Hands. One, fingers gently curled around the steering wheel. Two, wrapped around a beige coffee mug, relaxed, the elbow underneath resting on the center arm rest. Leaning, unconsciously, towards three, resting on a thigh, mindless. Four, clutching, jostling a children’s toy, the attached arm outstretched behind him towards five, clenched into a ball, and six, reaching, fingers open, towards the toy. Six hands, warm, inside their own contained world. In their own shielded metallic bubble. Protected, from the crisp cold air and and visible puffs of car exhaust outside.
I’ve been wanting to write about the adventure that has been my life for the past month or so, but I have found that every time I think about it, I feel that my words will be inadequate. Despite this, I need to make at least a small effort, for record’s sake, so that in 60 years when I’m old and my blog is the only written record I have of my life I’ll be able to read it and really remember. Because life is moving so fast and changing so dramatically, it almost feels unreal that I am where I am.
At the very end of October I accepted a new job in Seattle, Washington. It was offered to me earlier in the month but I wanted to go visit to make sure, seeing as how I’d never been there and I’d be moving thousands of miles away from nearly everyone I knew and loved. I came out, saw some sights, and thought, “good enough, I’m doing this.” I had a few reservations, since it’s hard to get a good feel for a place in only a few days, a cross country move is a huge deal, and I had just met a great gal in Indy (Rachel) that I was (am) very fond of.
Because of my initial postponement of accepting the job, I was suddenly on a very fast timescale to put in my two weeks at work and set everything up for my move in time to make it to Seattle for my December 2nd start date. It seems like a month is a long time to get everything in order, but it was probably the most stressful month of my life and I didn’t feel like I could relax until this week. Let me say, it feels really good to have some down time again.
So I put in my two weeks at work, which was really weird and exciting and scary, and slowly but surely chipped away at everything I had to do. I threw away or gave away anything that wasn’t totally essential or small and compact. I dumpstered some really great furniture I had acquired. Everything I owned I fit in 5 feet of trailer space that I rented from a freight company. I sublet my apartment and got ready for the 2500 mile trip.
The Friday before I left (I left on a Wednesday) I had a going away party. It was a bonfire/warm fall drinks party and an array of my friends were there. They were all from kind of different groups, so I was really interested to see how they all interacted, because you never really know, and since I knew everyone there fairly well it was a joy to watch the party unfold. Everyone got along famously and it really made me feel so happy and so sad all at the same time to be around all these people, all these people I really like, in the only situation that would get them all together in one place. It was beautiful. Rachel and I ran the beer pong table, went undefeated, and the party ended when Jake (who hosted) got too drunk and pulled me aside, glaring at me with drunk eyes, saying “GET THEM OUT.” I started clearing the party out, but not fast enough for Jake, so he started threatening everyone with an imaginary shotgun and that was that.
My parents came in the next day and it was nice to get some time with them before being so far away. Rachel came to dinner with us, and the night ended with the four of us in a hipster dive bar playing scrabble. Another beautiful night.
Before I knew it, it was time to leave. Wednesday morning I put Indianapolis in the rear view mirror and drove up to Chicago to pick up Bryan, who had offered to make the trip with me. The drive out west was indescribably beautiful. Words would sell it short. I tried to take photographs, but I would look at them after I took them and they were so incredibly inadequate that I mostly just stopped taking them. I found it was better just to enjoy it, just to take it all in and enjoy the moments and the sights. The second day we went to the Badlands in South Dakota ( I HIGHLY recommend going there. Absolutely stunning and incredible. Reminded me of what I felt when I saw the grand canyon when I was younger. I even got up close and personal with a long-horned sheep) and Mount Rushmore at sunset. The third day was the most beautiful, and I doubt I will ever see scenery as breathtaking as I did coming through Wyoming. That night, due to some bad advice, we ended up…stranded? Stuck? In the middle of nowhere in Wyoming about 15 miles east of Yellowstone, which we were trying to go see. We never saw it. We got incredibly lucky and stayed in a cabin at an outpost. Bryan and I had dinner and beer with some locals and went to bed super early, because, well, there was nothing to do out there. No phones, no internet, no nothing. The most silent silence I have ever experienced. That night, under the advice of one of the locals, I got up at 2am to look at the stars. The moon overpowered the stars that were supposed to be incredible, but on my way back into the cabin I heard what was unmistakably the howl of a wolf. I stood there for some time as the howling continued, between several wolves. Sometimes it would sound closer. But it was one of the most haunting noises I have ever heard. And now, as I try to recall what it sounded like, I cannot. It was unlike anything else.
The next day I drove hard (12 hrs) and we ended up in Spokane, then we had a 4 hour shot to Seattle the next day. Despite a total of 36 hours in the car over 4 days, I wish we could have spent more time, seen more. It was such an amazing experience. Despite 36 hours in the car, I never once felt bored or tired of driving.
When we got there we hit the ground running. Bryan helped me walk the neighborhoods to find an apartment, and I did, the second day I was here.
I have been here about a week and a half now, and the more I explore, the more I am here, the more I think this was absolutely the right thing for me to do. I am so excited at the opportunities, and most importantly, the food! I am living in a studio apartment with no dishwasher and no garbage disposal that costs far more than what I had in Indy, but it feels right.
My new years resolution this year was to take risks. Mission accomplished.