Stuck: Days Without Numbers

Hello, July. Hello, explosions, flags and, Friday, what would have been my mother’s 90th birthday. I wasn’t supposed to be in Asheville right now. But, naturally, I came home and . . . got stuck. This tendency towards stuckness is one of the reasons I left – or, well, tried to leave – in the first place. Asheville is made of quicksand and it doesn’t like to let its people go. I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else in my entire life and it turns out it is more difficult to tear up roots, even if you swear it’s only temporarily, than one would think.

Why am I still here?  From the very minute I walked back into my house, it was devastatingly apparent that my fiendish, clever escape plan, which basically had been to turn my house and all its contents and the two dogs and the cat over to my grown children and run the fuck away, had not worked out. This is a long story and I’m not going to go into it in detail. It’s not entirely my story to tell, after all. But it was not a happy awakening. Among other things, there was a passive aggressive note left on the door by “A Neighbor.” Horrors! I’m still brooding about it. I’m also creating an unkind running commentary towards you, “A Neighbor.” Sometimes I even raise my voice. But, okay, to be fair, “A Neighbor” was merely pointing out an uncomfortable truth and I was overly optimistic. My life turns out to have roots and they’re wrapped around my legs. I’m not going to be able to get away from the house and the animals that easily.

So I’ve been pacing around coming up, or trying to come up, with alternative cunning plans. I think I still can escape, but now I am going to try to rent my house out. Furnished. With animals. I know! You’re laughing! It’s crazy! But this is Asheville and people really, really want to live here. Most particularly, they want to live in my neighborhood, because I live in West Asheville, the hip and thriving epicenter of a hip and thriving, artsy, foodie, beer drinkin’ city. It’s awful. See why I must leave? It’s partly my fault, I know: this was a perfectly cromulent working class neighborhood when I moved in 17 years ago along with all the other artists and single hippie moms. But! No more about Asheville! Long rants about the gentrification of Asheville belong on 6000 Onions and there are a few there to choose from. However, if it wasn’t for the gentrification of Asheville, I wouldn’t have a chance in hell of renting my dogs and low ceilinged funky hippie ranch house out: hell, I would probably have to pay people instead of them paying me. So it is not all bad. Haven’t YOU always wanted to live in Asheville? This is your chance! Actually, seriously, I’m planning on renting it for $600. It’s a furnished 4 bedroom house. That’s about 1/3 of what I could actually rent it for without furniture and dogs, so it’s an amazing deal and I’ll even buy the dog food.

But it does mean that I have to clean almost a decade’s worth of accumulated stuff out of the house. And that’s where I get stuck. It just seems insurmountable. It may in fact be insurmountable. There’s a garage full of stuff – and not just my stuff, oh no, my children’s stuff and family stuff that just ended up there and so on: it’s perilous to be the owner of a garage – and also, probably, mice. I’m deathly afraid of mice. There’s the upstairs of the house, where I, the “it might come in handy sometime also I’m totally going to take up sewing again right after I finish these mosaics and rereading these 2000 books without which I cannot live” borderline hoarder, live. There’s also an entire basement where my son has been living and it’s – not good down there. I’m slowly making it better while he is temporarily out of residence, but it’s hard. I’m already depressed and I’m not even getting into the interpersonal family issues that make it all so much harder and more depressing. I’ve gotten so depressed, in fact, that yesterday I resurrected my old stereo and played all my favorite prog records – Genesis! Tull! Yes! – from 10th grade (shut UP. I got a lot cooler later.) at full blast while I sat there in the moldy air by the dusty record player and cried. It was not a good day and it wasn’t unfortunately the only not good day in the last, what, four weeks? I’ve lost track.

Whatever day it is, the camper is still in Virginia in storage. I have come up with a metric shit ton of plans about what to do about that but I haven’t followed through on any of them. I am going back up there this weekend to try again to sell it. There have been quite a few people expressing interest but I know I need to relist it and get more proactive. I thought for a while I might keep it and somehow strip it down and soup the truck up until the weight was okay but I’m slowly giving up that idea. I have done a bunch more research and I suspect now that it weighs one hell of a lot more than the 1400 pounds it claims on its pristine VIN sticker. This, it turns out, is not uncommon and here’s a very good video about it. I wish I’d seen that video before I bought it but then, if 20/20 hindsight worked that well, there’s a whole lot in my life that would be different.

So I’m still going to sell it, or try to sell it. If I can’t sell it, than it’s time to trade the truck in for a bigger one. There aren’t a lot of campers light enough for my current truck – some say there aren’t any light enough. I have about 1400 pounds of payload to work with, and that’s not a lot. This kind of sucks. I mean, you wouldn’t think it would be that hard to make one that will fit what is the most popular size truck on the market but then I am not making one so what do I know? Although, that’s another option that is looming large in my head: just cobble one together myself. Be afraid! I keep thinking, I could do that. I just need a tall shell (also ridiculously hard to find) and then I can just, well, build stuff. Yeah. With my vast lack of experience in building pretty much anything at all, what could possibly go wrong? That’s the budget option and it may well be the end result. But from a more rational perspective, if the camper doesn’t sell than the truck will have to. While there aren’t exactly a lot of F250s or Dodge 2500s out there in anything resembling my price range, there are more than there are sub 1000 pound campers.

Either way, I’m still hoping and planning to get the hell out of here sometime in the fall. And, before that, I’m going to Mexico! So in August there will be some more, if not hermitage, than definitely mobile, stuff to write about. Meanwhile, I’m just going to keep on keeping on, small bit by small bit.

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