Tagged Asheville

Moving and not moving

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So it goes.

A and I packed up our shit, piled into our friends’ car and hit the road for Asheville last Thursday morning. Doped up on Dramamine and too little sleep, my heart was fluttering and flying. Despite the excitement, I fell asleep over and over again in A’s lap, waking to a new state each time I opened my eyes. I felt like I was small again, curled up in the backseat completely dependent on the grown ups manning the ship. You know. I wasn’t worried about the music choice, taking the wrong exit, weather conditions, traffic… just at peace, swaying to the hum of the tires rounding below.

We were moving to Asheville. I did it all. I talked to my workplace. That was step one. A scary step one that seemed to go over well. Relief.

Then, I started mentally preparing myself. When I woke up in the mornings, I began to log all that I would say goodbye to soon. Goodbye, room. Goodbye, cat. Goodbye, mornings stumbling out of the house and to the gym. Goodbye, Oakland Avenue. I got myself pretty sad just by doing it. But it needed to be done. Preparation. A lot of things that make you sad need to be done. True story.

Next, I told my friends. Most everyone close to me (and even those in my periphery) probably know how I long to move, leave this dot on the map. It’s not because I hate everyone or that I have fallen out of love with my buddies or even that I don’t enjoy where I am. It’s mostly because the world is so large, so full, and we all get stuck in these little grooves. I want to unstick myself. I want to explore a little, gain some experience points. Everyone I know has moved or left, left and come back, picked up and never returned to their home base. I just want that freedom, even if for a little while. I don’t think my declaration was much of a surprise to anyone, really. Maybe only in that I was serious this time. I was taking all the right steps. Hell, I even threw up an elusive Instagram photo that seemed to trigger an online hullabaloo of goodbyes I wasn’t equipped for. Damn.

I saved this part for last, because it was what I dreaded most: I told my mom. Sure, it was a flighty text message. Of course, she misunderstood it the first time and I had to retell her days later. You bet I used plenty of good emojis and made sure to keep things light. It’s all I know how to do. But all was well. I was a grown up, doing grown up things, about to thrust myself into a new world. Good, grown up.

But then the actual trip came. A and I planned to scope out neighborhoods, look up places to live (which we’d already been doing on Craigslist). We started our journey jazzed up, ready to take on the Asheville rental community. But this gusto quickly fizzled. The prices were high, the waitlists were long, the competition was nearly impossible.

“Yeah, we put something up on Craigslist and get about 14 calls in the first hour. It’s hard to keep up with,” a prospective landlord divulged.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no dumb-bum. I know a salesperson when I see one, but this was the story from everyone we spoke with—from property management companies to Asheville newcomers to old-head Asheville folk. It is competitive.

“About 1 in every 10 people that come to see my places,” another prospective landlord estimated, “is actually from North Carolina. The rest are from out of state. Everyone wants to move here!”

Ok, so it’s difficult. I know difficult. I work so hard. I am not afraid of work. But it wasn’t the work that had us waving our white flag. We made posters, hung them up in coffeeshops. We made calls, met up with people. Drove around looking for lawn signs (not an Asheville thing, by the way). We went out of our way to converse with strangers in grocery stores, in restaurants, on the streets. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s networking. Because why not? I’m always willing to help someone out. That’s how the world works. We’re here for each other.

So why no move? It was that the magic that seemed lost. Maybe it was the hustle and bustle of competition, the way a prize is hyped up to be more than it is. Sure, the mountains are beautiful, the hippie liberal swag of the city, the artist vibe of every indie shop, the temperate weather and influx of sunshine… it’s a great place, it really is. And everyone knows it. Jobs are scarce, housing is rare and overpriced, every corner we turned (both literally and figuratively) seemed flooded. Asheville is the trend and we were hopping on board—but perhaps too late. Maybe it was that we both got our periods and were overwhelmed with hormones and paranoia and doubt. Is it worth it? Giving up our friends and home and connections and A’s career. Loads of questions and in it unfamiliarity.

I’m not saying it won’t happen ever, that I won’t ever unstick myself from this groove. But maybe it’s not the worst groove to be stuck in, you know? And before jumping ship, I want to make sure I’m diving into the right sea. It might not be Asheville. It might not be now. And as embarrassed as I am to redact my former verdict of leaving, I’m glad that we discovered this before it was too late.

Now we’re looking in Pittsburgh, Regent Square being a hopeful possibility.

And to be honest, I’m eager to throw myself into Pittsburgh: a place I already know and love and court on the weekends like some fulfilling affair. Hey, I’m excited again, feeling rejuvenated, thinking about all the lovely, lovely people I’ve gotten to know there. The writers, the Biddle’s crew, the Bayardstown folk… if you’ll have me. <3

So the bottom line? Appreciate the now, where you are, the present dance. It’s a hymn I’ve sung to many, even lately. But one that I struggle with myself.

I accept the challenge.
mt

PISSPOT

FrostyBlues

Fuck it. I bought a Frosty.

I wanted to celebrate the last few weeks of hell, the end of a painful semester, the triumph of telling the world HEY, I’M MOVING TO ANOTHER STATE and having that declaration hold me accountable.

I wanted to celebrate, but I also didn’t want to put pants on.

Wait. So I had pants on, but sweatpants. And as much as I wish I could be one of those people jauntily strolling into the grocery in my sagging boy sweatpants, I just can’t do it. So I settled for a drive-thru run at 9 p.m., a little self-celebration. I’m both shitting my pants and reeling with excitement. I think the two go hand-in-hand.

Also, why the hell are Frostys so damn drippy?

What’s worse is I decided the only way I could squitch another ounce of work out of my body was if I gave myself an end treat. Not just the Frosty, but I downloaded a ROM for my computer to talk myself into relaxing after my work was done. Pokémon Blue. Get out of town! I felt like I was 13 again, swaggin’ about the Viridian Forest with my Pokédex and 3 super undertrained pocket monsters. Whatever. I spent the last hour holed up in front of my 27″ iMac—an ingenious tool pumped up with supersonic speed processing and a brilliant retina screen to play a pixelated and anticlimactic videogame from the 90’s. This is what life has come to. (I also named rival Ash, “PISSPOT,” which had me in inevitable hysterics every time he popped up for a battle.)

To better paint the scene, ENTER a burning Yankee Christmas Tree candle and drippy Frosty lid making a mess of me. What is this?

Why am I telling you all of this? I don’t know. Because it’s nearly midnight, I’m to be up in a few hours for an adventure to Asheville, NC (future dwelling locale), with some amazing people and I’m fucking giddy. And I just did about one month’s worth of work for both jobs in like one week.

But this week held some heart gushers and it made me realize why I do what I do, which nudge of the Universe to let guide me. In the meantime, I’m going to ignore the raging guilt of having eaten a Frosty and spending an hour playing Pokémon.

Right.

 

<3

mt

Summa-summa-time & a visit to the supposed city of my dreams

Hey y’all…

Yep. Being in the south for a week definitely does something to one’s dialect. I mean, it’s not like I’m really toting some raspy drawl or anything, but there have been some slipups. Don’t worry: I came home and said “hey yinz guys” in front of the mirror like 147 times to make sure.

The week-long jaunt to and from Asheville was a much needed vacation. I still did work and fretted over such things as emails and edits, but I think the fresh air and the new surroundings did me good. It’s amazing how gorgeous those mountains are, and how they followed your every move: pumping gas, standing outside for a smoke, walking around town, everywhere. It was kind of like having a sky in your pockets. Or something like that. (I realized upon coming home that we have all those gorgeous mountains, just smaller.)

We ate BBQ, wrote postcards and walked around town (we stayed in Black Mountain), enjoying most of all, the people. What is it that makes us so frustrated, uptight and intolerant? We are so rushed and quick to move onto the next thing. What about right now? Time crept more slowly there and my eyes weren’t fixed to my phone’s clock.

What can I say? Asheville was everything I thought it would be.