A Day With A Stranger: Seattle

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After I decided to move back home to Massachusetts, I flew back to Seattle for a week and a half to pack up everything I owned in boxes to ship to my parents’ house and visit my friend in Vancouver for her birthday. Boxes packed and shipped in two days, somehow, I spent the rest of the time sleeping on an air mattress in my empty apartment, going out to eat for every meal (because I didn’t have dishes anymore) and reading The Marriage Plot in various coffee shops. I was enjoying Seattle, and a part of me wished that I could come back and do it all again. A city is a place of visceral indulgence when you’re totally alone: a dreamscape, entering as a stranger. Continue reading “A Day With A Stranger: Seattle”

A Day With A Stranger: Bakersfield

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The summer after my freshman year of college, I spent six weeks in Bakersfield, California living with my cousin in my grandma’s house.

Every day I would walk downtown to the coffee shop, drink an iced coffee, eat a chicken salad sandwich, and write at a table by the window. One day, I needed some contact solution at the drugstore and thought I should pick it up before I walked back home. I knew the drugstore was somewhere by the train station, but when I got there, I couldn’t find it. I saw a young black man in a red teeshirt standing outside and asked him if he knew where CVS was.

“Yeah,” he started to explain but then cut himself off – “Oh you know, I’m not doing anything – I’ll just walk you there.” No, I said, that’s fine – but he insisted. All summer, I had been followed by men in broad daylight until they gave up or I found some place to duck into like an antique store. But I wanted to be nice to him because he was being nice to me, so I let him walk me to CVS where I bought contact solution, a little annoyed. Continue reading “A Day With A Stranger: Bakersfield”