You come home, check email, and there it is: news your home is being sold. Home=house+heart. Twenty-two and one-half years. The apple tree which all by itself is a life’s worth of juicy memories; the triangulated view from the living room: Mount Tamalpais out one window Mount Diablo out another. Thanksgiving dinner. Every step in the garden triggers nostalgia and little moans of lamentation. That gets old pretty fast.
The first night you have trouble sleeping. Who asked for a wake-up call?
You thought you’d be immune, that the faultline running through the city, the pressure of dotcom wealth, would somehow spare you. Denial is a good drug. Do people living in the Marina reflect about Loma Prieta?
Earthquake. A few cracks in the plaster. Is the foundation stable?
Many scenarios of change possible, from nothing much to a bulldozer. No way to know, but there are things to do, learn about your rights as tenant. Like Jill and Camla next door did. Talk to lawyers. Where are Jill and Camla now? I don’t know. I saw Jill a few weeks ago driving by in her rust bucket of a pickup. She had come by to pick up the last of her stuff stored in a friend’s garage. “They beat me down,” she said bitterly.
You think you’re immune, still.
Friends hearing the news react as if hearing of a death. Or at least, that’s what you hope. You watch carefully, ready to defriend those who are blasé. (Insert smiley emoticon.)
A somewhat suspect side of you is drunk with the prospect of upheaval. Without earthquakes, no Himalayas. How about dragging out that dusty TEFL certificate and getting a job teaching English is some provincial Italian university? Be the envy of your friends stuck in the rut of their comfortable lives. How do you say rut in Italian?
But then, what’s wrong with comfort?