Wednesday, May 18, 2011


When I was little, my mom spent a lot of time talking about limbo. Not the limbo, which requires feats of dexterity I shudder to think about in connection to my flesh and blood, but the Catholic version of it. Specifically, she always wanted to know what happened to all the babies floating around in it. Why this was such an obsession of hers, I do not know since all the people in my family died after getting christened (and in most cases, thankfully, managed to receive most of their sacraments short of taking holy orders). When limbo was cancelled, or disbanded, or blown up, or whatever you do to an imaginary world you no longer believe exists, she still talked about it.

Now, years and years later, I can understand why. Limbo is just an awful point of existence. It is neither here nor there. It's in-between. It’s the gap between one step and the next. It’s the feeling of falling that wakes you out of a deep sleep in terror. And currently, it is my way of life. I live in the space between house and home. All I want to do is move forward and all I can do is tread water.

It’s nothing dramatic (writes the woman who just compared it to death without respite), I just want to sell my house and move to another town and I can’t. This is a plight million of people around the country are facing in much dire circumstances than my own. I don’t need to get out before the bank moves in. I just want to give my kids a better quality of life.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the housing market for casual moves. This housing market smells like desperation and fear. You sell low to buy low. No one really wins except new buyers, those lucky, lucky few who can actually manage the Olympian feat of getting a mortgage. I know this is not true around the country, but in a blue-collar neighborhood like mine, with a For Sale sign on every block, and one buyer for every five sellers, trying to sell a house is like trying to get that damn rock up the mountain. You get the call for a showing, you clean the house, you vacate the house, and then you get the call back saying they weren’t interested. Rock comes out of the gulley, up, up, up the hill, and then rolls all the way back down. The only difference between me and Sisyphus right now is that I can’t even control how often I can roll the rock. It’s all in someone else’s hands.

In this frame of mind, I find it hard to write. Ideas flitter in and out of my head, half-formed and half-deranged. Do I write a blog about how Samoa plans to time travel into the future in order to better trade with New Zealand? How trying to potty train my son might actually kill me? How much I learned about parenting by sending my child to kindergarten? How much I want my books back on their shelves instead of in storage? I think all of my ideas are in limbo with those babies. Can’t go to heaven, can’t go to hell. Just stuck. That’s me. Stuck.

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