There’s Mold Growing in My Shoes

Here it is: my second blog post. I’m sure everyone thought this blog was going to be a one time deal. A first date with no promise of a second. It wouldn’t have been horrible to go down in history as a one-hit wonder blog. My favorite movie of all time is about a band that was a one-hit wonder, so it would be an honor to carry that title as well. Admittedly, my first post was so brilliantly pieced together I had trouble figuring out how to top it. There was tons of pressure surrounding the sophomore attempt, like friends who didn’t read for fun coming to my door uninvited and begging me to write more because coming across my link in their Facebook feed was so refreshing to them they were essentially shock-therapyed into wanting to read; old ladies stopping me in the streets so I could bless their grandchildren and bless them with a sneak peak of my latest work; or my own mother asking me for my autograph because she wanted to be able to say she knew me in the early days (although the autograph may have just been my signature on a contract stated that I would no longer be able to move back in with my parents). After my first blog post, I had unknowingly garnered tons of hype around this unborn second child; whereas, unbeknownst to my fans, my blog was quickly on its way to becoming another of the two billion washed up websites on the shores of obseleteness.

Speaking of being washed up, I moved from southern Nevada to about an hour south of Portland in April. The washed up statement was supposed to refer to me being unaccustomed to the rain, as I’ve only ever lived in dry climates, but I just moved back in with my parents a couple weeks ago so it is now in reference to my sad millennial life and how I’ve failed at succeeding yet again.

It seems life is always moving quickly for me, especially since I turned eighteen. That was the year when I first learned the phrase “Inciting Incident”. What is an Inciting Incident? There’s a reason it kind of sounds like “Exciting Accident”. It is when something unplanned happens that essentially pushes a person out the door into bigger and better things. My Own Personal Inciting Incident™ is depicted in the illustration below.

My inaudible response was “to hell with that” and I quickly found some friends I could move in with. The majority of my four years of adulthood have been spent traveling and moving to different places, which has been a blast, yes, but it’s primarily motivated by one thing: avoiding Nevada. Which is how I ended up in the Willamette Valley this spring, squelching through the wet grass and the mud in my favorite pair of Nikes, wondering how long it was going to keep raining.

Where I grew up in Idaho, it rained for maybe a half an hour to an hour at a time, maybe a couple times a month in the spring/fall months, so when I asked my roommate when the rain was going to stop for the day, I didn’t understand why she only laughed at me without giving an answer. Several hours later, I got my answer. The rain never stopped. To make things more confusing, one of the first things my friend told me when he picked me up from PDX a few days before was if I wanted to get along with Oregon, I couldn’t use an umbrella.

I didn’t want to get along with Oregon. I wanted dry shoes. And the smell of mildew was distgusting.

It’s strange how songs sound different in different places. I listened to a song I fell in love with while in Southern California, but in Oregon it seemed out of place, so I tucked it away in the pocket reserved for “Songs That Don’t Accurrately Fit My Current Music Taste or Location But Still Have Aesthtic and Reminiscent Listening Value”.

It’s strange how different people are in different places. People who grew up in Northern Oregon are so strange compared to people who grew up in Southern California. People in SoCal move quicker. I think it’s the dry heat. They move like quick little lizards. They’re hard to catch. Hard to keep their attention. They bounce from thing to thing. People who’ve grown up in Not Portland, Oregon are slower paced. They’re like little worms. They’re friendly and easy to catch. They’ve been around for a long time and they’re in no hurry to leave.

They don’t use umbrellas. I haven’t stuck around anywhere long enough to decide if I’m a user or not. An umbrella user.

My shoes are all dry now. Nevada is a very dry place. It makes my lungs kind of itchy. All of my friends are long distance again. I’m turning into one of Pavlov’s dogs, where every time I hear a notification ding, I start drooling. I’m turning into Gollum. I love and hate my phone. My phone is my lifeline, but it’s also sucking me dry.

But at least there’s no mold in Nevada.

Well, it’s a different kind of mold. It’s not the “I haven’t cleaned my shower in weeks, and as a result of the humid temperture it sustains on the daily, there is mold on the walls.” It’s more like the “This fruit has been sitting on the counter for weeks, uneaten, and as a result there’s mold growing on the inside.” There’s a subtle difference between the two examples.

It’s me as a person, disappointed that I’m back where I started. Disappointed that the epic Inciting Incident that began three years ago has failed to protect me from the grip of Nevada again. I’m like an out with the (m)old, in with the new type of person.

I remember as a kid we had this dusty old couch in the living room for as long as I could consciously remember. And one day my parents decided it was too ugly for our house so they brought in some people to haul it away. But I panicked and threw myself onto the couch and cried and cried. As I got older, I was always tossing out old toys or reorganzing the furiture in my room. It was like I had realized if I made the change before someone else forced me to, I wouldn’t be caught off guard and wouldn’t be hurt.

And that’s how I’ve lived my life for years. Quit this job before I get fired. Break up with this kid before he dumps me. Move out of this place before I get tired of it. I don’t stick around long enough to get used to the mold.

So, a couple days ago I got my haircut in a salon. It had been a year since I’d gotten my hair trimmed and over three years since I’d had it done at a place. My mom made the appointment. And like, the short barber with the thick mustache and even thicker New York accent started poking around my head, deciding on the best course of action. He began combing my hair with that puny little plastic barber comb but it quickly got lodged.

Me: “Oh sorry, I have a dread hidden up in there. I’m like a hippie or whatever, but not really. Sorry, I don’t really wash my hair either. Cause I’m a hippie.”

John the Barber: “Oh, don’t apologize. I used to be an actual hippie! My hair was down to my elbows and I went to Woodstock and The Grateful Dead are alive forever man. And pot.”

Ally the Embarrassed Fake Jealous Non-Hippie: “Oh. Nice.”

I wasn’t ready to have my hair cut. I loved all the split ends and weird uneven lengths it had grown. To get it trimmed up and evened off seemed to cover up the journey my hair had been through. But to be back in Nevada, a place that feels completely covered with mold from all the times I’ve been forced to come back here, I decided the only way to survive was to do things before I could even trick myself into thinking I was ready. Nike, man.

So I let the barber comb out my last remaining dread. And I cried a little bit. And then I let my mom take me to get a pedicure. And that was weird because I hadn’t shaved my legs in like two weeks and the lady rubbed lotion all up and down my legs but she didn’t care about the hair so I didn’t care and I chose the most invisible-looking nail color on the rack so that I wouldn’t be able to see anything different when I looked down at my toes because “I’m Ally and I don’t get pedicures because that’s too girly and materialistic for me, and I ain’t ever gonna change”.

The end.