It has been a disorienting couple weeks in Omaha. I’m still adjusting to the ways things are done here, the implicit signs and symbols of what is and isn’t allowed. And once again, I had to be told to be a good little lemming. I was feeling like a scolded child. So yesterday when UPS left a package slip in my door, I had a funny sensation. I felt like I had just found Wilson (remember Tom Hanks crying over his pet volleyball?).
When I went out to California for the winter break, I had rummaged through my storage unit looking for warm things—my heavy coat, sweatshirts, long-sleeves—anything. The temperature while I was out there on break was in the high 60’s, and sunny every day. I was reminded of when I packed up these warm things in the middle of August. I had stuffed them in a crate that became a sturdy shelf for stacks of boxes. I wasn’t thinking about anything cold.
Finally, after messing up my balanced columns, I was able to get to what I wanted. But what I really wanted to do was close the metal door, and spend the night with my stuff. Yet, the contract I signed states, in big explicit print, that storage units are not places to sleep. It’s not allowed.
Because I couldn’t fit my old sweatshirts in my suitcase, I had them packed into another box, and had it mailed to Omaha. And weeks later, I held a dulled knife, and gingerly cut through the packing tape until I saw my pink sweatshirt and my green Antioch University sweatshirt. Tossing the knife, I picked up my warm clothes, and pressed them to my face. They smelled of California. I put on the pink one, and all during the evening I would bury my nose in my sleeve, and breathe in the scent while wishing it would never fade away.