29/10/16

owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
I biked the mile and a half to Z.'s house in costume. It was a Pikachu costume I'd bought at Target and I was glad for the visibility it lent me in the dark.

The shoes I needed to complete the look were my Italian leather-soled ones. Months earlier I had slipped down half a staircase in those shoes, but I hadn't stopped to consider what it would be like to pedal in them. My shoes slipped against the pedals, slipped off them. At one point I took off my shoes and strapped them to the rack; it was worse, in my socks. So determined was I to keep turning those wheels around that I didn't stop to think I should go home and change. It was only a mile and a half.

*

"You went to college in Canada, right? Is this what parties were like there?" M. asked me. By this point I had drunk half a cider and a nonalcoholic butterscotch soda.

"The thing is, I had severe social anxiety when I was in undergrad. So I didn't go to any parties."

"Oh, me too," M. said.

Later he marveled at the change of moving from Brooklyn to Ames. People put down Ames, when they do this; but it was rarely enough that I actually felt part of whatever mystique New York City has for outsiders. There are fewer art-house movies and worse vegetarian food. But for a part of me, the big city bustle feels like walking in the Broadway crowd, exhausted and panicky.

"It's like in a 19th century novel," I said, "When a character moves from London to the country to recover from a nervous breakdown."

This wasn't accurate; I was pretty well recovered, by that time. I was well enough to figure out that I might need someplace cheaper, quieter, lower-key, if I was to avoid turning up in the same place again. It felt accurate, to a first approximation.

*

I worked up the courage to ask Z. a favor. It turned out he wore my shoe size; it turned out he had a pair of sneakers he could lend me until Monday. I put my Italian shoes in the pannier on my bike. It was past eleven and in the good-byes people kept telling me to bike safe. The Saturday before Halloween, people would be drinking. The roads were dark and empty. The borrowed shoes clung fast to my pedals, all the way home.

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owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
owlectomy

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