Moving cross country is a very singular experience. Typically there are two paths that one can take. They can choose to pack up everything they have and find a way to get it to their new destination. Generally this plan takes a good amount of money for moving trucks and moving companies and the like. The second path is to get rid of everything, pack light, and travel fast. This is the much cheaper option with the only negative being that you have very little when you get to your destination. I have chosen the latter. In fact, as I am typing this, I am actually lying on living room carpet in a very empty San Diego apartment. The true severity of my situation dawned on me the moment I realized that I could throw out my furniture cleaning spray, because there was no furniture left to clean.
This was not a sad moment however, but in fact it was a moment of pride. A flat out triumph of the human spirit. You see, I sold all of my furniture on craigslist. Now some of you may use craigslist in Ann Arbor and it might very helpful and user friendly. Craigslist in Southern California is a whole other animal. Southern Californians invented the word “flake.” It is used to mean a great many things, but it’s most commonly used when somebody says they are going to do something and then fall through on it. And for that matter craigslist might as well be renamed Flakelist, because for every 5 people who say they are going to come look at something you are selling, 1 will actually show up. This gets so old after the first week that you find yourself wishing you were waiting for the cable guy instead. In addition to the rampant no-shows, there is all the Southern California love of the barter system. I have been offered everything from free ice cream to free tattoos, to a bunch of other stuff I can’t name in this blog, for my furniture. And as great as all those items are, none of them are going to fill my gas tank or buy me new furniture in A2. So, no creepy old guy from Ocean Beach, I don’t want your favorite bong. I don’t care if Willie Nelson once smoked it with you. In addition to the frustration factor of craigslist, there is also the sketchy danger element. Luckily these people aren’t very subtle. “You want to buy my TV without seeing it? Great! When will you be by to pick it up? Oh, my place is out of the way for you and you want to meet behind a random supermarket at night?” Yeah, no, I’m good. Have fun robbing someone else. But despite all the flakes, traders, and criminals, somehow I have managed to successfully sell all my furniture and render my furniture polish useless. That was the goal all along, and I have accomplished it. Take that, Craigslist!!! You can’t beat me!!!
At this moment I do have to add a sad memoriam. In addition to my furniture I also sold my surfboard. It’s truly hard to explain, but for anyone that has ever surfed or owned a surfboard, selling your board is a heart-wrenching experience. It’s not unlike giving up a child for adoption. You just want to see it go to a good home, where it will be taken care of, and enjoy its life. If this was paper I was writing on, there would be tear drops. My board went to a good home and for that I am happy. I know there will be those who say that I should have kept my board because people surf Lake Michigan all the time. Yeah, I’ve seen those videos, and that’s not surfing. That’s wearing a deep sea diving wet suit and praying you don’t turn into a popsicle.
Another oddity of moving cross country is the ridiculously bad information you get from people. I believe this probably happens everywhere. When I first moved to California from New Jersey my family was convinced that as soon as I crossed into California I would get caught in a wildfire, that would force me into a mudslide, that would wash me up in an inner city riot, that would end in an earthquake, which would suck me underground, until I ended up in Mexico being beheaded by a drug cartel. Surprisingly, none of that happened.
So what have the San Diegans had to say about A2 so far?
“It’s the middle of nowhere! There’s nothing to do!” Really, because last time I checked it’s a city of 100 thousand with lots of street fairs, festivals, and farmers markets and it sits right in between Chicago and Detroit.
“Don’t go to Detroit, you’ll die!” Come on, seriously people. Yes it has a crime problem, as does Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and every other large city. I also heard that Greektown has some amazing restaurants, and that Lions and Tigers games are a great time.
“They don’t have any vegetarian food out there. It’s all animal carcass!!” First, I’m not a vegetarian so I don’t care, but it’s still not true. There’s a ton of restaurants in A2 and most of them had vegan options when I was there.
“You won’t be able to find any good cheese there!!” Really?!?! No, really?!?! Do you know where cheese comes from my little So-Cal friend? That doesn’t even make any sense, so I can’t possibly reply to it.
“You’ll never find good Mexican food!” Ehhh… okay, they may be right on this one. I’m honestly not hopeful. But I know they’ll have good cheese dammit!!!
“The winters are like a second ice age. You can’t leave your house in the winter!” So what you’re telling me is that the entire population of Ann Arbor stays indoors for all of winter? Have you ever heard of winter clothes? Now, to their defense, the people of San Diego truly have no clue what winter clothes are. The closest thing they have to winter clothes is what they wear when they go skiing. The fact that people in other parts of the country have separate lines of clothes for summer and winter is completely lost on them.
So what have the people of San Diego taught us? Apparently, as soon as I cross into Michigan I will be engulfed in a snowstorm, get shot in Detroit, then have to seek the shelter of a log cabin, where I will be forced to feed off raw animal meat that I had to kill with my bare hands, and eat it with substandard cheese. Why do people get weird about big moves?
Anyway, my cross country trip starts soon*, and I be will taking the southern route through Flagstaff, AZ/ Amarillo, TX/ St Louis, MO/ and then finally A2. I will truly be testing the power of my little put-put Honda Civic, and its storage capacity. Wish me luck. And to all those of you who are taking the long road trip also, good luck and safe travels.
*Update: Mike has arrived in Michigan safely and is now buried under a mass of unassembled IKEA furniture. Yet again, wish him luck. He needs it.