Adventure in the Heart of Dixie

The big news in my life at the moment is that I just moved to…wait for it…Alabama! Everything happened so quickly, and has been so consuming for the last two or three weeks, I have not had time to sit down or process, much less blog about it. But I have some down time tonight, so I thought it was time to catch up my limited readership on my life.

One day about three weeks ago, I realized I needed to make a decision about my living situation. Since being laid off in September and surviving on unemployment benefits, I got to the point where it was no longer very realistic for me to continue living in my house in Winston, paying high rent. I could have moved back to Rutherfordton to live in my grandmother’s now-empty house rent-free. But that idea didn’t really appeal to me, and the thought of feeling isolated there was seriously bringing me down. Around that same time I got four good job prospects dropped in my lap that all happened to be in Auburn. Which just also happens to be where some of my friends are.

Upon hearing this news, they said, “Why don’t you just move down here now? You’d be paying a third of what you pay now. If you get one of those jobs, awesome, and if not, you can keep looking for stuff in this area, or Atlanta.” Atlanta is only about an hour and a half away, so interviewing would be much easier, and commuting an actual possibility if a job was offered to me there. At the time of that conversation, I was dreamily saying, “Yeah, that would be great,” while refraining from seriously entertaining the notion of a move that big. A couple days  later, after thinking it over, I decided that was exactly what I would do. What I wanted to do.

Two days later I found an amazing, perfect apartment just a few blocks from campus, on Craigslist.

Two weeks after that, I had cleaned out my entire house, taken six carloads of stuff to Goodwill, disposed of 5 bags of garbage, sent my large furniture to storage, and had my car packed to the brim. One Alabama friend came up to get me and help with cleaning and last minute things, and we packed his car full as well and drove back down together last weekend. It was a ridiculously miserable trip, 8+ hours in the rain at night. What I have previously described as an easy trip was made longer by heavy, slowed cars, an inability to see out my rear-view mirror, and lack of sleep in recent weeks catching up to me on I-85 at 2:00 in the morning.

We stopped halfway for Starbucks, and I got my standard double shot, and even that was not enough to prevent me from having to slap myself awake a few times. We were trying to text each other about songs on the radio or telling jokes or proclaiming joyously each state line or landmark “checkpoint” we’d established, and eventually we both had brain meltdown and couldn’t even do that. We stopped just over the state line in Alabama at a Welcome Center to pee sometime in the middle of the night, and when I walked in, I was cheerily greeted by an old black security guard and a chipper white lady with long fingernails and big hair, with “Sweet Home Alabama” playing on the speaker system. Like I had walked into a FREAKING HOLLYWOOD MOVIE. At 3:30 am. Twilight Zone. Doo-doo-doo-doo!

So I’ve officially been in Auburn for a week now, and it’s pretty awesome. Obviously, every place has its ups and downs, and the trick is to find a place where the balance of those is one you can tolerate, where you don’t feel the scale tipping too far over on the down end. So far, I like the balance here. I also think there is something deep inside me that responds to living closer to the ocean. We’re still a couple hours away from the Gulf, but there is a feeling I like about being that close. I love water.

We still haven’t finished unpacking boxes or putting furniture together. We’re basically living out of the kitchen, bathroom, and one bedroom until we can find the time to finish unpacking everything and get organized. With my roommate’s work and school schedule this is not as easy as one might hope. His life occurs in odd increments and at crazy hours.

The first week was a bit of an adjustment period for both of us. I have lived by myself for several years, and it takes a little getting used to living with someone again. Luckily, we’re both very laid back, and it takes a lot to ruffle our feathers. I really enjoyed living alone…but I feel like I need someone watching to keep me in check on things like keeping the sink from piling with dishes or neglecting to vacuum up dog hair for a week or two too long. As an only child, I value and enjoy my alone time, and should I ever be left as the only person on earth, I am very certain I would be able to entertain myself alone just fine and not lose my mind because of the solitude.

I love spending time with other people, having great conversations with friends, and connecting with people on a personal level. But if I get out of the habit of socializing, I forget to begin again, and honestly don’t feel a lot of need for it. I can be rather guarded and hermit-y, and sometimes I think I avoid too much socializing because of how I feel when friendships change and wane, like they always do. I dislike surface-y encounters, even if it’s a surface-y encounter with a good friend, and I almost feel like it’s a waste of time to spend time talking to someone if we can’t have what I consider a “real” conversation. I really dislike the amount of “real” conversations that happen in life. I want to know what you’re thinking and feeling, and to understand your experience as a person in this world, not hear platitudes you are mindlessly vocalizing because it’s what we call “polite conversation.” So, it is definitely good for me to have someone around who socializes more easily and frequently than I, who encourages me to get out of the house and do something fun, even when I don’t feel like I need to. I need to stay in practice, because I feel more balanced when I do it regularly and also make room for my own alone time. Everything in moderation…

So thus begins my new adventure. It was time! My restless soul needed to move, and so far, so good. I never expected to end up in Alabama of all places, or to have antlers on the wall of my apartment. It is funny how life takes you places you don’t expect. I’m glad that’s one of the things I like most about living.


1 Comment

  1. grantmasterflash said,

    April 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I gots to catch up on this blog. Ch-ch-ch-changes, indeed.

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