Tuesday morning, 6:02 AM PST saw the Beatrice Olivia the Mini Cooper packed with two bikes, two dogs and one redhead and headed up the on ramp to the 134 freeway in LA. Day one of my journey back to Denver…back the way I came.
But the car and the contents and route I drove were (and remain) about the only thing the same as my journey that began January 1.
I’m sitting here in the carpeted basement of my new rental in Denver. I’m not pretty. Smartwool ski socks up to my knees, two mismatched sweaters, leggings and pajama pants. My sheets are a yoga towel and my blanket, the furry throw thing that the dogs were sleeping on in the back of the car. It’s roughly zero degrees Fahrenheit outside and I’ve just now realized that the basement of this duplex has no heat vents.
In my discombobulated state, I’m sitting as described with a bike water bottle filled with hot water between my legs and feeling much like a character in The Golden Compass who’s been separated from its daemon.
I don’t know what I set out looking for over a month ago when I turned my Mini into a high payload capacity vehicle. Mostly the goal was to be elsewhere for awhile and to unplug from the same. In those two regards alone, I succeeded. I was most certainly elsewhere and there wasn’t much the same (aside from work) in my day to day.
The hot water bottle is nice, but I don’t have much grounding. Over 1023 miles and two days, going back the way I came produced the following pile that I as a human must now sort through and make sense of. And it’s not bad – it just is. Life’s handed me bigger messes and this is far from being unmanageable.
Geography: When I left Denver, my intentions were to return here and begin the mortgage process. As I drove back, I never felt like I was “heading home.”
Cycling: I left Denver to train for a month in the 70 and 80 degree weather surrounding Los Angeles. I return wishing I were riding down the PCH, sea air filling my nose and longing for the camaraderie of the community that surrounds the LA velodrome. Instead of just riding, I want to ride and ride for a purpose. Curious as to how I’m going to get that here.
Friends: Meeting new ones, spending time with ones well-seasoned, surprises…my emotional experience in LA was delicious and has my head swimming with thoughts I don’t quite know how to categorize yet.
Revisiting: When I left Los Angeles in May of 2005 for the sands of Las Vegas, an upheaval in my life awaited a few months down the road. In the process, I forgot everything I loved about LA and focused on leaving it all behind. A chapter closed. Yet some of my life’s greatest smiles came from a tapas dinner here, a sushi night there, walking to Trader Joe’s or the farmer’s market and a collection of friends who were…always there. And still are today. By revisiting, I gave myself the chance to see Los Angeles through another person’s eyes: the one I am today instead of the one I was six years ago.
So going back the way I came – sure, the GPS sure looked the same. The lady behind the wheel? Different.
I don’t know if it’s possible for us to go back the way the way we came. Something will always be different. Did I expect otherwise? Seems so. Seems that I expected life to bop around to some hold music while I gallivanted off to the coast like Don McLean’s father, son and holy ghost.
And now? Back to the business of living where my stuff is again. My POD arrives tomorrow and somewhere in that motherfucker are three space heaters. With no hesitation in my voice, they will be the first order of business when it comes to living where my stuff is.
***7:51 AM update: PODS tried to deliver my unit this morning at 7:30am when all my neighbors’ cars are still on the street. There’s nowhere to put it. It’s 7 degrees outside. There’s no way I could block any more parking. Now, I’m haggling for redelivery with no additional fee. Please sacrifice something to the POD gods. All I want is my damn futon and a space heater.