Seventeen days ago, I moved from Denver to Phoenix. The move was a disaster and I am shell-shocked from it. Writing is the only way I can seem to process it.
Right now, in some parallel universe, there is a free-spirited version of me who is sitting in the backyard on a sunny day with a group of close friends. She is describing the 858-mile journey as a video game she has just beaten.
In the video game version, the player and a traveling companion ride through the desert and up the mountains on a wounded donkey with a small house strapped to its back. The object of the game is to get to the destination as quickly as possible, keeping the house intact and the donkey alive, and without scaring away the traveling companion. The route unavoidably passes through territory controlled by violent, invisible First World Problem demons. The player can only see the demons when they begin attacking.
Most beginners lose the traveling companion in the first 100 miles and the donkey usually dies on top of the mountain. But Free-Spirited Me is bragging that she made it to the end with the donkey alive on a stretcher, carried by the traveling companion. The house was missing a few things at the end, but it was basically intact. The only way to beat the game is to get all three to the destination, and she did.
Free-Spirited Me loves to tell stories and she’s gotten really animated while telling this one. Everyone has been sipping wine and they’re all laughing hysterically. “You’re such a hoot!” they say. “That game sounds like so much fun!”
If I ever find Free-Spirited Me, I will ask her to write a guest post on this blog about the video game she’s imagining. And when she’s finished, I will find an empty dungeon somewhere and lure her into it with a bottle of wine. Then I will trick her into chaining herself to the dungeon wall, as if she fell out of her precious video game and landed in that cellar in The Cask of Amontillado. That will teach her to make light of my First World Problems. That will teach her to tell people that things are going well.
But today, since Free-Spirited Me is unavailable to write her side-splitting guest post, I’ve decided to begin preparing my own factual account of the move. I hope to share it over the coming days. It might take a few posts to cover all the parts that seem important to me, but since I no longer have a car, I seem to have more time to write. I hope you’ll stay tuned.
Oh, and one more thing: Before I get into the details, I really need to mention that I just got off the phone with the mechanic who has been working on my car since the end of the trip. The repair bill has been climbing for 14 days and it climbed again today. I am going to do my best to repress any undue emotionality, but I am certain it will leak out. It might read like a hint of frustration, or perhaps just a whiff of annoyance. But if you detect it, please pay it no attention. It’s actually just gripping despair—nothing a glass of wine and some video games can’t solve.