I’m in Portland. It’s cold enough to freeze puddles. Why did no one think to talk me out of this? Water freezes here! What the hell? Does NO ONE care about me?
The drive was a breeze. Traffic was great, the scenery was anywhere from mildly interesting to absolutely breathtaking. On the final descent off the Grapevine, the central valley opens up into such a vast, flat layer that you could easily think you are seeing the ocean. Even the straight, flat drive through farm country is interesting, just because it’s different. I was happy to be reminded that California is huge. The loud, self-important coast, while being the center of the universe, is just a tiny fraction of the state.
Hours of driving are a sort of enforced meditation, especially while driving alone, and extra-especially when you are on the road to destiny unknown. There are a million details to consider since I have been planning this move. Some are smaller: “Remember to send thank-you cards,” to somewhat larger: “Remember to get a job.” These details form a bleeding cacophony, enough to induce white-knuckle panic episodes. And all the more so for me, being anxiety prone to begin with. It’s not uncommon for my regular anxiety to wake in a panic, thinking: “I’m not watering my plants enough!” or “I forgot to floss!”
So the miles of driving, unhurried at 80 miles an hour, along the remote backbone of the west coast, induced much-needed processing time. For a while, it felt as though it still wasn’t really happening, even as the asphalt rolled under the tires. As I was leaving behind familiar places, I thought about all the goodbyes. And the solitude settled in. And then the tears came, and the nose blowing started. And the cat yowled his displeasure in the passenger seat.
I’m here now. It feels real. Cold, sharp, awake.
I’m in a skuzzy Motel 6 for now while I look for an apartment. Thankfully, I had a sleeping bag in one of boxes that came in from Hawaii. With as little handling as possible, I peeled back the bedspread and blankets and threw my sleeping bag on top. I’d rather have my own sleeping bag, with all the un-aired camping dirt and the remnants of my own un-showered-ness than sheets at Motel 6.
The hotel does not have wireless, so I’m looking for apartments at a coffee shop. Driving around to see neighborhoods. Making calls. In a best-case scenario, I’ll have a place in the next couple of days. Then I’ll concentrate on employment.
Thanks to all who have supported me through this adventure. I truly owe my success to you.
And if I fail, I’ll blame that on you too.