dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I wasn't in the best place, mentally or physically, as I climbed into the passenger side of his car. The sedan was clean, and I knew the song which was playing as it reached my ears: an R&B hit which was about as old as I am. I exchanged a momentary greeting before falling into silence as he climbed over and descended the hill toward the highway.

As we pulled up to the last traffic light before the highway and waited our turn at the five way intersection, I apologized for my silence. He dismissed my apology, noting that while he was happy to chat with those who felt like it, there was no requirement. Somehow, though, we quickly got to the topic of where each other hailed from. He ticked off the places he'd lived, but said he always came back here. I explained that I was a 42 year native. "Both sides of my family are from here," I shared before describing the places my progenitors had resided.

After pausing, I choked back the tears that were forming as I clutched at the small brass disk dangling about my neck. "I have a 1922 Pittsburgh trolley token that I always wear, to remind me of where I am from." Barely able to not cry, I let him fill in the conversation as I contemplated again if it might be time to leave before recomposing myself and picking up where I'd left off.

Any safety net that might have been under me had been dismantled and reclaimed. I feel naked and unprotected. Still, my life is fully mine and mine alone, for better and for worse. At least if I come crashing down, there will be no collateral damage.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
We sat at the corner of the bar in a relatively uncrowded pub, sipping libations which were different from the ones we usually saw at home. That (and the concert we'd been to the previous night) was the point of the trip. As they already had a place to put themselves up, I looked nearby for something I could put myself in cheaply in the same area. The neighborhood was one I'd always felt right at home in, and this trip was no exception. As did my beloved South Side, Ohio City had slowly remade itself after a period of decline. There were preserved older elements like the bank-cum-restaurant we'd later have a fantastic dinner in, and the Art Deco masterpiece bridge my latent engineer self always drooled at, as well as some of the cool new things which more recently had been priced out in the blocks around me.

I've been accused of not taking my own safety seriously enough. That's possibly true. But as I had looked for places to stay, I gave consideration to the people who I'd be staying with if I took a room in their house. A professional man a few years younger than me? He might be awkward but he wouldn't be threatened. When that fell through, a married couple with a lifestyle not unlike mine -- accepted.

I found out the following morning when I met my host for the first time that her husband was away. The thoughts flashed in my head: If I wore my history on my sleeve, would I have not been invited in? Did she find me threatening to have in her house with her alone? If so, she didn't betray it, but it was still on my mind. I asked only a bed and a shower, and her home provided those well. But as I confessed my fears to my friends, came the admission from one that it wasn't something that would have crossed his mind.

This was a tax that was mine to pay, and one that offered no surprise to me. I can offer no complaint at doing so. I was there to enjoy a weekend with friends, and I did. The perspective I hadn't previously considered, though, was who else might be less able to deal with the imposition of the added cost of simply going through life due to the mere facts of their existence. It wasn't immediately obvious how, but the takeaway for me was that I needed to find and do my part in reducing those costs for them.

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dariaphoebe

May 2017

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