i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

Rhode Island? Why Not?

August 7, 2007

In the weeks before my move to Providence, Rhode Island, whenever I told someone I was moving, the first two questions would inevitably be: 1) Why? and 2) Do you have a job up there? I began thinking of joke answers like "Because I like pilgrims" or "Because I can" and was sure that I would be able to leave these questions behind me once I moved. So, now when I meet people who learn that I have just moved to Providence, the questions are inevitably: 1) Why? and, er, 2) Do you have a job? Oh well.

Providence is growing on me. Today I met with my editor to discuss the article I turned in this weekend, and the magazine in general, and when I left I had two new assignments, in addition to my regular column. I'm psyched. Tonight I hung out at a coffee shop on the East Side that had yummy Italian soda and a poetry reading with halfway decent poets. I got to chat with my friend's new girlfriend, who is wicked awesome; she likes crafts, speaks Italian, and wants to learn German with me via song. I'm determined to be her friend! I found a store with buy one, get one half-price wine, and my friend sent me home from the coffee shop with a bag full of sweet treats.

There are a ton of free events this month and next -- hope this continues -- and I'm learning my way around the city. Tomorrow I'm exploring Brown University, before all the students are back in town, which should be cool, and I'm hoping to hear back from Whole Foods, where I put in an application because I love the store so much. All in all, I'm enjoying the experience.

Solitude is interesting, and I'm liking it for now, but I wonder how I'll feel about it in a few months. I'm already planning where I'll go next, just keeping my options open, but I wouldn't be suprised if I decided to stay in the area after December. No promises on that one. I'm nothing if not a free spirit.

It's really fascinating to live in someone else's apartment - everything from the Spanish art books in the bedroom and living room to the cat books in the bathroom, the dishes in the cupboards, and the weird things I find in the drawers tells a story. The items we have in duplicate are unexpected: two coffee grinders, but no stockpots. Three ironing boards, two irons, and well over twenty saucers, but no curtains, functional ice cube trays, or wine glasses.

My favorite mug is one that was broken but repaired, plain white with black text: "I have needles & I'm not afraid to use them." This may have frightened me were it not for the similiarly-themed "Knitters Without Borders" mugs and the yarn catalogs. Each room holds at least one book shelf, most have several, and from the clues and items left behind I can deduce that my invisible roommate likes cats, Spanish art, clothes, books, and the virgin Mary. I like her already.

My favorite Providence thing so far is almost silly: around the corner is pink-washed building that you'd almost walk past without noticing, but when you step inside Joe's Meat Market, it's like stepping right into Spain. There are items on the shelves that I wouldn't have the first idea how to use and meats that are probably illegal in some places. The sounds of Spanish punctuating the air... my heart skips a beat when the cashier gives me my total in Spanish, and I understand her, whispering "gracias" on my way out the door.

My heart wasn't always so fond of Rhode Island. Here's the entry I wrote on August 3rd, my first day:

Itís officially my first day in Providence, and after some minor stressors, I am ready to relax. When I got to the airport yesterday, I found out that purchasing a ticket does not guarentee a person a seat on a flight, which is total bullshit, if you ask me. Note to self: never fly with North West Airlines again! After that issue was resolved, one panic attack and one threat of bodily harm to airport personnel later, I was able to secure for myself a seat on the flight for which I was booked a ticket and spent three hours in the Detroit airport watching for the cops on these weird wheelie things that look like something straight out of a sci-fi flick.

During that time I tried not to stress about minor issue #2 which was that, apparently, my new apartment has a flea infestation. Thatís always a great thing to hear after youíve paid $2800 in rent, especially if you have two cats, no car, and no contacts in the city. Excellent! I was freaking out about that one for a while, only calming down when my landlord insisted that no, my neighbors would not henceforth think of me as Flea Girl, since the problem had started before I arrived. (Thanks for telling me, huh?) Also, he agreed to pay for their vet appointment to rid them of the fleas they probably have from their new home.

Take a deep breath, I keep reminding myself, and remember that one of the major stress events in a personís live is that of a major move such as mine.

At least I was able to ditch most of my ratty furniture and have only the boxes that fit into a small Toyota truck to unpack, after I scrub away the remains of the exterminatorís treatment. Still, I must remind myself, I am happy because not only is Rhode Island the ocean state, though where the ocean is I couldnít say, there are pigeons, many of them, staring at me and I swear I saw the one with the bum wing in Paris near the Siene. [[note:]] today I walked through an ocean of pigeons, and they just parted like the Red Sea. They probably smelled my peanut butter sandwich.
Okay, thatís not true, but I couldnít think of a second nice thing to say about Rhode Island, except perhaps that the public library has take-home art, scary and decrepit as it may be. Sure, I am essentially homeless until 5:45 when my apartment becomes safe to breathe in again, and sure my future roommate seems to be having second thoughts about the move. Sure the bastards at NWA totally ruined my day yesterday, and the guy I love, who is totally unavailable, is 600 miles away, but itís Rhode Island, right? There must be something glorious in that.

Okay, positive points: down the street and around the corner from my apartment is the Armmaggedon Shop, which sounds frightening, but is actually a rockiní music shop with a wide variety of Indie Rock, Hardcore Punk, and Metal music, as well as an even wider variety of records, plus, my favorite, several racks of CDs put out by local bands at reasonable prices. The clerk behind the counter was cute, another bonus.

I appear to have free, if sporadic, wireless access in my apartment, which makes up for the gross refridgerator and the bus issues. Also, there is a clawfoot tub, which I heart more than you know. The last clawfoot tub in which I had the pleasure of bathing was in a hole-in-the-wall hostel in Dresden, Germany, quite possibly one of the scariest places on Earth. This clawfoot tub does not come with messy roommates or ravaging gangs of drunken teenagers. Bonus. The floors are gorgeous hardwood, a pain in the ass perhaps for someone as prone to slips and falls as myself, but pretty nonetheless. The views are excellent, making up for the poor air circulation, and the downstairs neighbors seem nice and like cats.

Whole Foods is less than three miles from my place, which means I will be dining consistently on wholesome, delicious food, and the downtown area is an easy twenty minute walk from my apartment. The library does not have free wireless access, as of this morning, in fact, but theyíve got a fantastic selection of DVDs that are free to rent. Tonight I will be watching a musical called The Saddest Music in the World. The weather is gorgeous, thereís a liquor store with dusty wine bottles around the corner, and a bike in the basement which I can borrow, assuming it works. All in all, itís summertime, and the living is easy. Apparently, roommates are a dime a dozen, and as for the boy, well Iím told there are plenty of fish in the sea, and if thatís the case, R.I. is the best place to be.

Moira at 11:00 PM :: Comments (5) :: ę :: Ľ

If it makes you feel any better at all, I got asked the same questions when I moved and I only moved to Harrisburg. Evidently people can't seem to get that I came not out of force... like it's a prison or something... or at least to the younger folk. It's depressing when I have to keep defending myself for having moved to this new place. People have even apologized to me when I've told them I moved here recently.

Sounds like you've got more things to do than I do, though. I've learned that it is rather difficult to meet people when one is not into the bar scene. I'm having to get really creative about it.

Take care, Moira!

Posted by: Karissa at August 8, 2007 6:42 AM

It is awesome that there are so many activities that don't involve bars. I think I'm going to take a class at this place called The Steel Yard that has, among other things, welding, jewelry making, and bike maintenence classes at reasonable prices. I figure that's a great way to meet someone who shares my interests. I think I moved here at a good time because the college students are mostly out of town. The city's probably going to change a lot at the end of the month, and that transformation, however annoying it might be, should be quite interesting to see.

Posted by: moira at August 8, 2007 10:06 AM

I know what you mean. I'm also considering some courses at the local community college (which, I've heard, is ranked #4 CC in the U.S.). They have self-defense, yoga, a number of cool art classes, and Spanish. (The French courses are only beginner level and are during the day--when I'd be at work :-/ Oh well... I wouldn't mind beginning a new language!) Sure, I'm not working towards a degree anymore (at least for the moment), but I need something to do and I need to meet folks... What better place than a school? (which is just what I've done all my life... Old faithful. Ha.)

Posted by: Karissa at August 8, 2007 3:16 PM

Im from RI and you are going to enjoy it. Don't let people let you think otherwise. Its great being able to drive the whole state in about an hour and your never too far away from everything. Good luck with everything!

Posted by: Justin at August 10, 2007 11:37 AM

Moira! You're in Providence??? You're less than two hours away from me! Do you have a phone number??? Email me!

Posted by: Neha at August 12, 2007 5:14 PM
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