the ultimart

by rantywoman

Dr. Oatman, please pick up, pick up! It’s Martin Blank! I, I’m standing where my, uh, living room was and it’s not here because my house is gone and it’s an Ultimart! You can never go home again, Oatman… but I guess you can shop there.— Martin Q. Blank, Grosse Pointe Blank

It’s surreal being back in town. Some people look and seem exactly the same and are living the same lives as they were before, while others have married and had children in the few years I’ve been gone or moved away and moved back themselves. Interestingly, a lot of my hunches about people have been confirmed now that I’m back. In one case, I discovered that a man I found quite difficult to deal with, someone who surprisingly married and had a child after I left town, got divorced soon after the child was born.

Just like with people, some places are exactly the same, while at the same time new projects and developments have sprung up with remarkable rapidity. I can be on one block where everything is completely familiar, and then turn a corner and everything has changed.

There’s a lot of creative activity here, but it doesn’t seem to have the same sort of ambition behind it as you find in L.A. Do the musicians and comics and other performers here eventually want to go professional? Or are they content to stay local or even just perform for fun? Imagine that. I’m trying to wrap my head around that concept again– doing something just for the hell of it.

I do find that I get flirted with a lot more here. A lot more. As well as just chatted up more in general.

The job interview went okay, but they did emphasize that they are understaffed and overworked, so I may be going from the frying pan into the fire. Half my friends think I should take a job to have a job, the other half are bummed I’m not pursuing my dream of time off and a career change. For the most part, the latter half are struggling with the same issues of career dissatisfaction and inability to find something else, so I don’t have confidence they have the answers either. Maybe I should have held out longer before applying for something; I don’t even know anymore.

Sometimes I think it was folly for me to imagine I could “go home” again. I have changed, and this place has changed, and I had mostly settled into L.A. But I don’t think I could have started over somewhere completely new in my forties, and I don’t think I was meant to be in L.A. forever. And perhaps this place has enough of the familiar and the unfamiliar to be the best compromise all around.