i say this to my mum as i stand by a sign i believe to represent a bus stop (it doesn't).
this is probably not the wisest thing to say. but that doesn't occur to me until the horrified gasp echoes down the line and my brain yelps, oh, shit. like it haphazardly brushed against an electric fence.
you never know what'll detonate the "when are you moving back to memphis?" bomb. i've spent years avoiding it, deflecting, trying to shift the conversation to nashville, north carolina, north dakota. any place but memphis. i cannot go back there.
we got here, to this conversational point, through my debate of the kennedy library's various membership levels.
library membership. it seems so benign. so not the obvious route back to but, carrie bear, WHHHHHHHHHHHHHY do you want to live SOOOOOOOO far away? which is a question that misses the point. the difference between needs and wants.
i want to be a member of the kennedy library. because, A) being a member of any library would solidify my liberal bookish bonafides. B) being a member of the kennedy library just makes sense seeing as, y'know, i kinda heart the family. and because, C) being a member of the kennedy library entitles you to incredibly cool and awesome things. like free admission to all presidential libraries. is there anything sexier?
why, yes, there is. members at the "presidential supporter" level are treated to the COMMEMORATIVE GIFT (!!!). which is apparently so awesome its awesomeness cannot be denoted through anything less than the gratuitous use of bold italicization.
that's how we wind up here, at my inflamatory declaration. all because of the COMMEMORATIVE GIFT (!!!). because at the "presidential supporter" level, in addition to the COMMEMORATIVE GIFT (!!!), you get invites to all library events, and though all my excitement revolves around the COMMEMORATIVE GIFT (!!!), i have the emotional wherewithal to allow that invitations to library events would be kinda cool... if i lived in boston.
which i don't. a fact that does not prevent me from concluding my discussion on the merits of kennedy library membership with the incendiary statement, maybe i'll move to boston...
ha ha ha... but, no.
this instantly becomes my mum's new Greatest Fear. a fear i do little to extinguish when (having just realized i've spent half an hour standing at a corner that is not a bus stop), i pissily respond to her increasing concern with the line, well, everyone i know lives over there.
read: dear mother, i am abandoning my tiny family to memphis and fleeing to live with my yankee liberal elitist pals in the kennedy capitol, a place you would never ever want to move as a senior citizen and where it is even more expensive than chicago so i will be even closer to The Edge and from which i will never venture for thanksgivings and christmases so that you will now spend those sacred holidays of family joy alone, without your only beloved daughter, your sad bitter tears staining the treasured family linens we only use on special days, which i will never see again because i live far, far away and hold no regard for important things like freedom or family or fine linen.
the women in my family have always been demanding. we've been blessed and we expect a lot.
my mum has this utopian vision where we all wind up where we began- together again in the summer of 1986, sunning in the aqua patio chairs, wiggling our toes in the freshly cut zoysia, downing flutes of baptist champagne as a fair-haired five-year-old naps on a collie in the flowerbed. she wants that whole thing.
it's a pretty picture. one i'm probably going to spend the whole rest of my life trying to recreate. but i'm a realist. and i recognize that there are limits.
four collies and real champagne. that'll more than do.