvas bag of produce and newspaper-bound roses tucked under my arm. I walked home in a thousand-degree weather almost embarrassed by my giddiness that I wanted to shout, again, to you guys and maybe to a couple of the people that I smelled walking along the way. The Saturday Morning Farmer's Market Trip will certainly be the first activity that I etch in stone for my new and improved Routine.


SUEB0B said...

Say hi to my pal Martha at the Windrose Farms booth...she usually has a big floppy hat and has wild hair.

Laini Taylor said...

That description of walking to the market, seeing familiar faces from bygone years, the fresh veggies, the warm bread... it's divine. It makes me think of the things I love about Europe, and it's good to be reminded that lifestyle can be had in the US too -- and I'm so happy for you that you found your way back there! I'm sure that your new routine will fall into place, and it will fit you just right!

Marigoldie said...

You're killing me with the Bird Man and Jocelyn. The old characters are still around? That is so fabulous that I can't even stand it. This is going to be good, sooooooo good. Welcome back.

Kathleen said...

i loved reading about your walk to the farmers' market! we go every sunday to ours. we call it "the church of the sunday brunch". i noticed that you buy avocados, lemons and tangelos. we buy peaches, cantalope and tomatoes...our coasts are different with produce, but not with the experience, yes?
welcome back, girl. (you are back, yes?)

Irene said...

I can't begin to tell you how much I love this post, the reverie it triggered and the hopes I have now about my own life. I'm moving next week, in just a week, and I know I will feel exactly like you do. so thank you for showing me the way and inspiring me. going to the market to buy flowers for my new apartment is something I will definitely do too.

Michelle Fry said...

The Farmer's Market sounds amazing. I hate smelling people and often hold my breath when they walk by. I think I'm afraid of being emotionally over whelmed by their smell but I love to smell produce. I could smell the grassy scent of the butter lettuce you bought as I read about it.

Rennmaus said...

I am a friend of “Acumakiki” and read your blog from time to time.
I have only commented once, too much to do and no time… sigh! I was enjoying reading your “trip to the farmers market”. I have just been to ours: I live in Mainz/Germany and we have a beautiful farmers market every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday which is located on the forecourt of the big cathedral. Just today there was a huge crowd of American tourists who gazed at all the produce. There is even a living cock which is crowing all the time.
I have been to the US about 30 times and I love “Whole foods” and “Wild oats”. We also have health food stores here but not as big. I am glad that we get more and more organic produce here in Germany for reasonable prices.
I am not posting at blogspot, I sometimes post on Livejournal. But most of my posts are “for friends only”, so you would have to contact me to get access to it.
Best wishes from Germany to Santa Monica (Hey I have been there about 14 years ago and I loved it!).

Perhaps you would like to get a look at the following website:

Our bank (where I work) has an in-house magazine and I took part at a raffle and won a small book called “We are what we do”. Interesting nice book! There is even a website:

LeS said...

I can't begin to tell you how beautifully written this post is. It would be an excellent piece of fiction but having it be biographical makes it all the more satisfying.

Welcome home, friend.

bettyboop said...

yo cuz, sounds great! i'm thinking your "new" style should come full circle back to your old style with those bangs that i loved and some tight-ass dolphin shorts! by the way, don't forget to try skating again-you'll be amazed at the inner thigh workout! down on the bike path! oh yeah! say hi to mad dog for me....

andrea said...

sounds absolutely glorious, love. happy for you, so happy.

there's a homeless man in the area that we call two-dread man. yup, he has two long thick dreads and is constanatly talking to himself. he has been here as long as I can remember, since I moved here in '91 and I just saw him the other day. the dreads are much shorter and he's missing teeth but still around, man. something comforting about seeing him-- like we are old friends. so strange. your bird man story reminded me of this.