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Posted by Tim on Jan 11, 2005
The Manayunk Anecdote

I can't believe I have to go back.

August 2003: the Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia. I've finally washed my hands of the house I'd once loved but in time grew to despise. I have a new apartment now, one all my own, on Antique Row in the dead center of the city. I spent all weekend moving the last of my stuff out and cleaning this awful place, mostly without the help of my former roommates. And the happiest thought I'd had is that I'd never have to see it again.

But now I'm going back.

When my roommates eventually showed up to help me clean the place out late Sunday afternoon, they'd told me it was "big trash day". "Big trash day" is the day you can leave couches and desks piled high with trash outside your house, and it was very fortuitous that this once-a-month occasion happened to occur the very day we had to be out of that house. So we'd left an awful lot of trash and discarded furniture in front of the place.

Only it wasn't big trash day, and the stuff is all still there. My landlord, or rather my ex-landlord, called me at work, and now Jessica and I are here, trying to figure out what to do with all the stuff. This is just the last of a series of awful events I associate with my escape from that house, the exclamation point on it all. The next thing I know, she and I are walking down the block loaded down with bags and bits of furniture, and tossing them into the dumpster next to the apartment building there. I'm miserable. I just want to be finished with this awful place.

On our seventh or so trip, we notice a group of people standing on the front porch of the building as we approach. One of them starts yelling at us, telling us that it's a private dumpster, for residents of their building only. Jessica shouts back at him, always the feisty one, and we toss in our bags and scurry back to the house. Within a half an hour, we're finally done, and drive away from that house for the very last time.

It's not a very good story. It doesn't have the shock value of the one about the outrageous behavior others exhibited the night the two of us met. It isn't a cute little anecdote like the morning we woke up to the very loud sounds of a marathon going by outside our window. It isn't something I warmly look back on nearly every day, like the time the two of us fell asleep together on the beach at Coronado, the stars above us, the ocean before us, the famous Hotel California at our backs.

This story is one I treasure for a different reason.

I treasure it for something she said then, laughing and brushing her hair back out of her face, the setting sun coloring it more bronze than blonde. "Just imagine," she said, "that all of this happened a year and a half from now, that something just like this happened during our trip. Think how much better this story would be if you were telling it, and instead of beginning 'When I lived in Philadelphia', it started 'When we were in Milan', or Bangkok, or Quito. Think how great a story it would be then."

This website is here so that we can tell those stories. It will also serve as our primary link to those we care about while we're away, and (hopefully) as a convenient resource for anyone contemplaing a similar trip. But mostly for the stories.

We hope you enjoy them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might also like these ones:

History of a Curious Code Word

History of a Curious Code Word

That Roller Coaster Feeling

That Roller Coaster Feeling

Our First House

Our First House

January 15, 2005 at 11:39pm
Hi Aunt Jessica and Uncle Tim! We love you! :)

Bye Bye!

Michael, Joey, Alicia, and Danielle

March 3, 2005 at 10:36am
Tim and Jessica,

Best wishes for a fabulous trip! I can't wait to read all about your adventures on the site.


December 27, 2005 at 11:36pm
May the stories never end!
Maggie (Tim's sister)
May 7, 2010 at 9:08am
And now the year is 2010 and you have defintely washed your hands of that old house in PA. So now when you tell your stories you can begin with yucky old Manayunk and end with beautiful Cape Cod.

I guess the universe does have a reason for making us go through hard times. It is so we can have chapters in our lives that tell us how far we have come. Tim, you have come so very far and the future is only going to get brighter for you. I love you to death my dear brother! (((hugs)))

May 10, 2010 at 6:39pm
Awww, thanks Maggie! :)

I love you to death too!


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