Joan Didion reminds us that sometimes it’s better to get the hell out of there: Goodbye to All That. This essay reminds me of a lot of things…. being 19 in New York, totally out of my element, walking home from work…. My strongest memories are of the sidewalk itself. I must’ve done a lot of looking down. I remember my new trendy sneakers, how my ankles looked in my new flared gray pants, how the curb looked when I stepped off it to avoid the crush of people or to hail a cab. I remember the hoods of cabs lunging toward me as they turned left, and I remember watching peoples’ ankles as they stepped out of cabs. I remember how the sidewalk looked after a good rain — not just wet but filmy, as though coated in a thin layer of liquid laundry detergent.

The essay also reminds me that I consider myself a minimalist in terms of living arrangements…. I haven’t unpacked boxes from when I moved here, have only hung up two posters, and in short never tried to make it feel like home. I’m the same way with food — I just buy the same items every time that I know I need, instead of building any kind of base of groceries for mix-and-match recipes. I always thought this trait was a good thing. I’m frugal! I can do with very little! But maybe part of the reason is that I just want to disappear, be a non-factor, a skinny shadow that isn’t bold enough to impose her presence on the world.

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