existential crisis on aisle 9

I wouldn’t have thought that laundry detergent was going to be the thing that would take me down; create in me that moment of panic that says, “uh oh, now you’ve gone and done it.” How could something so banal cause me to doubt the wisdom of a decision such a long time coming. Nevertheless, there’s an existential crisis on aisle 9.

I’ve been here before, and I don’t mean the crisis, although that too is true.

I know this place, Rīga, Latvia. I know the streets, I know the ways of its citizens, both Latvian and Russian. I know the weather can change in an instant, an absolute instant I tell you. I even spent 3 months here 15 years ago, teaching yoga and getting very sick. But this time it’s different, it’s not just a visit. I’ve committed to staying. I have relocated…

K. and I packed it all up on the Upper West Side.

We made piles of books that we stacked and restacked, we pushed them around trying to figure out if that “doorstop,” the short stories of Guy de Maupassant, really made sense, and would anyone ever appreciate being loaned the Dylan biography?

Dishes, dishes are really hard. Do you keep the “one offs,” the curious things you bought at the thrift store? Do you hold on to the chipped but beloved casserole dishes? The idea that you are going to ship a Le Creuset pot,

thousands of miles across the sea, so you can complain about it’s weight on the other side of the Atlantic, is dumbfounding. I have been found dumb.

Here I stand, in aisle 9, staring at bottles of laundry detergent, practically having a panic attack.

I don’t know the brands, and I can’t read the descriptions or instructions on the bottle, the ones in six different languages, in print so small I need a magnifying glass. Is this a metaphor for something, probably not, but I’m glad the feeling of confussion dissipates quickly. I grab a bottle and go, knowing that there will be many more of these “crises” to come. I’m here for it.

Back on December 11!, when I wrote “the sacred grail of youth,” I really truly had no idea I would be back in Rīga today, none. 

Here I am. The sign says “Rīga, without me, isn’t Rīga.” Brilliant branding, wishful thinking, time will tell.

I guess, dear readers, I’m back.




  • Leslie Coff says:

    guys — you MOVED THERE? You went and done it!!!!! Bravi a voi! The feelings you may or may not be starting to experience could be skirting along the edges of loss — which would be totally normal because even if you chose this there is a significant letting go happening. And yes, even when we lived in Italy a couple of years back a trip to the grocery store, the post office — even buying my train tickets could send me into a tailspin (all at the same time being the most exciting period of my life). YOU GOT THIS!

  • Brikka says:

    Congratulations and best wishes on this new phase! I’m looking forward to following your adventures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *