Stop Gap Living

Well. Here we are.

The adventure across [most of] the United States was a great one. We traveled Chicago to Omaha to Denver to Santa Fe to the Grand Canyon and finally, to our new apartment in Los Angeles. I wish there were more exciting stories from the road, but the truth of the matter is that the drive was completely without incident, each stop more lovely than the last (and they were all lovely), and we gawked in awe at parts of the country that neither of us had seen before. This is as good a time as any to mention that we were in the Grand Canyon for two days, and in those two days, the horrific shooting in Las Vegas happened as well as the death of Tom Petty. To be clear, these are two very different events, carrying two very different weights, things that I don’t intend to equate, but they were nonetheless being talked about on the trails by domestic and international tourists alike. I am saddened by both of them. Being at and looking upon the Grand Canyon is a surreal enough experience in the first place, but to look across the canyon (the great wide open, as it were) towards Las Vegas was both isolating and devastating. Big canyon, little me. And I was struck again with the now commonplace question of “Where were you when?” and it was hard not to feel shame and sadness over all the tragedies I can’t separate from the others, because there have just been so many. I was enjoying myself at the Grand Canyon when the Las Vegas massacre happened. We were awake and watching the live coverage because we were just next door, or so it seemed. Gun control now. Action now. Do something now. Throw your prayers into the canyon like I did and then get to work because there is a lot to be done. I am not going to apologize for the weird tonal transition that is about to happen.

Sunset at the Grand Canyon

The trip was most notably marked by all the warm welcomes we received from friends old and new. They showed us their cities and sent us off with full bellies and hearts alike. If you ever make a large-scale life change, one that involves moving away from all the things you ever found familiar, I highly recommend seeing as many people that love you along the way as possible. We felt loved! We felt refreshed! We almost decided to just live in Santa Fe and not go any farther! But farther we went and now we are here in our completely empty apartment because the delivery of all our belongings has been delayed for an unknown amount time.

I guess that detail qualifies as an “incident,” now that I really think about it.

In short, there was a clerical error, and our stuff just never left Chicago. Just didn’t leave. Was supposed to leave! Didn’t leave. So for the 6 days we were driving across the country, and making jokes like, “There’s our stuff!” every time we saw a train or tractor trailer pulling freight, we were WRONG because our stuff was not loaded onto any mode of transportation, it was just hanging out in the warehouse where we left it nearly 2 weeks ago. Upon hearing this news, Tony and I both laughed ourselves hoarse because what the fuck else can you do but put on the same clothes you’ve been wearing for days and keep moving forward. I’m not here to drag a company on the internet, especially as their HQ was hit in Hurricane Irma and we feel they likely had other priorities to tend to, so please, do not inquire. In fact, everything was really great until there was literally a mere paperwork error and they didn’t know our stuff was ready to go so they didn’t send it. (Rest assured that I will whisper the name of this company to you after I’ve had 3 sips of wine.) I should also add that the gas company can’t send anyone out to turn on our gas until the 10th, so when all is said and done, we will be sans stove for a week. We are basically squatting in our home. I eat cereal while sitting on a yoga mat (the most use it’s gotten in months, by the way) and I sigh deeply and say yes, yes, this is the LA dream I was promised.

Since arriving only days ago, we have developed an intricate system of stop gaps on which we solely survive. The yoga mat, for example, was the only place we could sit aside from kitchen counters and un-yoga matted floors. Then we treated ourselves and bought lawn chairs, a true game changer. We have no way of cooking, but when the gas gets turned on, our kitchenware will still be in transit. What does one buy to account for only a few days of meals? And beyond that, what if our stuff takes weeks to get here? Do I prepare now for the possibility of needing multiple weeks worth of items? Do I never cook again? This basic cycle of questions applies to all aspects of my life now, whether it’s carefully selecting clothes to wear or applying for health insurance. What do I need right now while keeping in mind that this need might very quickly change? What if nothing ever changes and this is our life now? We remedied most of these existential quandaries by going to IKEA.

I would like to begin by saying I had never been to an IKEA. I experienced all five stages of grief during my time at the Burbank IKEA. I denied that a place like this could or should even exist. I was angry that the flurbs and blurghs were all so boring-looking, yet so clean and geometric and undeniably mod. I bargained with a higher power, dedicating my life to better furniture-buying research if I only made it out of there unscathed. I was depressed at the prospect of falling prey to its powers. I accepted that I am basic.

“More jorgenflürbs!” I exclaimed, riding the cart like a Razor scooter down aisle 13 toward bin 20. “More flürbenjorgs for all!”

We selected some sensible items (and of course some not-so-sensible items) in an attempt to bring a kind of normalcy and familiarity back into our lives. I guess that’s why we bought so many pillows. I can’t claim that I fully “get” the appeal of IKEA, though I certainly get it for now. “For now” is the name of the game, but only for now. I feel just prepared enough, which is more than you can hope for sometimes. Putting together a kitchen table and chairs also gave us something to do and something to sit on.

In my last post I said “I don’t believe in luck, I only believe in myself.” I still mostly maintain that motto, though I do want to note that I acknowledge how privilege factors into my life and it’s easy for me to just, like, blindly believe in myself. I believe in myself and I also believe in my ability to be flexible. I believe in making sandwiches because you don’t need a stove to cook those. I believe in action and changing all that has become normalized “for now.”I believe in flurgenglürgs. I believe that every last one of our belongings will make it to Los Angeles and that moving will be complete and living here can really begin.