I had been living in SoCal in the early 90’s, going to Claremont Graduate School. Stayed for a while when I was done. Did some really interesting and weird (and stupid) shit, including working as a bouncer at a cowboy bar in Riverside, CA (primary guests were the cowboys from Norco and marines down from Twenty-Nine Palms or up from Pendleton, plus buckle-bunnies).
Left for good in the fall of ’95. Done. Literally sitting and bitching at my friend Bishop about how much I hated living there (at the time Fullerton, but all of SoCal). He looks at me and says, “So where do you want to live?”
Picked up the phone and called my mom to tell her I was leaving LA.
Dunno. Will let you know.
Had a variety of options, from randomness to moving back to Wichita, Ks. (Also had a standing invite to move to a Buddhist monastery in/near Houston, TX, but I didn’t want to live with them, even though they assured me I didn’t have to be a monk. They just wanted me to continue my studies in kung fu and teach eventually. Whole ‘nother story I might share over beer, sometime.)
Ended up in Wichita.
Got a job teaching at a community college. Got involved in the ’96 Senate races when Jill Docking ran against Sam Brownback. Jill and my dad had been friends for twenty years at that point.
Looked around for options.
A friend from the LA days living in Seattle convinced me to move there. Things didn’t work out as intended, but I fell in love with the city and stayed anyway.
Talked to her out of the blue last week. Social media. She had found me. Hadn’t talked to her since maybe ’98. Weird.
But it got me to thinking about the past. And I realized that today would the 20th anniversary of that Monday morning I got in my little, red pickup and drove to Grand Junction. Then Baker City, then Federal Way.
Even the best psychics would have lost money on the next twenty years.
I found the most amazing woman and lost her to breast cancer in ’08 after ten years together. Dated another one for three years, but it didn’t work out (and I talked to her on social media this morning.)
Reconnected with Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) three and a half years ago when I threw most of me out and started over with a clean slate. Married her a year and a half ago.
People look at me and don’t realize I’ll be 48 this summer, so they have a hard time realizing that twenty years ago I was a grown adult doing crazy shit and looking to be shot at less often. And starting clean from all the stupidities of the Midwest and the Inland Empire.
Don’t really have much else to say, and I’m off schedule, but I wanted to take a minute to mark that milestone of picking my ass up and moving cross-country again, looking for that horizon.
It was twenty years ago today…