Spring cleaning

I’m in the middle of packing for a move. It’s not a particularly happy move, nor is it a particularly unhappy move. It’s just time for change.

When I came to this beautiful community a few years ago, I knew it was temporary. The plan was to be here for a year. A year became two and two is closing in on three. I love being near the water. Watching the sun rise over the bay has been the highlight of every morning. Riding my bike along the shore in an even more beautiful community a couple of miles away has been the highlight of many weekends.

It’s the lowlights that are forcing the change, before I’m ready but long overdue.

Not long after I settled  in, I met a group of nice people who gather every Friday night in the warm months for a community barbecue. This very happy welcoming soon turned ugly when one of them turned out to be too “nice”. When I tried to politely decline his interest, he persisted in what eventually led to a police report and my need to sell my car and buy something less distinguishable, which I then parked in various locations to keep it from being the target of his vandalism. Nothing says “I want to be your boyfriend” like urinating on a person’s windshield, putting nails in her tires, and surrounding the car with a trail of Marlboro cigarette butts as a calling card.

Although I’m tired of checking the perimeter of my car every morning, even if it weren’t for this troubled soul, it would still be time for me to move on. I’m not meant to share walls. My downstairs neighbors are steeped in dysfunction that I can’t avoid overhearing, to the point that in recent months I’ve worried it might come to something serious enough that I’d have to call authorities . . . again. I am tired of sneaking in and out of my home to avoid the drama. The teenagers next door are almost finished raising themselves, so they don’t need me anymore.

I came here for a year of solitude and I am leaving nearly three years later exhausted from the melodrama of other people’s lives.

The Hipstermobile was an easy target. She has been replaced with a more easily camouflaged would-be urinal.

The Hipstermobile was an easy target. She has been replaced with a more easily camouflaged would-be urinal.

But I will miss the sunrises.

And I have a new car.

So it’s not all bad.

The clearing of the clutter has carried over to my desktop, from which I’ve been deleting old files, mainly silly pictures from some of the blog posts I’ve written in the past few years. This morning I came across a half-written post from who-knows-when about creativity and change. I do have a vague memory of transcribing Joni Mitchell’s words about Jimi Hendrix and his need to evolve as an artist without disappointing his fans.

The post likely went unwritten, ironically enough, because it didn’t seem in keeping with what would be of interest to readers of Le Cahier.

Since it’s March and most everyone is or will soon be engaged in some sort of spring cleaning, instead of deleting the file altogether, I thought I’d share her words  in case they might find whoever might stumble across this at just the moment they need to hear them.

Whether your March will find you welcoming a season of change or just a good clearing out of the sock drawers, I hope it’s a good one.

It’s very difficult for an artist to survive especially his first change, which is inevitable. I mean, you can go on being the same as you started but you’ll die inside. And the time that you make your first change, like when Dylan went electric at Forest Lawn, you have the wrath of your fans . . .they don’t know that if you don’t change, they’ll get tired of you. . . .

He was tired of playing the guitar with his teeth. . . . he wanted to do big band arrangements and stand still…and cut the theatrics, but every time he would try to do it, they would boo him and say, “Jimi’s not himself.”

So I always thought in a way it was a shame that he never made the change because he’s one of the great innovators and geniuses in this business.

41 thoughts on “Spring cleaning

  1. Wow. I’m speechless. I’m speechless, and I am grateful the ‘friend’ did not do anything more serious to you. May your new community be far less dramatic, perhaps bringing you vibrant sunsets rather than sunrises.
    P.S. The Hipster mobile was a fine one, eh? Stupid stalker.


  2. I’d have been terrified, frankly, and I’m surprised you stayed there this long! Life is far too short for such shenanigans. No wonder you’ve found it necessary to clear out — both literally and figuratively. Best wishes for a happy, successful move — and a fresh start (though I’m sure you’ll miss the waterfront). If I were closer, I’d volunteer to help you haul stuff.


      • Have you noticed something is up with WordPress today? I saw your reply to my comment on the WordPress app on my phone but can’t find it anywhere else. I had to come back here to reply. Same thing over at Madame Weebles. Is that happening to you too?

        Gated community just means the nice AND the crazy people are gated together.


        • So true about the gated communities. I might write some of the stories . . . when my car is in a safe place. I haven’t been on WP much today and I am not a fancy app lady. However, I did go back in to edit my comment because it wasn’t clear, so I might have caused that particular problem. I wonder wazzup.


        • Yes, WP is having problems, still. Responses to comments are not showing up, You have to search for them manually. People are bitching all over the forums, and one of the threads has been tagged for staff attention, so it should sort itself out eventually.


  3. Man, he must have really had to pee. Good thing you didn’t show up until after he’d gone. And who carries nails around? You’re lucky to be alive! Yeah, under the circumstances, and considering everything else, moving sounds like a pretty good option. Although moving sucks. Frankly, I’d rather go to the dentist for a root canal. Last time I moved… long story. Anyway, good luck, and I hope you find someplace quiet where you can be at peace.


    • Actually, they’ve mostly been screws. Big, brand new ones. It was a message. He’s got a way with symbolism. Sometimes he’s screw-less and he just takes the valve cap off and lets the air out. We played that game for a while. I was stopping off at Pep Boys once a month to buy new valve caps so he’d know I knew they were missing. Did you know that MINI Cooper tires cost $250 each to replace? I do. I also know which gas stations within a five-mile radius have broken air pumps. Most of ‘em.


        • Thank you, Harper. I didn’t actually intend for the post to focus on the bad as much as the idea of change and the things you stumble across when you’re packing up and cleaning out. I never intended to write about “Creepy McCreeperstein,” but I think now it was ok to decide to share it.


  4. With the behavior of some men, it’s not all that surprising that so many women tell me how incredible I am. “Well,” I say, kicking the dirt and blushing slightly “I try not to be a jerk, and I almost never pee on people’s windshields or stalk them”

    Seriously, what a tool.

    In regards to the greater message, cleaning is kind of cathartic, as is moving. Both are also a pain in the ass.

    As for Jimi Hendrix, i often wonder what would have become of him had he not died so young. Most of my imaginings of him were not so great, but surely better than an early exit.


    • You are a good guy. Whenever someone asks, I always tell them that you’ve almost never peed on my windshield.

      About what Hendrix might have done, recently I heard a Jim Croce song that I’d never heard before and it was an odd experience that got me wondering what he’d have done. Since I seem to be wallowing in Negative Nellieville, I ended up bumming myself out at the sacrilegous image of him on Dancing With The Stars.


  5. I have a little spring cleaning project underway myself but nothing as jacked up as Mister “I-have-a definable-condition” (I was told I should not call people “Nut Jobs” anymore).I had the drama living in my house but I could not let this individual live on the street. Good thing was the arrangement had an expiration date and the transition will be completed soon, as in none to soon!
    Good luck on the next step and may you find another place where you have a lovely sunset as well…..minus the nut job!


  6. Good luck on your move. That sounds like a frightening situation. Good thing you are getting out of there. But to look on the bright side, all those evasive maneuvers have made you this much closer to being a super secret agent spy.


    • I hope all the good things about you stay the same — your wit and humor and kindness — and that whatever change you seek is coming soon. If you need a catalyst, I know a guy who . . .never mind.


  7. When I read shit like this, I think “you know, there are SO many good, loving, reputable guys out there in the world.” And then there are a few douchebags who’s behavior casts a dark cloud over the rest of us. It’s so unfortunate. Sorry you had to experience all of this and I wish you the best wherever you end up. Please keep us posted on your new adventure!


    • This is absolutely true: First, in a reply to another comment I said that I didn’t really intend to highlight the negative so much, but in retrospect, it’s fair that I did. So, since I did, it’s also fair to share that as I’ve been dealing with the situation and others that have REALLY had me struggling to remember not to adopt a dislike or distrust of all men, I’ve truly (no, TRULY) found comfort in reading posts like yours and a few others whose writing shows you/them to be good men. I know we don’t really know each other, but the things I needed to remember, I’ve found in your writing about your wife and family and ….well, you just never know who needs to read what you’re writing is all I’m sayin’. You and your old barn coat. :-)


  8. I am so sorry you have been put through this, it is unconscionable. Spring cleaning, I have been doing it since December, feels like a never ending job. Good luck on your move, I hope you find someplace far more peaceful.


  9. OK. You didn’t cause the problem. ;) WordPress isn’t functioning properly. Responses to comments aren’t showing up in the notifications tab. People are griping over at the forums. One of the volunteers has tagged the primary thread for staff attention, so it may get solved on Monday when they come back to work. Or, when the programmers who try out their new tricks on the weekend decide to get out of the playpen and give us our system back. ;)


  10. Now, for a real comment re: your post.

    I just made a move of my own. Last night, I closed my blog at Weather Underground. That’s where I started, six months before moving to WordPress. I have friends there, and nearly six years of history. But the site has changed, and I’ve changed. Maintaining a blog there wasn’t just time consuming – it was becoming boring, as the site turned into more of a chatroom than anything else.

    It wasn’t easy, but it needed to happen. Every site – like every complex – has its own personality, and sometimes it’s just time to move on.

    Whether any of my readers there will follow me at WordPress, I don’t know. But these words certainly resonate: It’s very difficult for an artist to survive especially his first change, which is inevitable. I mean, you can go on being the same as you started but you’ll die inside. And the time that you make your first change, like when Dylan went electric at Forest Lawn, you have the wrath of your fans . . .they don’t know that if you don’t change, they’ll get tired of you. . . .

    You’ve read my last post already, but you can read my farewell paragraph here . I could just as easily have posted this.

    On we go. There are better days ahead.


  11. I know moving can be stressful, but it’s also a great to shake things up and start a new chapter. (Hopefully you won’t need to sneak away in the middle of the night to avoid your “friendly” neighbor. Thank goodness all of your neighbors aren’t that friendly!

    Love Joni’s advice to Jimi. You can’t please everyone all the time. You only have to be true to yourself. Words to live by!

    Good luck with your move.


    • Quite by coincidence, I heard that a Jimi Hendrix album was just released with songs never before heard. I’m interested in giving that a listen, if only because of the coincidence of stumbling across the post I’d started to write about Joni’s words!


  12. It seems so unfair when the victim is inconvenienced and the stalker isn’t.
    I have an acquaintance who encountered the same situation. Moving away wasn’t an option for her. I hope you find an end to this situation faster than she did.


    • I stayed for as long as I did in part because it felt so unfair. He had backed off for the most part, but the occasional re-occurrences were almost worse. I’m sorry for your acquaintance and for everyone who is stuck in a situation from which there is no relief. It seems far too common than it should be. I hope she has a strong support network.


  13. How awful that some stupid man ruined it for you. And I have to say that was one kool car. Having just begun the final move into our place and out of my temporary home in Niagara I can sympathize with the moving stuff but I haven’t had any trouble with stalkers. Well, except for He-Who and well, you know how that turned out. ;-)
    I have to say that you have made me nervous about our new place as this will be my first time with downstairs neighbours.
    Good luck with the move, stay safe and I hope you are happy in your new place.


    • Here’s wishing you and He-Who and your downstairs neighbors, who I’m sure are lovely people, the very best of luck and happiness. That rainbow at the Falls has to be a sign of good adventures to follow.


  14. The stalker sounds terrifying and annoying – you poor thing! I’m glad you’re moving away from all that drama and the neighbor kids who have almost raised themselves.

    Good luck with the spring cleaning and the big move. I have to say I really envy you. Lately I feel incredibly, unalterably stuck.



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