Went a high school friend’s bachelor party on Lake Michigan. The same friend’s wedding is here, in Troy, in November, and with my family in China till late October and the house empty, I decided to stay in Michigan through the end of the year. Driving around today in my friend’s neighborhood I saw hoses siphoning water into the street. Everyone was draining their swimming pools.
Knowing I’m going to be here for a spell, I’ve been trying to disrupt the habit fields that have formed over the years in this room, house, greater metropolitan area. It’s not easy, especially in the house. Nostalgia fixes things to their places, what’s there seems like it’s always been there and should always be there, exactly as it is. I don’t even think at first to put away the unused LCD monitor that has sat in a corner of my room for I don’t know how long, or to replace a hulking leather OfficeMax computer chair with one that fits my desk.
But I do. And I fill a small shelf with books I’ve acquired mostly in the last couple of years. I get pho at a Vietnamese place I’ve never been to in Madison Heights and curry at an Indian place in Troy that leaves off their lighted sign at night (thanks, Robin). I sign up for yoga classes in Royal Oak and email the organizer of a meditation group in Ann Arbor. I go to Trader Joe’s. I am porting over my New York lifestyle, and unlike previous visits home this time there seems to be some center that is holding. Familiarity reaches from different depths.
I also got a plant for my room. I can extend my right hand and touch the leaves right now. I’ve watered plants for others but this is the first I’ve had myself since a too-oft neglected orchid I’d had on the dining room table of my old apartment in Chinatown. This one’s a staghorn fern, it reminds me of a restaurant in Brooklyn and a cafe in Lima. It’s a symbol of, well, I don’t need to say it. I think you know. The care tag in the soil called for periodic deep waterings. And tomorrow afternoon I’m going to see about a sublet in Detroit.