Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Turkey Has Landed


I really, really, REALLY am so very sorry that it's been so long since my last post. As most of my readers (all five of you) know, I up and packed my Jeep and moved 3000 miles west, in an extremely short span of time. Every time I thought of writing an entry, something else came up and I never did get round to it. Plus, it's time consuming setting up house and getting a job. Who knew?

All right, so...details.

Back in late February, I was reminiscing to a friend of mine about when I lived in Arizona. We got to talking about it in depth, and I found myself feeling quite homesick for the desert--as I often did on occasion when I thought of the time I lived here. I'd been missing it for a few years, and always figured, well, one day we'll look at going back.

Anyway, on impulse, I pulled out my laptop and logged on to check airline prices--just for shits and giggles. Whaddaya know, there was a rock-bottom, once-in-a-blue-moon round trip ticket available for $300. I don't know what came over me, but I forthwith pulled my virgin Visa card out and booked the ticket right then and there. Something told me that it was the right thing to do. Didn't understand it then. Still don't quite understand it now, but as it turned out, I'm glad I listened.

Flash forward to March 3, and I'm on the airplane, zooming at 30,000 feet in a pressurized tube with 145 other passengers and praying to God I don't get someone's cold before touching down in Tucson. The food is bad enough; getting sick would just have been kicking me when I was down.

To make a long story short, I loved every minute of my two weeks in Arizona, which I labeled a vacation/job scout to justify my gleeful cavorting in the Southern Desert. Almost immediately I knew I didn't want to live in Tucson again; it's gotten waaayyy too big for my taste--they hit a population of 1.4 million about two years ago, and the city is enormous. Much more so than when I lived there before. Too much crime, too many people, too many traffic accidents where people die. Uh-uh.

I've been visiting Tombstone since I was ten and first came out here to visit my grandfather during summers. You may have heard of Tombstone. It was 125 years ago that eight or nine guys went at each other with guns and rifles behind a corral, and thus immortalized the town as the epitome of the "Wild West". Earps and Clantons...some such fellows. Three men died in the shootout and found their eternal rest over in Boothill Cemetery, while the others went on to achieve either ignominious deaths or an insane level of fame. I'll tell y'all about that stuff later.

But yes, I live less than a block from the famous OK Corral, and work right across the street from it.

I'm getting ahead of myself. That's what happens when you don't post in a while; all your darks and colors get thrown in the wash together. Forget separating. Anyway, I chose to come back and live here. I had no firm job offer, really--unless you count the fact that my friend Sherri said I could work at her restaurant when I got back. Which at least was money coming in while I looked for full-time employment. But again, somehow I knew it would work out. So I flew back home to New Hampshire and began packing immediately.

Whatever I could squeeze into my Jeep I kept. Everything else got sold or given away in one weekend during my moving out sale. We all say it, but it's still astounding to realize how much we accumulate in a relatively short time. I couldn't believe how much stuff I had. I mean, I'm only one woman. When I first came to New Hampshire from West Virginia (via Los Angeles), I had nothing but my clothes, a television set, and my computer. That was about it. Now, five or so years later, I was divesting myself of possessions that could have supported a small Puerto Rican family.

After packing the Jeep and closing up my apartment, I spent a few days with my sister before finally heading out in the early morning of April 6. I won't bore everyone with the travelogue; suffice it to say that I have seen the heartland, and it was beautiful, but there was too much of it.

Ohio, the state in which I was actually born, was cold and unpredictably snowy, what with the Lake Effect. One minute I could see perfectly where I was going, then the next, a complete white-out. Indiana and Illinios had a lot of corn. Miles of corn. So much corn that I literally got on my cell phone to friends and family and begged them to chat with me for a few minutes to save me from the boredom.

I saw more cows than I hope ever to see again in my lifetime. They're all in Oklahoma. If the cows decided to band together and have a rebellion, they'd win that state in no time flat. Mind-boggling. Hereford, Texas, was the only place that may have had more cows, but it was hard to tell, since the Herefords were packed like sardines into huge pens. I thought it was wood before I got a closer look. I was so appalled at the conditions the poor things had to live in that I averted my eyes for the rest of the trip through that town.

Missouri was cool. I got to see the famous St. Louis arch, and even got pictures of it on my cell phone--at great peril and risk to life and limb. I haven't figured out how to transfer them to my computer, or I'd show them to you. Maybe one day soon that'll happen. My spirits lifted when I saw it, though--knowing I was officially at "The Gateway to the West" did wonders for my morale.

Roswell, New Mexico was bigger than I thought it would be. Also more normal. I didn't see a single alien, unless you count the ones that slid across the border of Mexico illegally. Very disappointing, actually. Maybe the outer space aliens have a condo community just outside of town, complete with enclosures and a gate guard.

White Sands, New Mexico was annoying. It went on forever and was populated with brainy NASA employees who have better Wal-Marts than the rest of us. Johnson Space Center's parking lot is bigger than Yankee Stadium. Too many people with too many expensive cars. But the sand was pretty.

When I crossed the state line into Arizona, I let out a triumphant, exultant whoop. If anyone had been able to see or hear me, I'm sure they'd have pegged me as a lunatic. But three days of driving will do that to you. The moment I saw my beloved Dragoon Mountains in the distance, my entire body relaxed, and I knew I was twenty minutes from home.

I pulled into the carport of my "new" house at 11:34 am on April 9. Three and a half days and 2,675 miles after I had started out. And my Jeep was still in fine form. The first thing I did was go and get something to eat, since I was starving. Called everyone and let them know I had arrived safely. Then I collapsed onto the little twin bed a friend had set up for me and was unconscious within minutes. Unpacking could wait another day.

More later!



Jean said...

Roswell, New Mexico was bigger than I thought it would be. Also more normal. I didn't see a single alien

That you know of. Know that overly kind woman at the counter of the gas station? Yep.

Irish Girl said...

Hm. Thought it was weird that she gave me free coffee and directions to the highway so cheerfully.