As in, four months ago. At the tender age of 36.
Back in August, when I was mainlining xanax to get through the immense stress I was going through trying to get the fuck out of Louisiana, one of my buddies from work came to chill in my office for a while. I’ll call him “Habanero,” since he’s the biggest RHCP fan I know (besides LE MOI. DUH.).
So we’re listening to the chili peppers and chatting about random shit, and finally we get into Oregon and Portland. Finally landing somewhere around this paraphrased bit…
Habanero: Dude, so I heard you don’t know anyone up there. I laughed when P. Whipped told me that.
Me: arches an eyebrow
Habs: No fucking way. Friends? Family?
Me: Nah. I don’t have anyone up there. I don’t know why everyone is making such a big deal out of it. shrugs
Habs: laughs and leans back. The whole Pacific Northwest? You know…nada? Maaaaan, P. Whipped thinks you’re nuts. Hell, everyone does. But me? I envy you. You got some serious balls. What’s your plan?
I give him the gist of what I intended – which was to spend a week in an extended stay, during which time I’d find a place to rent and take whatever job I could find.
Habs: Listen, I know a guy.
Me: If this is gonna end with me dead in the desert or in a Mexican prison, I’m not interested.
Habs: Dude, I think I saw that one! ANYWAY. I know a guy: Jalapeño. Jalapeño and I grew up together, and he has family in Oregon. I’m gonna hit ’em up. They’ll let you crash for a couple weeks, while you get settled. I’m tellin’ you. They will.
Me: My eyes must have been big as saucers. This is something I normally would have put the kibosh on I-FUCKING-MMEDIATELY. Really, Habs? You think so?
Habs: I fucking know it. I’ll talk to Jala. We’ll sort it out; you’ll see.
Me: Dude, even if this doesn’t work out – you’re fucking awesome for even suggesting it. For thinking of me. Thank you.
Habs: Nah, you my homegirl. I can’t stand the idea of you going up there like that, with nobody at all. These people are cool. I mean, nice. Like. Nice as fuck. You’ll see.
Habanero didn’t contact them until around the last week of August…as in right at the last minute. But he wasn’t kidding. They took me in, showed me around, and now I’m renting a room from them.
It’s weird. And uncomfortable. Awkward as fuck.
And I’m tellin’ you, these people straight up act like they’re my folks. They’ve even introduced me that way once or twice, “This is Stephanie, the daughter we just met in September.”
They text me when they think I’m out too late.
They text me when they think I’ve been gone longer than whatever errand I’m on should require.
I do their laundry for them (sometimes).
I dogsit for them (often).
They drag me to family functions (after promising my presence and tricking me into going by telling me we’re doing SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY THEN WE SHOW UP TO A FUNCTION WITH SEVENTY PEOPLE).
They’re nice. And what I’m paying them in rent has enabled me to drag out the little bit I got back from the sale of the house…so that I can look for a job I actually want to pursue instead of settling for the first thing some agency could dig up for me. I had only been here a week when they approached me and asked me to stay. “The angels sent you to us. It was meant to be. We talked to our medium about you. She thinks you ARE an angel. Will you meet her with us?”
It’s interesting, alright.
And it’s a strange feeling. Being parented. At 36. After a lifetime of little to none of that.
They’ve taken me to the beach. They’ve taken me to restaurants my budget would definitely not allow. They gave me gifts at Christmas and cry and tell me they love me.
So I have to deal with some overbearing shit. So I have to deal with someone who may be at the beginning stages of dementia. So I have to deal with hugs and hovering and manipulation to spend time with them. So I have to listen to them repeat the same life stories over and over and over again for hours on end. So I have to deal with parents. Family.
I’ve also been given this two-fold gift of being able to take my time and pursue something better than “just a job.” And…as strange and uncomfortable as it is…it feels good, sometimes. To be depended on. To be…loved.
As grateful as I am, you’ll most assuredly get plenty of rants about how manipulative they can be. And how downright fucking mean-as-a-snake the man can be. But when I’m being fair, those times are few compared to how fortunate I’ve been and am right now. This is temporary – they both know that, though they’ve both also said they want me to stay for good. (Yeah, I’m serious. There’s obviously more I haven’t told in this little post: like how I think my very presence has acted as a balm for them and their loneliness, health problems they’re both dealing with, etc.) But I agreed to their rent proposition “for up to a year.” I’m not sure I can deal with the smothering that long, but hell. The way things are going, don’t ask me what comes next. I sure as hell don’t know.
Life is weird. And this new
chapter book my life is writing is certainly no exception.