This is Me Before I Come Undone

{March 24, 2010}   Packing

Packing.  I’m no good at packing.  I never have been.  I pack too much.  I forget the actual important things.  I put it off until I’m… hey, look at that… up at 2AM contemplating how I should start packing.  At some points I start to think that I’ve gotten better at it, but then I realize that no, I’ve actually just gotten so exasperated by the whole process that I now just throw stuff in there and hope for the best.  Or – better yet – why not combine the equally unpleasant tasks of packing and unpacking by just taking everything out of your last suitcase, throwing it in the washer, and then repacking it?  NOW we’re onto something.  Load two in the washer as we speak.  Although the weather might be different than the last place I was packing for.  Where *was* the last place I was packing for?  Hmm…

As I’m scanning my bedroom and realizing that I have BOTH a suitcase lying open from January’s Canadian trip AND an entirely different one from February’s Atlanta/New Orleans/Austin/Houston trip, however, it occurs to me that the impossibility of this particular packing seems particularly overwhelming because down the hall one of my best friends and roommate of almost three years is finishing packing up her life in this house.  Tomorrow, she’s getting on a plane to head to her mom’s in Florida for a few days, and then, Colombia (as in the *country*) for a year.  So many things keep flashing through my mind.  Standing on the roof of my apartment building in Atlanta talking with her on the phone for hours after we had just found each other on craigslist and decided we’d be perfect roommates.  Interviewing countless other potential roommates to fill the other two spaces in the house the first year (when we barely knew what we were doing) to the third year (where we didn’t even bother cleaning up or preparing questions for people anymore).  Showing up together at parties at the beginning where we were the new kids in town and didn’t know anyone else.  Hosting our own parties two years later once we got too lazy to leave the house to be social most of the time.  Getting pitted against each other in Jello wrestling.  Bundling up to battle freezing temperatures to watch Obama be inaugurated.  Laughing until we were crying over stupid pictures of cats when we’d both had a bad day.  Going to concerts, speakers, forums, town halls, parties, poetry slams, Pride, yoga… being the tour guide to visiting friends… being the tourists ourselves at the Cherry Blossom Festival… having “accountability cleanings” where one of us would sit in the other’s room while she cleaned to make sure she didn’t get distracted or decide to take a nap instead of cleaning… going grocery shopping together and trying to figure out what the hell was IN the fridge, and tossing it all so we could actually fit in the food we’d just bought.   Staying up way too late night after night chatting, wasting time, and watching Rachel Maddow at 9PM, 11PM, and sometimes, for good measure, 1AM.  Running into each other rushing around in the hallway at 10:30 in the morning when both of us were supposed to be at work at 9.  Being there for her when she found out her ex had been cheating on her with her best friend.  Her being there for me when my job left me crying on my desk every other day.  And yes, her being there every time I got back from New York, London, Vancouver, L.A., or wherever the hell I’d been, full of stories that she’d patiently listen to no matter how crazy I’m sure I was driving her half the time.

So tomorrow, when she’s getting on a flight to Florida, I’ll be busy getting on my own plane to Minneapolis, focused on getting where I need to go and miraculously remembering all of the things I forgot to pack.  But when I come back in a few days from my next trip across some part of some country, she’s not going to be here.  And I’m not quite sure what is going to be able to fill that space.  Soon enough there will be another roommate, but those aren’t that hard to find around here.  What is hard to find — next to impossible to find — is a best friend.  She’ll be back in a year… I know this.  But what I also know is that you can never know all of the ways in which you and circumstances are going to change in that time.  A year goes by so quickly, everyone says… but looking back on just how much has been crammed into the two and a half years we’ve lived here together, I know that it’ll also be an awful lot to miss.

Anyway, my laundry is done now.  And I should probably go put it back into one of the suitcases on my floor and print out my boarding pass.  Usually I stay up too late because I’m dreading going to work the next day.  Tonight, though, I might be up a while… because I don’t want to wake up to the time where I have to say goodbye.


et cetera