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Parting Glances A ‘guest’ uninvited

By |2018-01-16T00:53:21-05:00September 14th, 2006|Opinions|

After six months, I’m recovering from my traumatic move from my residence of 24 years, an 80-year-old landmark apartment building slowly turning condo in Detroit’s Cultural Center.
There was only one other tenant on my floor during my get-cracking, get-packing, get-it-all-together final weeks. I was East on a long empty hall and Joan Lockhart, an energetic (gay friendly) retiree who volunteers for the good of the Girl Scouts and her church, was West.
During the day there was a cavalcade of workmen (some neatly fetching): electricians, painters, carpenters, plumbers and spray-down temps. My telephone line was cut three times, and I was fit to be tied (but not in a B/D sense).
My move forced me to take stock of life as measured in books, DVDs, CDs, magazines, photographs, art, knickknacks, jewelry, newspapers, porn, pens, pencils, dishes, birth and death certificates, stuffed bears, my mom’s treasured, delicately hand-signed DOT card.
We don’t own our possessions; they own us. (At my age I think I’d like to give everything away and start over, limiting my next clutter and be gay to just a few items – but we all know too well how that goes.)
The whole moving shebang depressed me. It happened in winter’s dark-at-six months. I couldn’t sleep. I was living in a war zone. I felt without anchor, totally isolated. Box by box I packed and bag by bag I persisted, finally moving and getting on with what’s left of my reasonably fascinating and unreasonably dull life.
My new home is comfortable: 12-foot high ceilings, newly laid wooden floors, soothing central air, spacious drawing room, living room, kitchen, bathroom – and $100 dollars less rent than I had been paying. (A new washer and dryer will be installed next week.)
As this is Recovery Month (from alcohol, drug, other addictions – I qualify for alcohol) let me share that I have a “guest” sharing quarters. My guest is sexless but tenacious. In some ways I admire this “thing” that dropped in on me unexpectedly. I’m curious to see what’s next on its subversive agenda.
Oh, yes: the outside of the 90-year-old wooden Edwardian house that’s my new home is covered with trumpet vines, vines that have a habit of proliferating at an alarming rate. In fact they’ve covered one side completely. These days they’re everywhere.
Last cleaning Saturday I was surprised to see that my poor-reception TV set had acquired an extra attached antenna. Upon closer look I found that the antenna is a 6-foot tendril of trumpet vine. Somehow through the tiniest of crack in my 9-foot living room window I’ve been invaded by this tenacious, determined, vegetable body snatcher.
Quite honestly I’m reluctant to chop it up and have the rest of its accompanying trumpet vines torn down and trashed. Something about the sheer audacity of its getting inside my quiet domicile I find truly amazing. (Will it reach my couch and circle my aging swanlike throat or my seldom-used nether regions in my sleep?)
There’s a Recovery Month analog to share here: addictions – drugs, sex, food, gambling – are like trumpet vines. They camouflage exteriors. They offer superficial shelter, a sense of shade, fashionable pass-me-bye. Leaf by leaf we let them grow, thinking nothing as they brocade the surface. (But, let’s say – as once happened to careless me – each leaf represents a beer, a shot, a martini, an occasional blackout.)
Once inside – once inside the fractured, frightened human brain – it’s often too late for resistance. Oh, yes: the bugs ….

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.
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