I don’t think I accepted quite how difficult it would be once my mom left Prescott and I found myself alone in an unfamiliar place, until I spotted an errant black sesame seed on the kitchen floor–a remnant of her morning toast–and felt the hot sting of tears at the corners of my eyes. I may be 27, but damn it, I miss my mom. And more generally speaking, I miss not being the sole inhabitant of a home. I miss not rattling around these rooms like a loose tooth with only my vaguely disturbing thoughts for company. So, like any reasonable 20-something who finds herself alone in a strange new land, I joined Tinder.
Well, first I downed an entire box of sugary cereal and went for a run in the blistering Arizona sun, nearly puking due to the aforementioned cereal-binge, dehydration, and the ever-present fear that I would accidentally stumble onto private property and be picked off like an extra in a back-woods horror film. Then I wandered aimlessly through town, longing to stop for an afternoon beer in a shady dive bar with the hard-bitten, leather-skinned, small town Arizona, day-drinking crowd, but ruefully recognizing that I was still just barely keeping the cereal in check. Then I joined Tinder.
I was mostly curious to see what the local dating pool had to offer and was horrified, but certainly not surprised, to find an inordinate amount of photos of men clutching guns with all the pride and admiration of a father cradling his first-born. This foray into the murky depths of Tinder didn’t have the desired effect of bolstering my faith in the prospect of future companionship–if anything, it made me feel even more alone–but it did lend credence to my fear that I might one day wander off trail and into the crosshairs of a hunting rifle.
While we’re on the subject of semi-rational, Arizona-based fears, here are some others:
I’m afraid the desert sun will dry-roast my pallid skin until it crackles beneath my fingers like an oversized pork rind. I’m afraid that, as a result, I’ll make a staggering leap from looking like a twelve year old to looking like I’m one hundred and twelve in a matter of months. And yes, I do wear sun block. And no, I don’t wear a hat, Dad, because I’ve inherited your colossal forehead and can’t stomach the mortification of walking around with a human-sized hat perched atop my comically large head like the live action version of Hey Arnold (though his head was oblong laterally, rather than vertically).
I’m afraid I’m going to be infected with bubonic plague, because I read an article about fleas testing positive for plague in an Arizona county 200 miles away and now I’m convinced they’ve rounded up all of their plague-infected friends and are making a bee line (or is it a flea line?) this way (because of course they are). I’ve begun viewing the cats and dogs in my neighborhood with the utmost suspicion–but mostly the cats because they can transmit plague through their saliva and god knows they’re just lying in wait to take you out. Cats are shifty as hell.
I’m afraid the local bartenders already know me as, “That strange girl who always orders the same bizarrely flavored cider and refuses to drink from a glass as is customary in polite society.” But listen, I don’t care how uncouth it is to swig a 22 oz cider straight from the bottle, take a good, long look at the rim of your next bar glass and tell me you don’t see someone else’s lip marks.
I’m afraid the crackling noise I hear in my bedroom eaves is the wasps I’ve seen crawling into the gaps in the siding and they’re biding their time until they’ve eaten away enough dry wall to break through the ceiling in a shower of plaster and writhing yellow bodies at which point they’ll engulf me as I lie in bed, vulnerable and unsuspecting, and sting and sting until I die a horrible, gruesome death.
I’m afraid I’ll never find out what all the electrical switches in my house do. I’m even more afraid that the switches that don’t appear to do anything are, in fact, doing something–something that might one day start a fire.
And now I’ve rambled on about semi-rational fears long enough that I have, once again, quit Tinder. What an exciting 24 hours it’s been. Thank for tuning in to this week’s installment of “Perpetually Neurotic And Indecisive Loner Attempts To Deny Her True Nature With Little To No Success.” Tune in next week as I delude myself into thinking I’d like to make friends before tossing my phone off a mountain (the lake is no longer an option) and returning home to drink alone. (Or, as alone as one can be with a ceiling full of wasps. What is it with me and the wasps?)