Pack That Ass Up

The best moving advice I ever completely rejected was that I should sell/trash all my possessions and buy new things where I landed. But I was like, look at my stuff! I refinished that coffee table and bureau, I reupholstered that chair, I made that painting! It’s been 10 long years since the collected furnishings of my life have been in the same COUNTRY. Now is the time to feather my glorious, mismatched nest. Now is the time to pack. Marvel at my latest efforts:

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fat stacks

In the dead of a winter’s night, that crap was Tetris’ed  into a 6’x7’x8′ cube for to send to Texas (IT’S GO TIME). This is a packing masterwork; the photo doesn’t begin to do it justice. You can’t see the boxes cleverly stuffed into bookshelves, or how, like a true professional, my wall art is secured between the mattresses so’s not to be broken on their journey.

Like all great art, this piece was also an outrageous pain in the ass. It wasn’t even the furniture that was the problem. It was, and try not to judge me for this, my relentless book habit. It’s been growing, unchecked, for twenty years. It’s old fashioned. It’s a waste of space. It’s heavy as balls. It’s super flammable. It’s the only thing I actually care about in the world and it has made me a very smart person that uses a lot of words to express herself.

My greatest achievement will one day be owning a library with a wheelie ladder.

I haven’t inventoried my library in years. I’ve felt too guilty about it; I know I’ve been greedy. Over time I’ve squirreled novels away in boxes of kitchen gadgets, in my underwear drawer, in purses. I have no idea where they all are anymore. And still, at the end of the day, I was able to round up eleven (11) boxes EXCLUSIVELY of books. That’s 11 boxes measuring about 2’x2’x1.5′ – that’s 6 cubic feet, 11 times. (Right? Someone check my math.) It seemed wise to let Megan know a metric ton of knowledge was about to descend on her living space. She said not to bring it all. I’m bringing it all. It fit in the cube.

Eventually Megan will escape our living arrangement and I can use her room to hoard more books. I have, after all, mastered space-saving stacking techniques. I’m prepared to be the old lady from Fahrenheit 451.

No reeeeegggggrrrrreeeeeeettttttssssss…..

Good God, someone please buy me a Kindle.

Something In The Way She Moves

It happened – I gave my boss my notice. And as guilt-inducing as that was (see here for another example of how bad I am at telling people I Quit), I survived crying in a bathroom stall and emerged on the other side, a human being about to be unemployed and on the road, sans health insurance and care. Once again I’m filled with the complete Don’t Give A Fuckitude of purest freedom. Word has got around the office.

Me everyday at work, until February 27th

The inevitable reaction by every coworker of mine to the announcement that I’m moving to Austin next month is as follows:

Response One: “Wow! So do you have a job lined up?”

Answer: Nope! Pre-move job searches are for pussies, sir.

Here we have encountered a problematic mid-American assumption. Everyone in this neck of the woods worships at the altar of Stability. Stability is not a virtue, it’s a condition and a contagion. It’s the state of having your balls removed. Symptoms include total paralysis..

Read this book and tell me you aren’t terrified of suburban malaise too

I know how much work change is, how it requires constantly deluding yourself about grass being greener and adopting an optimism you don’t normally possess. Why do I need a job before I go to that place I want to go to? I don’t! Will a gap in my resume render me unemployable, dooming me to a life of cheap prostitution and eventual death by sex crime? Sure won’t! Will moving to Austin put me closer to the music, beer, art and people I want to surround myself with? It will! Will that content me? I’m willing to roll the dice. The lure of Stability is strong, and I can’t lie and say that I never worry about careers or retirement plans or owning a pair of jeans that cost more than $20. Choosing not to do something that might, MIGHT make you happy because you don’t want to try? That’s some bullshit laziness, that is.

Response Two: Coworker looks wistfully to the sky and sighs, “Ah, well you can do that. You’re young!”

Why so many wists? For what are you wisting? You’re 35, Tim! You aren’t old, and I’m not young, and you’re not a tree, move where you want to, son! Take advantage of those god-given appendages and follow the warm gulf stream winds of your desire that whisper, “…southbysouthwest…..southbysouthwest….” in time with your heartbeat.

This whole Do Things While Your Young initiative is ridiculous, and also goes back to the stability issue. It implies that you’re making a mistake you’ll need years to financially and professionally recover from. It forgives you your ignorance, while ringing with longing. The speaker of this sentiment once came upon the same roads diverging in a yellow wood that I’m pondering now, and they, sorry they could not travel both, settled for the one that was not Interstate 35, South. No shame in that, though this route just happens to lead to beardy men, food trucks, patio day drinking and rocknroll music. Or, heaven.

Is this the last stop the Erin train will ever make? Unlikely. But it’s a new one, and that’s all I’m looking for. Quit your jobs and join me. Margaritas for everyone.

Fun Facts: North Dakota Edition

this.

When faced with uncharted territory, the savvy businesswoman must educate herself on the ways and interests of the people she will encounter, the general climate and landscape of the foreign land in question. Her travels have taught her to prepare for anything, for anything can happen…in North Dakota.

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Death Race

When I bought a car earlier this year, I was dubious. I had been without wheels for 3 years moving myself around via public transportation in Korea and Chicago. But I was in neither of those wonderlands any longer, and so I had to adapt to the way of the Midwesterner…the way of Sprawl.

I resisted. Oh did I resist. Insurance, gas, oil changes, general maintenance. What a time and money suck this beast was going to be, like a child with extra-curricular activities! Every time I contemplated this purchase, all I could think was….

Indeed, sir. But Sprawl is a motherfucker to walk around/bike through. Why the hell is everything so far apart? And why is it so cold/windy/sunny/humid? I’m a delicate flower that blossoms only in temperate weather. What I would have given for the compact, tenticlish streets of the Old World, or just one single bus that ran from tip to tail of this dumb town more than once every 2 hours.  And then I was hired, and the car became necessity. Enter:

An exact replica of my sweet ride.

That bitchin car. After the initial bank account shock, it dawned on me what I had forgotten in my years of vehicular abstinence: driving is fucking fantastic. Look at how fast I can go! Listen to my drum solo on the steering wheel! I can go anywhere at any time! It can be hot OR cold in here! Behold my absolute freedom! (Let’s save carbon footprints and natural resource dwindlings for another conversation.) I reverted with shocking speed to my 16 year old self, a newborn drunk on speed and recklessness – a sensation akin to riding a bike, drunk, down a mountainside (which I have also done). Look everybody, I can fly!

I love propulsion. I love momentum. I love combustion engines. I do not love obstacles. And every single person, animal, orange construction barrel in my path is an obstacle that must be routed. I can bring death upon you, unlucky obstruction. I’m fueled by unleaded gas and aggression.

I recognize that this is a dangerous attitude, and to be honest I don’t like being filled with murderous rage when people don’t use their blinkers. My heart is prone to flutters and stalls. But I have a commute, and a commute is actually a competition with everyone in the world to see who can make it home alive first. Everyone in Sprawl is playing, and their playing with the same insanely short-fuse that I’m playing with. The only rule: never let your guard down. There are no higher stakes than not dying in a fireball at 5pm on the interstate.

This all sounds super unsafe, I know. It probably is. But it’s the way of life here. And when your days  blur together, when your weeks become hazes of email chains, meetings, shitty sitcom episodes, election commercials, jogging on a treadmill…well you’ve got to get your thrills somewhere, right?