It’s A Weird, Weird, Weird, Weird World: October 11, 2004

In which I am unsettled.


The past month and a half has been utterly weird, for several different reasons.

First, there’s the whole “new apartment, new neighborhood” thing. You have to understand, I’ve only moved twice in my life—once when I was four (from Florida to Minnesota, and yes, that was as hellish as it sounds) and again at age 18, when I married Tony (across the parking lot, and with the luxury of time and plenty of helping hands). This move, on the other hand, took me all the way across town into an entirely new neighborhood, a place where there are trees instead of factories and fat squirrels instead of stray cats, a place where the “Bush/Cheney”(1a) signs are outnumbered ten to one by the “Kerry/Edwards”(1b) and “PEACE” signs. The apartment is beautiful, the neighbors are pleasant, there are deer and bunnies a-plenty in the lush autumnal forests. Everything a person could ever need is within walking distance—schools, stores, a library, even a gorgeous park with the Mississippi River running right through it. And the diversity! There are actual punks around here, not the dismal black-clad wanna-bes of my old neighborhood; these punks are punky, with three-foot green mohawks and piercings and skateboards. There are even Jews here—I saw three of them the other day crossing the street, two of them wearing skullcaps and the third in full black Orthodox garb, beard and all, and I got so excited I bounced up and down in my seat in the car and squealed, “Look, Tony! Jews! Real, live Jews!” For some reason, this did not seem to impress my friends and family as much as it impressed me. But my god, people, they were Jews. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve seen one?(2)

Everything’s so perfect here that it’s making me paranoid. The longer life goes on without a hitch, the more I’m convinced that I’ve stepped into an episode of The Twilight Zone. I wake up in the night shivering with cold sweat, listening to the silence outside and wondering where the drunks and motorcycles are. I prowl the apartment, poking, peering, examining—surely the ceiling leaks, or the floor is weak, or there’s a dismembered body stuffed down the drain? I eye the food from the local market with caution, certain that it’s poisoned in some way. But no—everything’s coming up roses, and it looks like it’s going to be that way for awhile. What did I do to deserve such bliss? Did I win some kind of karmic lottery? Surely I’m going to wake up one morning and find myself in a padded cell, tied to the bed and overmedicated. It’s finally happened, Romy—you’ve gone insane!(3)

The second weird thing would be turning twenty-one. (I know I’ve already talked about this, but the novelty hasn’t worn off yet, so I’m going to talk about it some more.) Being twenty-one is definitely weird, even weirder than being eighteen. I feel… old. I feel like I’ve kissed my youth goodbye. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; youth isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and I’ve always looked forward to middle age. But, good or bad, it’s a change, and I think I may have had just a little too much change in the past few weeks.

Third on the weird list would be getting a poem published in an e-zine. Hang on, I don’t think you heard me: I said GETTING A POEM PUBLISHED IN AN E-ZINE. That’s right—I submitted a poem to Literary Vision, and they accepted it for their November issue!(4) My first submission to a real live e-zine, and it gets accepted right off the bat! I wasn’t even expecting an acceptance; I submitted it because I’d heard that the editors read each piece and sent good feedback, even for the works they didn’t accept. So here I was expecting nothing but a verbal bitch-slap, and I ended up with a bitch-slap plus a pat on the head! And—crowning glory—they actually pay you. It’s a teeny amount, but it’s the thought that counts. Now I can go wave that check in the faces of all those people who told me writers never get paid for their work, and I can go, “Ha ha ha, they paid me! For a poem! A poem I wrote! And you said poetry never sells! HA!” And then I can go buy myself a cup of coffee and splash it in their laps with glee. HA!

(1a) – Oh, stop it.
(1b) – Seriously, STOP IT. What are you, twelve?
(2) – Before you send the nasty e-mails, let me remind you that a) I am myself half-Jewish, and b) I am never to be taken seriously. Ever. (But not because I’m half-Jewish. It’s the half-Irish part that you shouldn’t trust.) I’m just happy to be living in an area with synagogues as well as churches. Hell, I might even join one!
(3)Hava nagila, hava nagila, hava nagila… [/pointless Simpsons reference]
(4) – Actually, I submitted two poems, and they took just one. But hey, I’m not half as bad as I thought, right? Right??

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