# of pages written: 7 ½
# of days left to write 1st draft: 110
It’s starting to get chilly around here, which makes me nervous. I have a very low tolerance for the cold, and this is the farthest north I’ve ever lived. So the other day I went into the garage where I’ve been storing my sweaters and cold-weather clothes in some large suitcases. I was looking forward to snuggling into a nice fall cardigan and sipping some hot tea, so imagine my distress when I opened up the first suitcase and found that my clothes were covered in spidery green mold.
Granted, it is very damp here on Cape Cod, and I had noticed a few weeks ago that my suitcases were getting moldy, but it hadn’t occurred to me that the mold would have infested the contents of the suitcases as well, although I suppose it makes sense. Mold is quite wily.
Annoyed, I headed to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and bought some vacuum-seal plastic bags, then I began the process of washing all of my clothes and scrubbing the mold off my winter boots.
This reminded me of another time I encountered the growth of some unexpected mold. It was back in 2007 in New Orleans. At the time I was living in a charming attic apartment that had skylights instead of windows, and up until that summer, the only mold I saw was in the bathroom, which is a pretty normal place for mold to be.
That summer, I left my attic apartment for the month of July to go study abroad in Spain. The night before my flight back to the U.S., I drank copious amounts of wine, went to a discotech, and ended up staying up all night with a Spaniard named Ivan. Without sleeping or showering, I rushed to the Madrid airport with what was the beginnings of a massive hangover. The next twenty-four hours went from bad to worse with nausea, a pounding headache, bad airplane food, a missed flight, and a terribly stiff neck from trying, but ultimately failing, to sleep using one of those stupid airplane neck pillows.
When my friend Kaila picked me up at the airport, I could barely make conversation. All I wanted to do was fall into my bed and sleep for about fifteen hours. She dropped me off at my apartment, and I lugged my gigantic suitcase up the three flights of stairs to my little attic apartment. I let myself in, headed directly to my room, and threw back the covers on my bed.
And that’s when I noticed the mold. My bed was damp – the skylight in my bedroom had been leaking for the five weeks that I’d been gone, and five weeks was apparently more than enough time for mold to grow in such a warm and inviting environment as my bed.
Annoyed and disheartened, I pulled out my sleeping bag, spread it out on the floor, and fell fast asleep.
The next day, I realized that the mold had not only infested my sheets and comforter, but also my mattress and box springs. “I have to get a whole new bed,” I told my friends.
“Oh good,” my friend Chana said. “Will you finally graduate to an adult-sized bed?” (My friends often made fun of the fact that I still slept in a single bed.)
“I’m just one single person,” I always said. “So I have a single bed.”
“What about if you have a boyfriend?” they asked.
“Well, when I get a boyfriend I’ll get a bigger bed,” was my answer.
But now, what with the mold situation and all, I had a choice. I could buy another single bed, or I could buy a bigger bed in anticipation that one day I might have a boyfriend to share it with me.
If you buy it, he will come, I thought. Maybe the reason I hadn’t yet found a boyfriend was because my bed wasn’t big enough for him. If I got a bigger bed, and the universe would see that I was serious about wanting a relationship and send me a man.
It didn’t work, of course. I bought a bigger bed but have continued to be perpetually single. Now I’m just single in a double bed. At least I have more room to spread out. Sometimes it’s lonelier that way, but sometimes it’s more luxurious. I guess that’s true about a lot of things in my single life.
* * *
I’ve had a lot of trouble writing my blog the past few days, although I’ve been cruising along with my juvenile fiction fantasy novel. It’s odd because normally the blog is the easy, fun thing and the novel is the thing that makes me want to pull my eyebrows out. I guess maybe it’s hard to switch from one type of writing to the other. Or, that the creative brain is hard to pin down. Something like that.
My blog today started with a few spores – I was only intending to write about mold and about how little things can grow into big annoyances if left unchecked. I was not expecting this little essay to end with talking about being lonely, although this is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately, and so I suppose it found a way to weasel its way in. I guess that’s what mold does anyway. It’s always around, floating unseen in the air. And when given a chance, it will grow and spread to unexpected places.
Well, now I’m going to go do another load of laundry and start putting my clothes in vacuum-sealed bags. Mold – be gone!