settle down, young lady

it was the little things about stability that i missed. i had a small pile of stuff that i carried around in my backpack just in case some semi-permanence snuck up on me. there was a poster of my favorite defunct dyke-rock quartet & a picture that rebecca took of a barn amidst north dakota grasslands. i loved that photograph-it was like the ones that i tore from yard sale ten cent national geographics, only better. red barn, green grass, blue sky streaked with white. everything was so vivid that it looked like a still from a color-safe bleach television commercial. sometimes i would think about living in north dakota and taking art classes at dickinson college. it seemed like a pretty idyllic life, but i knew it was probably best left as a fantasy, a daydream for bored picnic lunches in late september. i always wanted to be prepared for any circumstance that may arrive. i carried passport photos and a world atlas around in case i ever managed to scrounge up a few hundred bucks to leave north america with. i always travelled with a gauze hippie skirt in case i needed a break from pants, but i never wore it because people tried to buy drugs from me every time i did. i had a can opener with me even though i never ate out of cans, and condoms even though i'd never had intercourse. i'd had to keep the sum total of my earthly belongings under 60 pounds for so long that i was intimidated by the idea of large, empty spaces to fill. still, every once in awhile i'd think about buying a huge old house with ten friends. cheap, and in a rural setting. we could always go there when we didn't have anyplace better to be. retreat. doug asked me why i'd returned to chicago, and i admitted that it was because i didn't have anything better to do. "when is this gonna stop?" he asked, smirking. i knew it wasn't meant to be harsh, but i took it pretty hard. i felt guilty for being a traveller, guilty for having no reason to be anywhere in particular. everyone else i knew had it easy. they simply fell in love and followed their heart. i kept hoping that would happen to me. i tried especially hard to develop crushes in towns i especially liked. never-visited cities were especially vulnerable: duluth, ottawa, nashua. it didn't have to be a particularly habitable place-in fact, it was better if it wasn't. that way, i could get the person to run away with me. two restless souls instead of one.