My festive Christmas was over and the house was feeling eerily empty. I started to get the impression that the house was going to be handed back to the landlord and I would have to find a new place to live, so I started to search for a new residence.
There is nothing more painful to me than taking care of practical things. The day before I went to college I worked my last shift at the restaurant as a line cook, then I went and played an open mic at Café Lena, then I got home and figured it was time to start packing.
Oh sure, I could’ve started packing weeks before. And I could’ve not worked up until the day before I left. And I didn’t really have to play that open mic, considering how much time you waste at those things simply waiting around to play your two songs. I also could’ve kept my room tidy, so that packing didn’t have to begin with clearing open some floor space. And I even could have thought of printing out directions for the four-hour drive before my mom and I pulled out of the driveway (now you know where I get the trait).
But doing all or any of this would have killed me inside. It’s not that I don’t like doing practical things; they can be quite enjoyable. It’s the mindset that comes along with being good at accomplishing simple tasks on a regular basis that I can’t stand.
Every now and then people talk to me about things being “natural”. It’s natural to do this, or it’s natural to do that. I normally can’t stand these arguments, because the society that we live in, founded upon the aspiration of civility, couldn’t be further from the natural world. Go ahead and live like a caveman, see what happens.
But that’s my excuse when it comes to practical chores. Man oh man, do I whip out the caveman argument. Cavemen didn’t pack! They didn’t use mapquest. Improving this ability to take care of such matters would destroy that part of my brain that is still pure and has yet to be tainted by the reality of living in the 21st Century.
If I ever make this argument, I suggest you resist the urge to counter it and put me in my place. Sure, my reasoning is flimsy and can easily be torn to shreds. But I always carry a large club with me in case such a confrontation occurs and I need to take care of business, caveman-style. And I found it in the woods, so it’s natural (although the North Face Backpack I carry it in isn’t…back off).
So as I thought about having to move to a new place, I had an absolutely horrifying realization. After going though the tortuously tedious task of notifying various companies of my new address, I would have to go through the whole process…again!
Oh dear God, where’s my club? Where’s my club?! My way of life is being threatened and I can’t take it. Despite the pain it will inflict upon me, I will walk through the process with you, as a precautionary tale. If it helps one lazy kid decide not to change his residence, it will be worth it.
You first off have to think of everyone that might be sending something to your current address. Your family. Your friends. Your business associates. Your former employers. Your bank. Your cell phone company. Your various insurance companies. Oh the list goes on, you get the point, right?
Thank you, I was starting to hyperventilate.
You then need to inform all of these people that you are changing your address. Friends and family are pretty easy, except that they may not update their address book right away and forget to later on. Your business associates and former employers need to know, and they tend to be very efficient. Then comes the companies.
Oh the companies. You try to change it on the internet, if possible. But a lot of times they won’t let you. Maybe someone has your password and they’re trying to get your information sent to another address. It’s a security measure. So then you call…
The Robot Lady! I hate the Robot Lady more than you can know. She asks you a question and then says, “say Yes or No”. And you say “Yes”, and she says “I’m sorry, I can’t understand you, please say Yes or No”. And so you say “Yes” and she says “I’m sorry, I can’t –“ but before she can finish you say:
“YES! YES! Y-E-S YOU STUPID ROBOT LADY!”
This is, of course, if you’re lucky enough to call during business hours. And if you’re in a new time zone you have trouble keeping track of what time it is where you are and what time it is where they are.
Oh God, where is my wooden club?!!
The credit card company froze my card after I moved. I called them to see what was going on, and they said they wanted to confirm that in fact I had moved to the new zip code 91601.
(Thanks, credit card company, for watching my back)
Thanks, credit card company, for messing up my day. Now I’ve gotta go back to Target. You made me look like a jerk in front of everyone. And all because I changed my address.
Yeah, you can change your address with the Post Office, but that’s actually less helpful than you’d think. There’s a delay before it goes into effect, and then there’s a delay between the arrival of a piece of mail at your old address and your new address. How long of a delay you ask? Long enough to miss a payment on my Discover Card.
“Why didn’t you tell us that you moved?” asked Dan from a call center in Wisconsin (or more likely Calcutta).
“I tried to tell the Robot Lady, but she wouldn’t listen.”
That one just didn’t land on Dan’s radar.
So there I was in North Hollywood, sitting on the porch I had come to love so much. The house I had randomly found on the internet had started to feel like a real, albeit a wacky, home. Then Christmas had to come along and ruin everything. But was it really so bad that I would subject to myself to the torment of changing my address again?
I started scouring Craigslist for new places to live. All of them cost more. All of them. I would need to scrounge up a security deposit again. Sheesh. I thought of maybe moving closer to the beach. How great would that be? I’d probably be able to deal with the extra commute to have the Pacific as a neighbor. Or maybe Silver Lake. I’d have to get some new hipster clothes and start pretending like I’m unaffected by everything, but at least there’d be good vegan food. Hollywood started to sound cool, despite how much parking would suck. I could probably take the bus everywhere and feel like a public transportation person again.
But I kind of love North Hollywood! It’s in the Valley, but only a few minutes away from not-in-the-valley. Things are cheaper and people are lamer, and that makes me feel a little more comfortable. There’s the guy at the hot dog place, the dude at the Thai place, and the girl at the coffee shop. Sure, they never remember my name and sometimes forget we ever met, but I enjoy their friendship.
But I’d find this somewhere else. It’s not like North Hollywood is the only place to have your regular spots. I was ruminating on the porch when Danny the Lion moseyed on out to smoke a cig. He went into a story that made me realize I had to fight for this residence.
Earlier that day Danny heard a knock on the door. Opening it up, he saw the boyfriend of the screaming sister, Dallas, that shares the back room with her. Except he looked a little different…wait…it wasn’t Dallas at all:
“Is Dallas here?”
“Uh…I think so, hold on” replied Danny as he started to retrieve him, stopping after a step. “Who should I say is asking for him?”
Danny went back to get Dallas, thinking it was a routine visit.
“Did you tell him I’m here?!” Dallas panicked.
“Uh, I don’t – no.”
“Tell him I don’t live here anymore. He’s no good, you don’t want him around here.”
This was the exact thing Danny had no interest in hearing, but it was exactly what I needed.
The day had come when the Sitcom of the house I live in adopted an element of a very different genre: the Soap Opera. Dallas was about the nicest guy you could imagine. A former marine, he was the sort of guy that smiled while he engaged in lively conversation with you, always letting you know he enjoyed the conversation before parting ways with you. He said “yes, m’am” and “no sir”. He was for me a source of joy in the house, always having a positive outlook on things and a genuine interest in what people had to say. And he also apparently had an Evil Twin that was looking for him…
We never got another visit from the Evil Twin, but I realized that where I was living was a truly phenomenal place. I had met some incredible people, whether they were intentionally incredible or not. And I’d be damned if I was going to let one little Police interrupted Christmas ruin this place for me.
I had found my home, and regardless of how much I hate changing my address, this was where I knew I needed to be.