Chimera Song Mosaic
Sunday, August 24, 2003
This day was anxiety-ridden; I’ve been trying to tie up all the little incidentals, like health, hygiene, and bills, that won’t get touched during the hectic semester, which begins tomorrow. I was excited, but now I’m not. I’m spoiled. I had a fabulous life for too long, and now I’m afraid I can’t go back to teaching.

It sounds so dramatic, but it honestly feels this way. Where will I fit in time to read, write, exercise, organize? I have almost everything lined out now. I won’t have to touch my real life during the semester. Today I got a haircut. I walked through my backyard into the alley behind and up into the small strip mall buffering our subdivision. The two $8.00 haircut places on the strip were closed Sunday, so I walked across the street, crunching some carrots and barely aware of the soft whiz of cars gliding along behind me.

There is a certain intimacy that comes with pedestrian life—real, on-foot pedestrian life. There’s a certain feeling of territory that comes with noticing much more than pavement cracks—real, live weeds and their ant mounds. Paint peeling from the underside of roof overhangs. People who drive by in cars don’t get the same kind of perspective—maybe that’s why kids who roam the neighborhood feel such an acute sense of belonging—cementing them to their surroundings, inspiring them to tag smooth surfaces, and tugging them from their origins at the same time it tethers them—centrifugal relationship with the known and the pedestrian.

People don’t get this kind of perspective much in Texas because most parts are too spread out, too exposed to the elements (heat, mostly), almost unnavigable on foot. I settled for the $11.95 haircut plus shampoo across the street at a name-brand place, but I’m going to work on figuring out the schedule of these cheaper places so close to my house. One thing I want to know: how come there are two haircut places almost right next to each other, advertising the same price? They are almost identical to each other, except one place advertises waxing in addition to cutting. Then the Cuts Plus or whatever across the street where I went today. You wouldn’t think we needed this many places. We also have a Subway sandwich shop, a dollar store, a Hallmark gifts, an adult day care, a do-it-yourself carwash, a gas station/Circle K, The Bean Cuisine (coffee and lunches and great homemade deserts), my dentist (so convenient!), a travel agent, a couple of strange offices that might be insurance sales places, and a liquor store that just expanded its wine selection. We used to have a post office satellite with a grumpy clerk, but now they’ve moved across the street.

Meanwhile, my water lily continues to be sublime, but all my fish have died. Maybe I’ll get some cheap bright orange feeders to color the water and bite the mosquitoes.

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