Image licensed from Unsplash, altered by Kyrie Gray

Oh, the Places You’ll Sit!

You’re an adult. You no longer give a shit. YOU are the person who will find a place to go and just sit!


Happy Holidays!
This is the season
to escape where you are
for a multitude of reasons!
You have gatherings ahead.
You have family members to greet.
You can steer yourself
away from them on your own grown-up feet.

You’re an adult. You no longer give a shit.
YOU are the person who will find a place to go and just sit!
With your head full of anxiety, and your patience low as hell,
you’re smart enough to know when it’s time to bail: you know this so well!

And you may not find any place to sit, at least not right away.
But escape is necessary from this conversational turmoil where you struggle with something to say.

Out there you can get relief for a few moments,
far from the pressure
of questions and comments,
attention you used to quite pleasure.
But now it’s so much -
the contemporary talk of family -
that you must head out the door,
“I’ll be right back,” you say casually.

You’ll be away from them then,
you’ll stare into nothing as you sit
on a chair, a curb, or a sidewalk -
you’ll just sit there for a bit.

You won’t have to be asked the questions about how work is going.
You’ll avoid advice from relatives who are increasingly all-knowing.
Wherever you sit, you’ll be away from all of that.
Wherever you go, you’ll be glad that you sat.

Except when you can’t sit in that spot,
because it’s too close to home,
and you find yourself caught.

I’m sorry to say it,
but sometimes you sit,
in a not-so-great place:
It’s not far enough away,
you haven’t made a clean split.
You’re identified by an aunt, your mom or a cousin,
who you don’t notice at first but then all of a sudden,
someone’s honking like nuts
while you’re perched on your butt.

“Hey, we’ve been looking all over for you!” And your solo time is then done.
And it’s not a surprise your heart rate re-increases
while your family member dives into one of their self-involved speeches.
You listen and nod as they pull back into the driveway.
There’s no word in edgewise, which is fine, you have nothing you want to say.

The chances are then,
the conversations will start again,
so when you get back inside.
You will immediately try to hide.
You’ll try a closet, the guest bathroom, or under grandpa’s picture in the hall,
but they’ll find you, all of them, when they gather and call
to ask if you’ve watched the news lately, and isn’t it awful,
how other countries are getting so terribly unlawful?
And what is your take on the whole climate debacle?

And IF you go to the living room, should you participate, or just listen?
If you talk, it’s so tiring, you’ll soon be out of commission.
If you stay quiet, though, you won’t be able to hold a polite face
when they discuss their kids’ schoolwork, Hollywood, and the next Senate race.

So it’s settled, the only choice is to once more get the fuck out of this place.
You’ll excuse yourself again to check something in the car.
Looking left or right, you’ll wonder how far
your legs will take you, how many miles they’ll permit
before you find another place you can get away for a quite longer bit.
And so you head for anywhere, anyhow, any part of town where you can sit.
When you go further out, and choose not to quit,
you have several spots where you say ‘There, that’s it!

The bench with the bird crap patterns at the frozen-over pond,
an upturned paint bucket behind Bitty’s Bail Bonds.
The planter outside the doctor’s office with the overgrown fronds.
On the sidewalk in front of the fancy foreign bakery that’s now gone.
On an old plastic broken chair at the never-busy Papa John’s.
In the highest tree at Stewart Park!
Behind Old Man Hutchen’s tombstone it the graveyard after dark!
The vape shop’s back alley!
At the bottom of a valley!
Under the bleachers at the alternative school!
On the little patch of grass between pumps at First Street Gas and Fuel!

Any of these are for you!
You have actually escaped, hours have passed
no one has found you, you’re free at last.
But you must stay where you are, that is quite clear,
do not move from you’re sitting, stay there for the rest of the year.

Be it your newphew, your uncle, or in-laws you’re avoiding,
or a conversation or argument you now regret joining,
the place is calling!
Your time is waiting.
You can escape it!
So…just go out there and…sit.



Liz Lydic
Jane Austen’s Wastebasket

Liz Lydic is a mom, writer, and local government employee in the Los Angeles area. She also does theatre stuff.