Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Monday, May 12, 2003

Failure of the Day: Blaming the geography for the acts of the people who live on it

Spent a good portion of yesterday in Fremont; taking Chris's mom out for Wienershnitzel and hot fudge sundaes turned out to be a pretty great idea. But my relationship with that place is…evolving, shall we say. For some periods of time while I was there yesterday, I would glare at the patches of iceplant on the side of the road and just loathe it: that iceplant of my lost and hated childhood. Same for the creek on Grimmer Blvd and the gravel surrounding it and several random trees and swatches of grass.

And it's odd to have to keep telling yourself: It's not Fremont's fault. That tree never did a damn thing to me. This is not a Steven King story, and the town is not inherently Evil. It's really only my mother and a couple of other people who live on that ground at whom my emotion is directed. It's not logical to loathe an iceplant because of what Lee Glover said to me in 11th Grade. And there's a perfectly sensible argument to made that I shouldn't even still loathe Lee Glover, but that is a failure for another day.

The point is, I go back to Fremont more often now than I did when I was still speaking to my parents, and I sometimes wish irony weren't so damn ironic. When I'm there, I have a nice if slightly tense time. I notice that it is not such a horrible place; it is certainly maximized for shopping convenience, and that is not without its charm to me. And I look at the houses in a new way now that the idea that I might someday own one exists in my head. They aren't so bad really; they are largely well kept and friendly even if virtually identical. A person could do worse.

And still, underneath my more rational reactions, there is a burning ball of Hell that just plain exists in the pit of my stomach at the mention of the words Blacow Road. You have to go down Blacow to get to my parent's house, but you go down it to get to Chris's parent's house too. And when I chose Chris, I chose to periodically go down Blacow. And driving that road with a person who loves me and toward more people who love me de-claws it for long enough that I don't jump out of my skin. And although that's not exactly the pinnacle of rationality, it's a marked improvement.

And this is what I signed on for. I married Chris because he is the smartest and funniest and kindest human being I have ever known and he astonishes me daily with his capacity to effortlessly demonstrate those traits. But also because he is very nearly the only living soul who can redeem my childhood, who can cure me of it, and in doing so, can cure me of Fremont as well. And if that's the opposite of what I set out to achieve, namely to forget that a town called Fremont ever existed, well, ain't life a kick in the head.


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