I guess I’ve been through this before. I pick a new place, set a date, get my stuff packed. And then, eventually, word gets out. A few weeks pass. My stuff is packed. Boxes, boxes, boxes, everywhere.
Why is Julie leaving? What’s the scandal? Talk, talk, talk….
So my door rings. Or knocks. I never did have a doorbell. I suppose this was 1986.
There were two women who came to my door that I recall right before I moved who had about the same message. They were both on foot. It was essentially this:
I wish I had gotten to know you better, Julie.
Well, I’m sorry, too. Maybe I’m not. It didn’t happen while I was here. I mean, you didn’t come around, then, right? So I’m leaving. That’s the breaks.
Of course, I didn’t actually say that stuff. These two women let me know separately and privately that they were sorry the town of Bennington and North Bennington, Vermont and Bennington College had been rotten to me, and they wished it had not gone sour for me due to gossip and mental health stigma.
I assured them that I was going to a big city and I was steering clear of small town gossip.
Am I expecting about the same thing to happen now. Yep. Someone’s gonna come out of the woodwork and tell me the same thing. Someone’s gonna tell me they wished they had gotten to know me better. Or I’ll get to know someone suddenly and they’ll introduce themselves and then say, “Oh, sorry you’re leaving.”
Well, damnit, too bad.
Not that I have a destination in mind or anything yet. I’m sort of thinking Tennessee. There’s a river there. That’s a good thing. It’s inexpensive. Cheap is good. It’s warmer than here. There are a lot of small cities, but I don’t want cities that are too small, because too small means gossip and it also means the public transportation system’s gonna suck, or the budget won’t hold out and they will cancel the buses the year after I move there.
People ask me why I don’t drive. I know this sounds dumb, but to me, it was like slavery to a piece of metal. It was like all these mechanics would ask me, “Oh, are you Jewish? You must have rich parents. I will charge you an extra $100.” So I’d get slapped with an extra $100. I’m not kidding you. And in the gossipy town I lived in in Vermont, there was only one mechanic, and he’d charge an extra $100 every time he’d fix my car.
It was similar with all health care practitioners in that town. “You have Jewish parents? Let me see if I can call your parents and arrange finances….” That part of it totally blew. I’d tell them over and over that I was over 18 and not dependent on my parents, and not to betray my confidentiality, but that didn’t matter. Money mattered more than confidentiality.
I suppose that’s the way real life is anyway. People do what they damn well want to do and they don’t care what the law is, whether it’s legal or not doesn’t matter.
So goodbye, Watertown, hello, wherever I end up.