How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl; this time you're all alone.
But it's time you started living.
It's time you let someone else do some giving.
Love is all around; no need to waste it.
You can have a town; why don't you take it?
You're gonna make it after all!
You're gonna make it after all!
--Paul Williams, "Love Is All Around" (theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show)
Well, I tried to move away from you, blog. But you've followed me to my new apartment, so I guess I will tell you about how I've gone crazy living on my own.
Don't get me wrong; I really do think this was the right move for me. This is the first time I've lived without a roommate of any kind, and I'm learning a lot about the "real" world and the real me, who is apparently insane.
The layout of my new place is what the owner refers to as a "rail car" design, and I've also seen it referred to as a "shotgun" apartment. You enter through the living room, there is a set of French doors into the bedroom, then another door into the kitchen, and finally the bathroom is at the very back of the house. See, you move between the rooms much like you would move between the cars of a train...or much like buckshot would move unabated from the barrel of a shotgun in my living room through my bedroom and kitchen before lodging in the porcelain bowl of my toilet. (I do have a bathroom door; I'm just assuming it's open for metaphorical purposes.)
So it has worked out that my bed is about--let me measure--46 inches from my stove. And by way of a transition, I'd like to note that when I just went back there to measure, I smelled a faint odor of natural gas.
The same thing happened a week ago when I was about to go to bed. It was Sunday night, and I was exhausted from cleaning the old place on the heels of a week of marathon moving activities. Because of its proximity to my bed, I've been using the light above the stove as my night-night light...you know, the last one you turn off before you go to bed. When I went to douse the night-night light, I caught a whiff of gas from the stove. I turned off the light and laid down and immediately started to worry.
Are natural gas and carbon monoxide related? Should I be worried about gas filling my apartment and killing me in my sleep? When would anybody notice I was dead? I'm really tired, but is it because I'm physically exhausted or is it because I'm being slowly poisoned by the very air I'm breathing???
I thought that maybe I should crack a window. It was pretty cold outside, but piling on another blanket wouldn't be difficult, and it seemed a small price to pay for the chance to live to see another day. So I got up and opened a window in the kitchen and climbed back into bed. I visualized the gas moving toward the open window and realized that was silly. Why would the gas go all the way across the kitchen when it could just move 46 inches into my nostrils? I mean, it would have to fight NOT to get sucked into my lungs by my constant breathing.
I could just see the local news coverage: "A St. Paul woman was found dead in her awesome new apartment this morning, apparently poisoned by the very air she was breathing. Police on the scene say she had almost saved herself by opening a kitchen window. Had she been a little more motivated, she might have gotten out from under her four blankets and opened a bedroom window, letting fresh air into the room where she was sleeping, a mere 46 inches from her deadly stove, and giving herself a fighting chance at traveling more, writing a novel, and seeing what will surely be the exciting conclusion of the TV series "Battlestar Galactica," which may very well have been her goals, judging by the contents of her truly awesome new apartment in which she had barely begun to live. As it is, she leaves a project half done at work, but someone else can probably just finish that today."
I got up and opened a bedroom window and listened to the real sounds of the city and the imaginary sounds of gas whooshing out of the window for another few hours until, finally, I fell asleep around 3:30 a.m. By that time, I figured that if the gas was going to kill me, it would have done so hours ago, and I allowed myself to drift off to the reassuring strains of: "You're gonna make it after all!"
And so I have turned into a crazy person. Maybe that will make for more interesting blog entries. Stay tuned...