Travel Alone

 

This past week, I took two days off before the long Labor Day weekend, and I went to New York City.

When I tell people this, the immediate question is a variation of, “Who did you go with?” So like, “Was it you and your husband?” or “Did you go with friends?” or, my favorite, “You went by yourself?” The last one comes with an incredulous, slack-jawed expression that I would imagine one might get when they share that they decided to try hillbilly hand-fishing.

I try not to make too much of a face at this point, because I’ve gotten used to this line of questioning. My husband doesn’t like to travel. I do. So instead of sitting around moping or, worse, haranguing him into it and ultimately dealing with the adult form of ‘are we there yet?’ (‘there’ being ‘back home and not in a strange city I don’t like’), I go by myself.

Traveling alone is wonderful, and I recommend it to everyone. You don’t have to necessarily go eight hours on a tiny bus to one of the busiest metropolitan melting pots in the world, sure, but there is something to be said for the experience of self-reliance and happy spontaneity. Every second is a multiple choice question that you get to answer:

Do I want to:
A) Go to the top of the One World Trade Center Observatory and eat a grilled cheese sandwich while I listen to fifty different languages all being awestruck around me?
B) Ride the Staten Island Ferry and take a billion tourist-tastic pictures of the Statue of Liberty?
C) Sit in the park across the street from a bohemian hotel next to a sleeping puppy and read while the sun goes down over Hoboken?
D) Take my pants off and eat a burrito-sized sushi roll in bed while watching re-runs of Bob’s Burgers?

The correct answer was all the freaking above.

Ask yourself when the last time was that you let your feet take you wherever you want to go, instead of basing their path on the whims of a companion. Imagine all the stores and pockets of magic you wouldn’t have to skip because there’s no one to compromise with.

Sure, it may be a bit intimidating to be with yourself for a while in a place you potentially aren’t too familiar with, but I think it’s a challenge worth taking.

In fact, I dare you.

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30! (And microfiction!)

I’ve been doing this thing off and on that you all may have noticed if you’ve been here a while. If I’m feeling awesomely motivated, I try to set tasks at the beginning of the month that are ’30 (fill in the blank).’ This month, I’m doing these things:

  • 30 doodles on Instagram
  • 30 quirkyalone things I love on Twitter
  • and 30 pieces of microfiction here!

Let’s get started!

“Be kind to people. That’s what I’ve done for three hundred years.” Sergio stuck his hands into his jean pockets, fingering loose change.

“That’s all you’ve done with your immortality?” Charles asked as they stood on the bridge, watching the water below, and he pulled his collar around his sneer. “What a waste.”

Sergio shrugged. Fog covered the cityscape, leaving them suspended in a dream of white and gray. “It’s what I would have done with my mortal life, too. Take it or leave it.”

Maybe after a hundred more years, Charles might change tactics. He would wait and see.

 

#30Lists – Day 10: Favorite Hashtags

Once again, just a liiiiittle behind. Oh well! #10: Favorite Hashtags. This one was fun because I don’t really do a lot of trending hashtags. #‎Hippo‬ is for my little squeezie hippo Izmee I take pictures of in random places.

The last one is very special. I made that hashtag a little while back, and an old friend of mine found it *so* hilarious, she is getting it tattoo’d.

day 10

Quirkyalone: Five Acts

  1. When my sister goes away to college, I am now and again in Williamsburg with my mother. She is busy, and I walk across the street to a coffee shop. It’s small and quiet and I settle in because, like Goldilocks, I’ve found a place that’s just right. I’ve slipped soundlessly into a quiet time in my life when there is no Internet, no boys, no margin of error. I order a raspberry bar, sweet and decadent with a crumble on top. I sit and pretend – like when I go to the library where my mother works – that I am a part of this sophisticated university with a very nice book, a small treat and all the time in the world to myself.

 

  1. I board the #6 Broad Street bus on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It hums and rumbles and moves, a stormcloud that makes its way back and forth, east to west across Richmond. I sit alone, forehead pressed against the cool glass, scanning the passing faces and bodies, shops and sidewalks. It’s neither too hot or cold this afternoon, eventless, and the city is lazing about. All ages board, and all ages part. I glance up as I realize that the bus is stopping to rest at the farthest part from where I’ve started. The driver and I exchange glances, and something passes between us. For him: suspicion, confusion, a little wonder because it’s so clear I have no destination. For me: a question that keeps arising for months now, and that is what could be wrong with me.

 

  1. There’s a book at the university bookstore. It looks fun with bright colors and small annotations designed in the pages, like it’s been drawn in for me. It says, “Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics.” I read the first two pages and when I walk to the counter to buy it, I feel like I am breathing for the first time.  I am alone and not alone, grateful for this moment where I can touch that frantic, clawing creature in my chest and say, Shh. It’s all right. Now we know.

 

  1. The world welcomes me like a quiet friend. I walk miles in Washington DC, creating figure eight footprints at the zoo and only going to the parts of the Smithsonian I like. In San Diego, I spend countless minutes staring out at the Pacific Ocean, open my arms and let the smell of it love me like I love it. In New York, I let the busy energy carry me like a leaf, jump into cabs, jump out again. When I drive, I howl out the window. I stop when I need to, but mostly I soak. I bask. I speak to no one, and I open my ears to everything. There is no nest, there is no shell, not for me. I just go.

 

  1. We are learning to dance. Instead of steps, we have words, and I try not to step on his toes. I am waltzing around him to show the space that is necessary between our bodies, to explain how we can still touch without invasion. We are both beginning to understand that leading is an illusion, that each is dependent on the other for connection, cohesion. We can be graceful or have two left feet; sometimes there is no fixing, and we have to step away. But after a time, we always come back together, touch hands and one and two and one and two and –

Talking about All the Things

So, I dropped off the face of the planet. Sorry about that.

The “summer cold” was, most probably, bronchitis. I’ve been suffering with the coughing for two weeks. It’s been physically terrible for me, and it’s put me through a horrible spiral of “I should be doing things!” “I’m sick!” “…I should be doing things.” “I’m going to die.”

I’m glad you all have still gotten to read some stories. Here is a short list for you to refer back to for each of the weeks of the Write-a-thon. Some of these are not the brand new stories I was hoping for, but all things considered, I hope you enjoyed them.

Week 1: The Beginning

Week 2: The Dolphin-Girl

Week 3: The Unicorn

(the following are the bonus stories)

Week 4: The Bearded Lady

Week 5: The Painless Man

Week 6: The Dollmaker

If you’re still interested in pledging, check out my link here. The Write-a-Thon officially ends August 2.

This week, I am taking an online relationship course called QuirkyTogether101. One of the facilitators is the author Sasha Cagen, whose book “Quirkyalone” helped me through some rough patches of college. It’s pretty amazing, getting this chance to work through issues with a role model. It’s like…taking advanced kite-flying lessons from Ben Franklin. Or mixology with Charles Bukowski.

Anywho, one of the activities this week is to write a love letter to one’s self. I hate to boast, but I loved this exercise so much. It was really important for me to give myself a boost after these rough few weeks. I hope you enjoy it too, and I deeply recommend it, especially if you feel like you’ve been giving yourself as hard of a time as I have.

Thank you again for your beautiful support. Talk more soon!

My Love Letter to Me

Dear Katie,
I’m just here to say…I am totally in lesbians with you. (You’re so awesome that you’re one of the few people who get that reference.)

You’re so easy to take on dates. We went to Ikea tonight, ate $1.50 frozen yogurt and went to the bookstore. We wrote a bit and bought a magazine with Neil Gaiman’s face on the cover. If you weren’t so incredible, I’d call you really easy.

If I have to travel anywhere, you are the person I would always want with me. You have a great taste in music. You’ll sing along to the classics, the cheap top hits and you’ll get really into the good stuff. You stop at all the rest areas, and you never give anyone shit for having to go to the bathroom.

I can totally not wear anything around you, and it’s not even a big deal. The curtains are open? We dance around and let all that glory go!

You get how important nighttime emissions are. Emissions of energy, that is. We’ll burn the midnight oil until our lungs are black. We do dishes in the middle of the night, and if there’s no one to put us to bed, we’ll fall asleep to re-runs of New Girl.

There’s no bad time you can’t make fun. You hang your barefeet out the car window in the traffic. You find things to read, stuff to talk about during the two hour wait for a stupid restaurant. You pick up kids after funerals and let them be awkward around you. Fuck, you would probably smile when the sword was coming down on your neck.

You let me pick my nose when I’m around you. It’s pretty awesome that doesn’t gross you out. Actually, I don’t think anything grosses you out. Kind of weird but totally great.

Also, Crocs. We wear Crocs like no one is watching.

Katie, you are the most adventurous person I know. There’s nothing – NOTHING – you won’t try at least once if given the opportunity. You’ll always get in the water, no matter how cold it is. You’ll watch anything, hang out with anyone and there’s no “kiss and tell” with you…you kiss and scream about it!

So…seriously, will you just go to prom with me already?