These are strange days, strange days indeed.
We are driving strangely in Pittsburgh these days.
We have gotten used to passing stopped cars, as long as we can get past them. They wait for us to drive by so they can back into their dug out parking spot, the one that has been saved by a "parking chair" all day.
We are driving below the speed limit, especially when white stuff is falling from the sky, and coating the road. In defense of our cars' transmissions, we drive to avoid potholes, even if that means crossing the median line for a minute.
And speaking of potholes, where does the macadam go? The road gets a hole, but surely the macadam has to go somewhere...
I drove into Oakland today, and driving out, I hoped to take the Crosstown Blvd. on my way to the North Hills. Instead, I was in the wrong lane at the wrong time and ended up driving through town. At one point I followed a car up a street I'd never been up before (because there was traffic stoppage ahead that I didn't want to contribute to.)
It was the first time in what felt like months that I crossed the river on the Veteran's Bridge instead of the RD Fleming or the Highland Park Bridges.
Driving to work wasn't that bad. I was in a foul mood, but beyond that, the roads were decent. Driving home was another story. The parking lot was a few inches deep of soupy slush, and my boots were soaked through before I had even finished clearing the snow off my car. I got drive-thru McD's, ate it in the Staples parking lot (the McD's parking lot was too treacherous, as it had not been well plowed from previous snows.) I ate every last golden fry, licked the ketchup off my fingers, and got back on the road, driving at 20 in a 25 zone, where drivers generally drive 30, 35 mph. It took me an hour, crawling through the snow, not caring if SUV's passed me by (though few did.)
When I got home, I forgot that I hadn't moved my parking chair into my space, so I parked my car in the middle of the road and went to remove...oh, it's still on the sidewalk. I got back in the car, parked it, and greeted Max, who has taken to shoveling and salting our walks as if he owned the house we live in.
Me: "Thank you for doing that."
Max: "Sure." (I know he takes a masculine pride in it.)
We have such bittersweet history, and my heart pounded as I walked up the stairs to my apartment and put my key in the lock, going over the sentences we'd spoken:
Me: "It took me an hour to get home."
Max: "I'm glad you're home"
Me: "Yeah, me too." (I was already out of visual sight by the time the last two sentences were spoken, we spoke them as if we were characters in a play, these were the words we should say to to each other.)
If you didn't know better, you'd say it sounded like a conversation amongst intimates, not repartee between two people who live on different floors, people who rarely if ever pass each other in the hall. And yet we were intimates two years ago for about six months. I was his first girl, and I know the weight of that, since my first boy, more than twenty years ago, still impacts how I see men, and that ain't good.
Two years have passed, and only now am I realizing that part of me died in the last embers of our days as boy and girl. And though I am back, I'm me, there are parts of me that never regenerated, parts of me that I have survived these two years without, that only now I realize I miss, and I want them back. And I have no idea where they are, where to look for them.
It wasn't just him--it was the end of an era. I finally realized that this was the last boy I would ever date who didn't share my values. I had always dated attractive, fun, somewhat pompous boys who thought it was cute that I went to church, but had no desire to join me, or if they joined me, it was merely to support me, not for any spiritual reason of their own. And while dating Max, I realized that I needed someone who had their own spiritual reasons. So as Max and I were dating, I was coming to conclusions about all the boys I had dated in my twenties. Just as I was Max's first girl, Max was my last boy. The next date I go on will be with a man. Which is a really scary thought, since I am still very much girl.
I don't know where I'm going. But I know I can't stay here. And so I travel on.
15 hours ago