The average apartment dweller, I suspect, stays in one place for a relatively short time before moving on. And then there's, well, yours truly. Four different units were involved, and there's a five-year break somewhere near the middle, but I've actually been in this particular complex for sixteen years.

If that sounds startling to you, it's even more so to me; I had to stop and add it up, and then stop and add it up again because I couldn't believe it. But it's true. And it can't be because I'm inordinately fond of the place; regular readers of the blog will have no trouble remembering various gripes, kvetches and expressions of outright disgust.

Yet despite half a dozen management changes, an attempt to throw me out, even a fire fercrissake, I'm somehow still here. And I'm only just now starting to get a handle on why.

The quick-and-dirty answer is simply this: I don't want to pack up all this mess. A thousand books, three thousand records and CDs, all manner of tchotchkes that I can barely identify the task is simply too overwhelming to contemplate. (And my leases tend to end in December, which, given the spectacular crappiness of most recent winters, further discourages the thought of moving.)

But there's more to it than that, I think. And part of it is the fact that the single most common question of youth "What do you want to be when you grow up?" is a question I never got around to answering for myself. This is a disturbing sort of admission, and not the sort of thing I'd normally want bandied about a Web site, but being disturbing doesn't keep it from being true. I am legally an adult for crying out loud, my children are legally adults but something inside of me hasn't gotten the message. It's not some atavistic Peter Pan fancy, either; I am reasonably conscientious, I keep my nose to the grindstone, and I generally behave in a manner that borders on mature. Still, there's some barrier, some threshold, some something I've surely crossed chronologically but never quite got past emotionally.

And it's those grown-up people, not me, who buy houses and get married and do all those grown-up things. (Yes, I've been married; no, I wasn't ready for it, in any sense of the word.) I'm just biding my time until I cross over that invisible line.

Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll pull that off some time before I actually croak.

The Vent

1 March 2003

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 Copyright © 2003 by Charles G. Hill