If there was an extra hour last night--and of course there was--I didn't notice. I woke at nine (okay, ten) ("fake nine") and got a quick start on some proofing while trying to print out a half-dozen page sets of an oldie-but-goodie chapbook, Terry Kirts' To the Refrigerator Gods. For some reason, the laptop couldn't find the wireless printer, and I fiddled with trying to reinstall the printer for the better part of an hour until it dawned on me that maybe I should just try restarting the laptop. Which I did. Which promptly set the printer whirring and blurting out every copy I'd sent and re-sent.
Technology eludes me. I manage an uneasy, tenuous grasp on just enough to get me by. My cell phone, for example, has been almost out of memory for a month. Today as I was trying to hang two small cubbies in my room, I really needed a level and thought There must be an app for that, which there was, but my phone didn't have enough memory to download it and so I scrolled through applications, trying to find something to delete. Then I remembered the tiny flash drive I'd bought, and lost, and just yesterday found in my desk, the one with a micro USB port at one end and a standard USB at the other. I plugged it into my phone, hoping for a prompt to pop up. Honestly, I can't even say how I figured out how to click and transfer files from my phone onto the flash drive; whoever created this device must have had the elderly in mind: I just seemed to accidentally intuit the correct series of taps and clicks.
But it's also terrifying to move files I've saved on my phone for three years, to remove them from the phone and onto a device half the size of my pinky. Not just pictures, but all the audio recordings I've made over the past year. Notes for poems. Pep talks I've given myself in my car. Lists, reminders. And fears I couldn't speak aloud to anyone: the night I borrowed the neighbor's car and went looking for R because he'd gone to the grocery and hadn't come back (I found him in my car in the parking lot; he said he'd been talking with a friend and had lost all track of time); the awful, rainy night last December when I drove home late from work in the rain and sat in my car talking to myself, recording my mounting dread because R hadn't answered my texts all day. I don't know what was recorded after I went into the house because I don't remember turning off the app and I haven't had the nerve to play that file. And now, today, I've removed it from my phone and stored it, with about ninety others, on a ridiculously miniature flash drive. I'm not even sure how to play the files, except maybe to reconnect the drive to my phone and open them through the original application. That should work, right?
In the same way that I'm not listening to those notes, I'm not writing--even as I sit here writing on this blog for the first time since--what, June? Today, in a closed group on FB, I posted a status update that was basically a call for help: how do others do this? "This" referred to my having set down everything but work when I relocated to Ohio with the vague notion that I'd somehow figure out how to pick back up the other pieces of my identity and gradually master the juggling that others seem to manage--specifically, carving out time to write, but also, most baffling to me, figuring out how to be social in a city/community in which I feel completely invisible.
Do I want to date someone new? Would I rather just fuck? Where are the men in this town who like to talk about books? Is fifty-five too old to even try? How do people do this?
I posted these questions and stepped away from the laptop. Folded Terry's page sets. Made a sandwich. Edged back to my desk to see if maybe someone had responded (it's a small, closed group of less than fifty). And found the sweetest, most generous encouragement posted by a writer and publisher whose work(s) I adore. It's a Sondheim moment, sweeties: No one is alone.
Rodney Gomez: A Short Tablature of Loss
3 months ago