Dec 28, 2011

A funny thing happened while I was in Houston...

My house burned down. And the car out front.

As ya do. As they say.

I'm not entirely sure what the proper response is. I'm trying for the dark humor. The "fire sale". The "blackened fish tacos". Everything I own is gone. My new car is gone. The roommate's dog, whom I love, is safe. No one is hurt. But there is decent coverage on all of Charleston's news outlets, that show my home, and everything I own, save the suitcases I have in Houston, up in flames. My neighbors talking about how hard it is on them, because the firefighters evacuated them before saving *their* homes. Not mine. There's only so much they can do. By the news report, I'm the "fifth person", after the Red Cross helped four, who is "out of town", as the news reporter says, "thank goodness". As do I.

I have family. I have friends. I have a general worthlessness to the things I owned. A Wii my mom got me. A regifted futon. An Ikea dresser I got in New York. A computer that was already on the fritz. A brand new car that was engulfed in the front. But I have friends, I have family. I have a job and a place to stay. I have a roommate's big sloppy dog that's not dead. I have... I don't know... a fresh start? It's not a fresh start. It's a charred start that hurts when I think of the emotional losses. The med school diploma. The pictures from Prague. The episodes of hell, Dexter, the show that named my car, who's dripping melted plastic in a parking garage downtown. My external hard drive. I had a flashing minute, before I left for Houston, where I thought "I should put that in my file drawer at the hospital" before I thought "nahhhh, what could happen". The blackmail photos of my roommate and my friends in New York. It's done.

I'm in Houston. I'm not sure what the response is. I'm not sure how I should feel about the arsonist speculation (which I don't really believe) and they claims to my insurance company. I'm moving in with someone I really like. But I feel odd; I feel disconnected. I feel like never going back to pick through the condemned wreckage to see if I can find the necklace I bought in Venezuela, the luck dragon my boyfriend and I got in Chinatown when I was hammered, that I used as a puppet to order tickets to a midnight showing of the Dark Crystal, the few bills of Costa Rican money, my checks that couldn't spell "Union Street" correctly.

Is stuff important? I don't know. I've moved so many times. I frequently joke that every time I move, I want to pile up everything I own and light it on fire, and now that job's been done for me. When I talked to the claims guy for my car, he says "Is your address still on Nunan Street?" and I say "Not anymore" because it's not. The CAT-AT in our living room, the life sized Anakin Skywalker that scared the shit out of the roommate. The fridge with the door that would never close. I'm moved with a suitcase to a nice apartment in West Ashley with a new, different dog and a new roommate and a new life in the same city.

I packed a bunch of my clothes to Houston because I had to check a bottle of port for Christmas. More than I would normally. Dress clothes. An electric blanket.

I don't have scrubs. Those stupid throwaway pieces of cloth the hospital provides us, but we have to return them to the machine to get them back and mine are burned.

But stay tuned for us on the news. We're top billing. They don't know our names or the dog's name, or if the cat I never liked is alive. But they know about the smoke that actually changed the city skyline for a while, the neighbors that were so horrified by our loss, the possibility of the Arsonist At Large, or if you're me, more probably, the Squatters That Were Cooking.

Can I just stay in Houston?


Lorrie Patrick said...

Ish, I'm so sorry. I can't even begin to imagine what you're going through. Yes, things are just things and most can be replaced over time. It still doesn't make it any easier. I'm feeling for ya. If you need to talk or just want to email me, you know where to find me. I love you!!

Anonymous said...

I can't even think of what words would be appropriate to say at this point. RIP Dexter. Hang in there, Ishie. I hope the new year brings you ten-fold more happiness and good stuff than you lost in that fire.

Phrenetic from VMD