Monday, March 21, 2005

Breaking the Waves

So, it's been a while since my last post on here. Actually, it's been two weeks to the day since I posted anything here. That shouldn't be surprising, though, for anyone who knows what's been going on with my life lately. For anyone unfamiliar, the last two weeks have consisted of packing, planning, and moving to Austin. That's right; Austin, Texas. I'm here now, my third day here, and I must say it's been quite a trip. I'm enjoying myself here, looking for a job of course, but all in all things are looking well. But there's always the setbacks. Let's go through the chronicle of my cross-country journey, shall we?

First, we'll start back with the beginning. Why Austin? There's the question I've heard repeated by friends, family, etc., over the last few weeks, so I suppose that's as good a place as any to start. You all know that I wasn't happy living in the Northeast -- no sun, lots of snow, plenty of grey, and too much depression. Though I had my friends and family, who I care about immensely, I did not have the surroundings I felt were necessary for me to -- excuse the cliche -- blossom. And so I searched, looked, scoured through the options. Job markets, growth rate, culture, music, nightlife... climate. I considered these things, considered the options, and settled with Austin.

I have a friend in Richmond, a great woman who I recently came back into contact with, who opened up to me despite the years seperating our last contact, and for a while I thought of Richmond as an option. She offered cheap housing, comfort and friendship, and a relatively nice climate and atmosphere in which to live. All in all, it was a difficult offer to pass up. Perhaps I will regret it in the future. I wish her the best of luck; she's strong, I know she'll do well with life, I only hope that we keep in contact after having been seperated so long.

I thought of Florida; another friend is there, she loves it, and perhaps it would be amicable for me. Again, climate and atmosphere were suitable, things could have gone quite well. But again, something held me back. Something prevented me from venturing that direction.

I began to look further west; Phoenix, Austin, Sacramento, Denver. I considered the options. I researched the climate. I researched job markets. I did what I could to get to know places I have never been before and would likely never see until my eventual arrival at a pre-arranged apartment. I ended up choosing Austin. It seemed to be the best option, and so the decision was made.

Soon after, two friends of mine were signed on board to become part of the journey. One of them I knew from Pittsburgh, another from Athens. In less than a week, my solo trip had grown to encompass a small entourage. Things were looking up. But the friend from Pittsburgh was uncertain, so plans were made for two people instead. Were she to choose to join us, room would be made available. If not, we would not be stuck with an extra bedroom (and the corresponding extra rent) with no tenant to help. Plans continued.

My friend from Athens looked to purchase a vehicle before departure; this eventually fell through. I attempted to arrange the rental of a trailer from U-Haul, and was subsequently told that an SUV woth a convertible top, such as my Tracker, could not rent a trailer under U-Haul policy. This was the day before scheduled departure. I cut back on my packing, and made room for Stacey's things. Later that evening, she called to tell me that her mother would allow her to take her Taurus instead, so packing would be easier. Dinner with parents and grandmother followed, and upon arrival at home, a message from Stacey on the answering machine. Turns out her mother wouldn't let her leave with the Taurus for another two weeks. I packed the rest of my things, or what I could fit, into my car, and made ready for the long journey.

The next night was spent in Pittsburgh, visiting friends, or at least those I could find the time to see in the little space allotted. Things went well. I saw Will, whom I hadn't seen since the preceding Spring, and enjoyed conversation and dinner with him. I saw George, I saw Jasmine, I saw Rachel, I even saw Julian for a short period of time. Things were well. I was undaunted.

Waking early the next morning, after being unable to sleep the night before, I headed out on the road with three hours' sleep under my belt. The journey ahead was to take over five times that length. I was happy. I was undaunted. I was a god amongst men.

I drove. And drove. And drove. I stopped for gas, then got back in the car and drove more. I left Pittsburgh at 7:30am, and arrived in White Hall, Arkansas 16 hours later. It would've been fifteen, but I stopped once in Tennessee to attempt to coordinate things with Melissa, to get some food, and to let my car cool down. More the first than the latter two, but they provided reasons to extend my stay at the truck stop. Then I drove again, another 5 hours. Cake after the previous 10+ hours of nearly non-stop driving.

Thursday was a day of rest. Melissa and I hung out all day, and I was comfortable and happy. It had been a year and a half since last I'd seen her -- and that last visit had amounted to only 20-some hours after five years apart. It was good. I was happy. Then I left.

I drove, and drove, and drove. I left White Hall at about 7:15am Friday morning, and arrived here in Austin about 4:45pm. It should've taken at least two hours less, but construction in Dallas held me up for over an hour and a half, and traffic in Austin held me up another half. Traffic between the two was slowed as well, it seemed like rush hour traffic for the whole three hour drive; it was hard to get much over 75 on a 70mph road, and that was when I was lucky. for the most part, 70-72 was the norm, sometimes slower.

So I arrived here, moved into my new apartment... unpacking took less than one and one half hours, even with walking up three flights of stairs on each trip. It's amazing how much more quickly you unpack when you have so little stuff with you.

Now I'm settled in. My furniture consists of a shelving unit (thank you freecycle!), a matching coffee table and end table set (thank you35 bucks and craigslist!) and my computer chair. Oh, and two airbeds.

Stacey won't be coming down now. I won't say why, because it's intensely personal, so if you really want to know you'd be better off asking her. Suffice to say I hold no grudge against her; there's no way I could and still be a human being. These things happen. Life goes on. There's a girl coming tomorrow to look at the apartment, she's flying into Austin and has a hotel room for the first six days because she doesn't have an apartment setup. She seems nice, hopefully she'll want to move in. It'd be good to not have to pay all of this rent myself.

Apparently Representative Dukes, of the Texas State House, may have an opening soon in her office; this according to Dr. Stanley, her Legislative Director, who I've been in contact with. Could this mean a job for me? I sure hope so. That's part of why I came here, after all -- politics in Austin is like nowhere else outside D.C., so I'm told, and I can't quite give up my soul to the Beltway yet, so this seems like a reasonable starting point. Maybe I'll see Tom Delay around and can give him a kick in the junk for everyone. Let me know if you want to be put on the "kick Tom Delay in the junk" list.

Well, that's it for now. This is pretty long, and while I normally try to write more thoughtful things in here, that'll wait for the next update, to come soon.

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