And Away They Go
I'm sitting low on the porch, below the freshly painted railing. May has dawned with the heat of deepest August and between the bars I can see the waves shimmering off the new asphalt. The sky is an unreasonable blue, devoid of the usual dusty smog. The desert air is still, resting against the craggy hills that rise behind the tract to form the valley. I've got a rental truck full of possessions, my life encased in vibrant yellow, but I leave them for now. I need to relax. It's a stressful trip to the desert, especially behind the wheel of a lumbering, $70-a-day vehicle. I'm savoring the journey, my hair matted by sweat, my shirt discarded and an ice-cold Bud Light to my lips.
I've lived a lot of lives in a lot of different places. Moving has always seemed like re-birth. Whether running toward something and sprinting away from another, there's always been a siren's song in a whitewashed room, a shampooed carpet. I've got a system by now, ritualistic packing and unpacking honed by years of my own travels, as well as the assistance of others. It's transitory this life, sense of place and well-being always changing. I always find promise in creating a new home. Even my old furniture springs into bloom in a different setting.
My buddies are on their way to help, which makes sense. We've moved each other, lent a hand to mutual acquaintances and even lived together. I guess this is kind of the end of a cycle, this suburban outpost no longer within the confines of Los Angeles County, where we've all lived for better than a decade, in a few dozen different places, of course. That's one of the things about LA. You can move 10 miles and feel like you're in a different world. The hugeness of the area lends itself to finding little pockets of existence, in a nearby restaurant, a neighborhood pub. Nobody could investigate it all. But a simple change of address opens up a whole new pocket.
I've moved much more than 10 miles, however. This is tract home living, the American Dream. I won't find a 24-hour taco stand out here, not among the chain stores and tile roofs. Then again, at 36 years old, I'm less inclined to go prowling for a carne asada burrito at 4 a.m.
The house itself is too big, too impossibly clean to believe. I almost don't want to step foot inside. That first nick in the drywall will wound like a sharp jab. She's a virgin this house and demands a soft touch. I need to have a talk with the boys, with their elbows and the angles of the furniture and the narrow staircase. I want this to last, this perfect space. Maybe I'd better stop at just one beer.
I'll give you the rest in a month. Who knows, that might be it. But at least I got an early start.