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Moved By One Ocean To Another

February 21, 2012

Shelley and I have finally found a new home here in Brooklyn, our first in nine years. We move this Saturday. 

And I wish the process had been simple. But something in me seems to bristle at simple.

I’ve been all over the emotional map. I didn’t find this place on my own, as I had wanted (and wrote about). Shelley  located it through a broker.  For this but also other reasons, after we viewed the apartment together, I rode an extended storm of tortured indecision and confusion. 

It’s a spacious place, more than the 1,000 sq. ft. we now have, and far cheaper. But I didn’t like that my home office would face a dreary courtyard, or, especially, that it was on Ocean Parkway.  (Just the name of the street – and its cognitive dissonance — put me on edge!) I became even more in touch with how soul-deep a need being close to nature has become. The back of our current apartment overlooks a lush garden that explodes every spring with color and birdsong. Now we were about to take a place that looks out on a six-lane highway.

Then there was the anger at Shelley for having to move at all…although it wasn’t her fault. And every time she’d lobby for the place, which she’d taken to immediately, it would make my process that much more difficult: For I needed to decide, not agree. I told her to back off.

Finally, I call Mike the broker and arrange for him to show me the apartment once again, without Shelley (and without even telling her).  I need to see if I can make the place my own. And following a hunch, I bring along a folding chair. Once there, I ask Mike to leave me alone a while.

I look. Gee, this bedroom is large.  Then I slowly walk around the living room. I of course remember from our first visit that it was a sunken room, which I had thought somewhat charming. But when I unfold my chair and sit facing the window, I discover the architect’s wit: Ocean Parkway disappears, leaving a view of tree and sky.

Finally I conduct a brief experiment, fantasizing with eyes closed what it would feel like to actually come home to this place at the end of a long day. I notice how my body feels as I imagine myself walking from the subway, turning the key, entering the apartment.  Within a few minutes, my body gives me its answer.

Later that night, I tell Shelley we should sign the lease. She was thrilled, and immensely relieved as well, for while having kept off my back, she had in the meantime given herself a walking tour of the neighborhood and had fallen in love with it.

So here we go.

But I need to note that I’m sad to be leaving our current home which has seen me through some of the happiest years of my life – and of Shelley’s as well. The first years here were little short of blissful, full of newness and the blossoming of true love and putting our home to good use as a center of our community. It’s a special abode we’ve made together, and into which we’ve brought our unique sense of living life to the max, full of pleasure, laughter, celebration and love.  

On top of this, this will be the first time during my adult life I’m moving involuntarily, that is, out of need (Shelley’s health) and not desire.  I’ve been resentfully dragging my feet. Then we went to Florida for a brief, pre- planned winter respite.  How the beach can refresh ones perspective! There in the water at Del Ray I realize that it has been not the need to move, but my stubborn resistance to it that’s been the problem.   What if I could go with it as if it were a wave moving inexorably to shore? I can ride such a wave if I let it take me, or it can smack me down if I don’t.

So maybe that was the last of my resistance kicking up when late last week I got the sickest I’ve been in 10 years with Bronchitis and, though somewhat better now, I’m still feeling like I got run over by a tsunami.

But now I’m ridin’ the wave — and Shelley and I will be movin’ with it — onto Ocean Parkway this Saturday. 


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeff Kelton permalink
    February 21, 2012 11:38 am

    Halleuhlla and Congratulations. Look forward to meeting you in the new place and celebrating all kinds of wonderful occassions. I’m sure Shelly is relieved and my sense of you Charley is that you will more than make the most of it. Fond regards from Okinawa!


  2. Daniel Wininger permalink
    February 21, 2012 12:51 pm

    Good for you guys. You made the right decision.

    With new externalities, new internalities follow (as well as other new externalities). Embrace the new.

  3. Roy Alexander permalink
    February 21, 2012 2:58 pm

    Lots of luck. And, as I said before, I’m selfishly happy for your move! Also, you’re alot closer to the ocean. That’s why it’s called Ocean Parkway. Just a thirty minute bikeride to the boardwalk (yeah, I know it’s gonna be concrete and plastic now). Late afternoon and early evening walks there are the best. See you Saturday. Roy

  4. February 21, 2012 8:41 pm

    Congratulations! I actually think Ocean Parkway is a beautiful name for a road, and a beautiful concept: a tree lined park, with safe walking paths parallel to the road, leading all the way to the ocean. A few blocks west of Ocean Parkway down Cortelyou Road you’ll find my favorite food store: the Flatbush Food Coop: And they deliver, too.

  5. murray permalink
    February 24, 2012 7:13 pm

    The apartment SOUNDS beautiful and I’m so you gave up your doubts. I just know you and Shelley will make this space your new home. Enjoy it.

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