I Have A Roommate!

So I haven’t posted here in quite a while, but honestly, not much has happened in a while to blog about, until just recently. And here I am now.

So, I reconnected on facebook with an old high school friend of mine, and we were talking about our hometown of Missoula. Neither of us stayed there very long after high school, but both of us remembered it fondly. Life takes you places you weren’t expecting, after all.

Recently, he moved back to Missoula, looking for nostalgia, comfort, and home. Well, they say “you can never go back,” and it’s just sadly true. The old hometown has changed so much, he was deeply disappointed with the place. It has grown too big, there are too many new stores, new buildings, it is too modern, just… too much like California and not enough like Montana. And he’s right.

So I drove over there (I live in Butte, which is only an hour and a half’s drive from Missoula) and “kidnapped” him for 24 hours. I said “Take a look around you at Butte. We’re behind the times. The city is old, it’s falling down, it’s laid back, informal… this city today is like the Missoula you and I grew up in. You might get that nostalgia you’re looking for here rather than in our actual childhood home.”

And it worked. He likes Butte. I don’t blame him. I like Butte, too. People here are friendly, laid back, the place is NOT posh, it’s just comfy and kinda dilapidated. You don’t have to mind your p’s and q’s around here, because everybody’s dirt poor and we all just sort of get it. We’re all in it together. The attitude is officially informal and mellow.

So, I live alone (with my four cats, two budgies and eleven snakes) in a three bedroom apartment because my mother bought this duplex before she passed away, so I would always have a place to live. And I’m a hair’s breadth away from being a hoarder, this apartment is jam-packed to the rafters with stuff (junk or treasures depending on who you ask), but there’s a spare bedroom with a bed in it, so why should it sit unused? I told him to come stay with me, and he accepted.

I was talking to another friend of mine who works at a local pizza place here in town, and she mentioned that they need a day shift cook. Oh? My friend just happens to be a cook. In fact, he used to own his own restaurant. A quick phone call later, and he’s got a job waiting for him when he gets here. It’s like kizmet. The whole universe conspired to make him move here.

Now he’s been here a week. He’s been working for three days, and loves his new job. Came home from work today with a huge grin on his face and glowing report of happiness on the job. And he cooks meals for me, and I hate cooking! He calls himself my housewife, and seems to be blissfully happy about it.

What worries me is that I’ve been living alone for the last twenty years. I’m used to walking around my apartment naked and not worrying about what other people think and always doing my own thing at all times. I’m worried that the stress of having another human being (even a fantastic human being) in the house will freak me out and I’ll drive him away. I’m worried about this because I don’t want it to happen. Having him here is awesome. I think it’ll be good for me, if I survive it. I want it to work. I want to be adaptable and succeed in this whole “having a roommate” thing. It happened so fast, but it feels so right. The original idea was for him to just stay until he could afford and find a place of his own, but now I’m not sure I want to let him leave. I think having him around could be so good for me if I can learn to tolerate another person’s presence. Maybe he can help me de-clutter and get my life in shape again…

And just so we’re utterly clear, there is no romance happening here. He and I are like brother and sister. And he is as gay as a treeful of monkeys, and I have absolutely no problem with that whatsoever. We can ogle men together, even! It’s all good. Please, universe, let this be as good for me as it has been for him. I live in hope!

Journal Jar #1

I found a small jar at a secondhand store the other day, labelled a “journal jar” and inside it was scores, if not hundreds of tiny slips of paper, each with a writing prompt on it. The idea is that if you write one of these ideas per day, at the end of the jar you’ll have an autobiography of sorts that you can collate and show people. Well I’m not sure I wanna do anything so mundane as write my autobiography, but having writing prompts is probably a good thing, so I am going to use some of them to make some entries here in my blog. But even more than that… As a writing exercise, and to get myself back into the swing of things, I am going to answer these prompts as best I can in one of my main characters’ voices over on my Author blog! Yup, two answers from one prompt, one here and one over at my other blog, which can be found at josielebeau.com, my new Author website. Hope you enjoy them both!

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Question: Describe a trip downtown as a young person. Describe walking down the main street.

A: Well, I’m going to set this in Missoula, MT, since the majority of my youth was spent there, though not the entirety of it. When I think of myself as a young person, I always picture myself in Missoula. I can’t really picture a specific “main street” that stands out from the others, more of a “downtown” general feel. There was the library, that was always exciting, and I never came away from the library empty-handed even though I never had any money.

See, the main thing that springs to my mind about “downtown” is that it is a shopping district in most cities, and the thing about my youth is that I didn’t get to shop. So the two concepts don’t really go together all that well. So for me, “a trip downtown” as a young person would consist mainly of sitting in the car with one grown-up while another grown-up went into a store and did paperwork or purchased something they needed or accomplished something else important to a grown-up. It doesn’t incite any feelings of nostalgia or excitement in me, it was just a question of behaving until we got home, and maybe, if I was lucky, they’d need to go to the bank. If I was really good, and they went to the bank, and they remembered I was there (so well-behaved, but not invisible), then maybe I would get a lollipop.

Nowadays, the idea of downtown Missoula is quite thrilling. There are bookstores, coffeshops, herbalists, an import market, etcetera, that make it all a fun, entertaining day. But I’m not a kid anymore. As a kid, the exciting part, I’d have to say, was going to the library, because the bank was only sometimes, and only a maybe. The library, on the other hand, was always a treasure trove, jackpot, and gala celebration all rolled into one. I couldn’t get enough of the library. I saw a meme recently that talked about every book being a TARDIS (Dr. Who’s time machine, for those not in the know): it’s small and modest-looking on the outside, but on the inside, it’s much bigger, and can transport you anywhere in time and space. It’s really true. I love books, and always have. I have a Kindle, yes, but that’s just for convenience. There’s something special about an actual paper book that just can’t be replicated.

The Taj Mahal, when it was first built, was built with perfume, did you know that? They put perfume right into the mortar they made the bricks with. Truth. The whole building was scented. Now, it may have been a bit much at the time, I don’t know, wasn’t there, but I do know that smell is the most evocative sense we have for memory. Scientists have studied that, and I have no reason to doubt it, having experienced it empirically. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that I think before they ever made the first Kindle, they should have Taj Mahal’ed it. They should have found a way to capture the smell of an old, musty paper book and mixed that scent right into the plastic case of the ebook. People would have paid ten times as much for it, I betcha. “NOW with REAL PAPER scent!”

I want a paper perfume. That would turn me on. They have “Old Navy,” why can’t they make “Old Library”? My mind just comes alive when I smell book. Yes, that’s the memory of my youth, and of “downtown.” The Public Library, which to me is as sacred, if not more sacred, than any temple or church.

Thank you for reading, and please be sure to stop by my Author website, which is now live, though it still has a few pages yet to be built, the main body of the site is up and running, and the blog is very much live. I have answered this same question from the perspective of my main character, Morgan on the blog over there, so please come and read and tell me what you think! josielebeau.com/wp is the place to find it! Hope to see you all there!