sliding into home

I’ve updated my masthead to include four disturbing, anthropomorphic carrots and updated the carrots ipod feature to include two new songs. Enjoy!

Last weekend, I traveled to Charlotte to visit the inimitable Mike “Boots” Ford. We did the things Fords tend to do when gathered in groups of two or more. We ate delicious steaks and ordered dessert, even though we were stuffed with said steak. We made fun of television personalities. (Boots does not share my extreme distaste for Matt Lauer, but he has a burning yet inexplicable hatred of Alex Trebek.) We ended the visit by fighting off the aggressive attentions of Eddie and Lucky, the two enormous dogs of the Ford-Shipley household, while watching a movie that does not demand much mental acuity.

Morning Glory. Mediocre, as expected.

Of course, no visit to Charlotte is complete without a visit to Southpark Mall, a pilgrimage that I always think I can avoid but end up making, anyway. This time I was accompanied by Lilian, a grad school friend who once taught at Country Day and now has relocated to Asheville. As we lovingly caressed the beautiful but out-of-our-price-range clothes at Anthropologie, I began to experience that weird returning-home feeling that strikes when I’m about 24 hours into a North Carolina trip. The sense that this place should somehow recognize me. That it should not make any significant changes to the landscape of my adolescence without consulting me first.

This feeling began during my pilgrimages between DC and Charlotte during my undergrad years — a time when I was a little anchorless, living between the transience of a dorm room at American and the indignity of a suitcase at home. The prospect of a drug store closing or a new addition to my high school was simultaneously humdrum and a little unsettling. This is very self-centered and ridiculous, of course, but I feel like a stakeholder in this city somehow. I have invested a lot of teenage angst into the echoing, perfume-scented corridors of Southpark. I spent many hours polishing off some waffle fries while discussing with Bee, Erin, or Noel the tense negotiations of an IM conversation with a pseudo-boyfriend. And I’ve tried on oh-so-many homecoming dresses in those ill-lit department store dressing rooms.

The feeling has faded a little since I’ve outgrown my nomadic undergraduate life (sort of), and it’s mitigated by the fact that my dad no longer lives in the house where I bumbled through PSATs and calculus and school uniforms. But it’s never completely left.

Future trips to North Carolina will probably entail a trip to Lake Lure, where my family is buying a cabin. I am excited about Lake Lure’s fame as the setting for Dirty Dancing. If so inclined, you can put up near the site of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray’s log-dancing scene. You can even stay in cheekily-titled rooms and suites, like Baby’s Bungalow.

Dad, on the other hand, is excited about the prospect of a pontoon boat, which he plans to dub the HMS Sick Puppy, captained by Boots, Esquire. He insists both that captaining said boat earns him the honorific “esquire” and that he be piped on deck.

I am considering purchasing him a tricorne with a jaunty feather.


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