Friday, January 27, 2012

A Quarter Century: Movin' On Up

I never moved as a kid. My parents still live in my childhood home in Huntsville (technically just outside of Huntsville) which is, as a matter of fact, where I am currently sitting as I write this post.

At 25, I have lived in 5 different cities. I don't count "moves" that occur within the same municipality. Were I still a child, and therefore subject to the early developmental abandonment issues, I would, but it seems common for college-age students to bounce around a bit which is why I don't classify Alva Heights, The Bunker and Brooklane as separate moves. It works on principle but also means that I need to find another explanation for my abandonment issues.

But I digress. It all started in Huntsville. Like I said before, I actually grew up outside of Huntsville in unincorporated Weber County. That's how small MY home town is, it's not even technically a town.

I'm very proud of that. I love that right now as I look out my window the nearest home is a half-mile away. I love that I can shoot clay pigeons off of my deck and light a fire in the backyard. I love that I can walk outside at night and scream and no one will hear me. I also love that our drinking water comes straight out of the ground. Trust me, you've never tasted anything so refreshing on a hot day.

Sadly, however, the constraints of society are such that eventually I had to pass through the mountains (quite literally, it's the only way out) and go to the city. After 18 good years of camping, horseback riding, river running and mountain biking, I stuffed everything I owned into the back of the Cavalier and headed up to Logan for college.

Under the guidance of my friend Jesse, me and a few pals from Weber High School moved into the luxurious Alva C. Snow Hall. Snow remains, to this day, the nicest dorm on campus but even without community bathrooms its not somewhere you can live for more than one academic year.

We lived on the top floor (the fifth) which we nicknamed Alva Heights and I fell in with a band of villains there (2 Daves, 2 Bens, 2 Zachs and ... Joe and Mitch) which we nicknamed Sigma Alpha Eta (SAH, or Snow Alva Heights) as a reflection of how stupid we all thought Fraternities were. This was in 2005 and was the seeds of my 7-year feud with the USU chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon but THAT is a story for another day.

Summer came, though, and with it came Brazil. I try to avoid talking about my LDS Mission as much as possible (my feelings about it are "conflicted" at best) but I can't really avoid it in THIS post, now can I? Funny story, the other day I was walking with some co-workers and we passed a mobile blood drive bus and we joked about giving blood.

"I can't" my coworker said.
"Why not?" someone asked.
"Oh, you can't ever if you've had sex with a man," he said.

Now, there's nothing wrong with that, but it caught me a little off guard so I hurried to say something to avoid a lag in the conversation.

"Oh, I can't either since I lived in Brazil." I said.
"Oh, what were you doing there?" He asked.

I'm sure you can see the problem here. All that these New Yorkers know about Mormons is that we have multiple wives (false) and that we hate gay people (well...) so I didn't want to follow "I've had sex with a man" with "I was a Mormon missionary" so I lied and said "I was doing humanitarian work."

Bad Idea! For the next 5 blocks I had to make up a series of lies about the orphanages I helped build.

But I digress.

For the next 2 years I lived out of a suitcase (2, technically) moving, on average, every 9 weeks (not kidding). It's odd, I know that I technically "lived" in Pernambuco, Brazil. I ate its food, heard its music (forro, absolutely terrible) and walked its streets, but since I didn't recreate at all there it's hard to say that I really "know" Recife. I really should go back sometime when I could have some fun and enjoy it, but if I'm going to drop two grand on a vacation it seems like I should go somewhere new.

Either way, I learned Portuguese, got robbed twice, had two women propose to me, saw (from a distance) the most beautiful beaches you can imagine, watched a couple of men die, saw a couple of men already-dead and, you know, added a few more Mormons to the ranks.

I was only home in Huntsville for 3 weeks before I moved back to Logan. My sister got married and moved to Australia, I packed up the Corolla the next day. My mom was a wreck.

First, it was the Bunker, a house with an unfinished basement where we stored the piano, drum set, and a lopsided pool table. It was overpriced, cold in the winter and just on the edge of "near-campus" which was murder to our social lives. Not that it mattered, I've never been very social anyway (I blame the small town...and by "blame" I mean "thank").

It was also where the slow and steady elimination of my friends to the iron grasp of marriage began. Mitch got engaged before the ink was dry on the lease and moved out a few months later. Ben took his place and immediately met Natalie (I totally introduced them) and got engaged that summer when we moved to Brooklane. Ironically enough (or was it?) Dave, who took Ben's place at Brooklane, got engaged next and got married the following summer. At least he made it through a full academic year.

That engagement was no surprise, they had been putting it off over and over again while his girlfriend/fiance/wife bounced around the country for swag internships (ambitious women, ha, nothing but trouble). Right on his heels though were Trevor and Haley (I totally introduced them) and not to virtually every one of my friends from Jr. High and High School. Conventional wisdom would suggest that there's something wrong with me, I choose to look at it as being the only sane person in the world.

School, as all things must, ended and I began the next inevitable phase of my progression to adult-hood: the perpetual intern. I packed up the Corrola again and headed south to Salt Lake City (Capitol!). I always figured that I would end up in Salt Lake City, there's only so many options for a journalist in Utah so it was either SLC or head out of state to, I don't know, New York? Oh wait, we're getting ahead of ourselves.

I loved Salt Lake, more than I even thought I would. I also loved The Deseret News, more than I thought I would, and (fingers crossed) will be heading back there in the new future. Salt Lake strikes me as the perfect-sized city. It has just the right amount of hidden gems (Bay Leaf, so awesome) without being sheer urban sprawl. I've also been very impressed with the way the movers and shakers try to stick to what SLC does best without trying to be bigger than its shoes. I always roll my eyes when the USU business students talk about making the Huntsman School a "Top Tier Business College." USU, and the Huntsman School, is never going to be Ivy League, ever. Most of us are perfectly ok with that (as evidenced by our decision to go there) so just stick to what your good at, give the kids a good education and enjoy USU for what it is.

But I digress, Salt Lake City does that. One example, when Modest Mouse played the opening show of the 2010 Twilight Concert Series, something like 40,000 people showed up. So what did they do next year, book Nickelback? No! They opened with Explosions in the Sky, and it was awesome.

But internships, like all things, come to an end and through an eerie display of sure luck I was offered the chance to intern for the premier Entertainment magazine in the country. Even in the beginning, I knew I wouldn't be there for long. New York just isn't my city and 6 months was the perfect amount of time.

As far as the move is concerned, I tried to get everything I owned into suitcases which proved "successful" in a way but also completely disastrous. If I ever move cross-country again I'm just paying for some organization (fed ex, u-haul, whatever) to move it for me. At least I learned my lesson by the time I came home, I hired a car service to pick me up at my apartment and just tipped the guy at the airport to handle my bags for me. My parents raised me save money wherever I could, but some comforts are just worth paying a little extra for.

I lived in queens which was less than enthralling. I had two roommates, one in his mid-thirties and one in his early-20s. I don't think I spent a single minute with them outside of the apartment. Also, there was no water pressure and I'm a man who enjoys a strong, hot shower in the morning.

So when my time was up at EW, I graciously made my exit. Most people would have stayed, waited tables or done whatever it took to be close when the next opportunity came their way. I'm not most people, and as a result I probably won't get another shot at the "big time" but that's just fine, I really missed my car.

Plus, I didn't leave until I got an article in the magazine.

How do you like THEM apples?

1 comment:

  1. Nice to read. There's all these different parts that I would like to comment on or ask follow up questions to - but that might get too long. So I'll just say I enjoyed the review. :)