Tip #196: Sign on the dotted line.
In the past 48 hours I have been to the hardware store three different times. I’ve stretched the yellow tape measure and snapped it back into place so frequently that I’ve taken to hanging it off the stretched out waistband of my favorite summer pants for easy access. I’ve worried over the possibility of asbestos in decades-old floor tile and channeled my anxiety into removing, scrubbing, and rehanging thirty-five dangling crystals from a chandelier with a patina I wouldn’t dare touch.
Last week I signed a lease on a new apartment with James. My dad signed with us, a guarantor and guarantee for the landlord that we’ll pay the rent. It was a mostly symbolic, if very much legally binding, act. I earned more than my dear old dad last year, but his messy signature on the dotted line, is a stark reminder that the landed patriarchy have not lost their grip on power, that privilege is inherited, not earned, that the system is rigged.
Our new place is a mile down the road from where we are now and it has twice the space. The move is a Hail Mary. It’s a last-ditch attempt to regain a bit of normalcy or, at the very least, the ability to close a door and work uninterrupted for more than twenty minutes.
We know that more space won’t solve everything. It won’t make a deadly virus disappear. It won’t give us a government that cares about working families or teachers or children. The apartment won’t make lunch for my kids while I send emails. More space can’t teach Faye to read or help Silas to tie his shoes. It won’t begin to introduce solids to Calder. The apartment won’t do the bookkeeping, or write the blog posts, or read the contracts. It won’t teach college biology labs over Zoom or lead virtual student discussions. Still, I’m hoping against hope that it will make at least some of that easier. With doors to close and space to spread out, I’m hoping our brains can regain their open circuits and that our nerves might begin to smooth themselves out a bit.
All I know for sure is that these keys open different doors to a different place and we’re hedging our bets on that space making a difference for us, too.