Upon relocation, transportation was my first order of business. I had already weighed out my options before arriving and decided upon investing in a scooter. Now, I know, I’m moving to Olympia, WA just before winter, and I’m going to buy a scooter? Well, I’m not known for making obvious and comfort-based decisions. I rummaged through craigslist in order to acquire said scooter. Always a sketchy potential there. But I had a surprisingly wonderful experience. Seth and Leslie said I set off all the grandfather bells in the seller. I think he was just a genuinely nice guy. Regardless, he knowingly charged me far less he should have and was really helpful as well. And with that, I am the proud owner of a blue Yamaha Zuma, also known as Tinga. Yes, I am in the habit of naming my vehicles. As well as various electronic devices. Unfortunately I was forced to buy a helmet at a store (what!? Not secondhand?!). Due to which, I now have a helmet which makes me appear far more badass than my scooter-riding-self deserves. But whatever. At least I’m covered if I get in a wreck. Or my head is anyways.
Next in the order of business was acquiring a job. If you’ll recall, I arranged this whole move-to-Olympia deal in the midst of my most recent European adventure. At which point, I utilized Google maps to see what exactly was in Olympia. The first thing I saw was Trader Joe’s, and I immediately decided that was where I wanted to work. So I spent the next few months with just that in mind. The day after Tinga and I joined forces I got out of the house and drove down to Trader Joe’s to drop of my application. A week later I had an interview, another week later I had another interview, and a day later I had a job. All I can say is: I never want to have to participate in the activity known as ‘job hunting’ ever again. Sheesh. I definitely prefer the ‘know the right people’ approach. And my experience wasn’t even that terrible, comparatively! My intuition about Trader Joe’s being a great place to work was entirely accurate. I am really grateful to have landed a job there. It’s an awesome place. My co-workers are fantastic, the customers are wonderful, the food is great. All around I am really happy working there. In the past week I’ve had three different people tell me that I smile excessively. I honestly cannot refrain. I am so happy.
My living situation, after having a lot of ripples in my mind, has shifted in reality. Olivia found alternative accommodations, and Seth and Leslie left for Panama in early November. Immediately after which, Thorne and I emptied the contents of the kitchen and bathroom into boxes, which we then expelled to the pod. That was a great feeling. And I’ve done some more here and there a bit at a time. But the real change is that I will be moving out. I didn’t expect to be leaving until March. But for many reasons I don’t feel comfortable living there. The most pressing of which involve Tinga. She’s been out of commission a few times, for a few days at a time. During which periods I have been forced to crash on Olivia’s couch, reside in the same clothing, MacGyver myself makeshift coconut oil deodorant, and brave the Olympia bus system. In other words, it’s been a huge nuisance. Fortunately I’ve been privy to the generosity of Olivia and her housemates. They’ve helped me hugely.
The first time, my scooter wouldn’t start at Olivia’s place (also known as Hays Ranch) just before I was due at work. Her housemate, Joelle, kindly gave me a lift. And a co-worker drove my pitiful self back after I finished at 11pm. I still ended up walking a mile in the rain. I attributed the failure-to-start to a lack of fuel. So, I walked another mile in the rain, this time with my scooter in tow. I made it, finally, to the nearest gas station and filled up the tank, certain it would fix my issues. It didn’t. I spent at least thirty minutes trying to make it start. No such luck. So I walked it the mile back to Olivia’s (still in the rain, and now well after midnight), and crashed there for the night. The Hays Ranch residents supplied me with tea and a really comfy couch next to the wood stove. Despite the general misery of the situation, it was a really pleasant night. The orange glow of fire lends a really lovely atmosphere for sleeping. Anyways, it took a few days to get my wheels back. The carburetor needed cleaned out, the spark plugs needed replaced, and it would cost me $208. I was not excited. But after relying on the bus system, I was more than willing to fork over the cash to get my means of transportation back.
The second scooter dilemma occurred at the close of a late night tea date at Sizizis with Thorne and Olivia. Thorne had long since gone home, and Olivia and I had just noticed that it was nearing midnight (why do these things always need dealt with at unreasonable hours?). This time I couldn’t get the key to turn. In fact, I could feel it becoming malleable like a hearty caramel – just bending away in the ignition. Hello, what happened to being metal, key? Again to my rescue, came another of Olivia’s housemates, Heidi (Joelle’s sister). She also happened to be at Sizizis studying with her friend Ian. They immediately jumped into problem solving, and after our first solution (a wrench to the key) failed, Ian offered his van. So we acquired his ghetto, uninsured van, and the four of us awkwardly maneuvered my locked-steering-wheel-and-soaking-wet scooter into the back. On the main street of Olympia, within sight of the police station. Nobody said anything, and we got not so much as one strange look. Doesn’t give me much confidence for not having my scooter stolen. Well done, Olympia citizens and police. Anyways, despite the inconvenience of the ordeal, we had a grand time ‘stealing’ my scooter. It really was quite humorous. Once again Tinga pulled a Jesus where she was out of commission for three days, and back in action on the final. And I spent those three days again based on the Hays Ranch couch. Only this time it got me thinking. And that’s when I decided that I needed to leave Seth and Leslie’s. I am not convinced that I’m going to avoid getting stuck five miles from anything in the middle of winter. And that really isn’t an option. As I said, there are other reasons, but that was the determining factor. In fact, I’ll be joining my fellow Defector, Olivia, at Hays Ranch. I’m super excited to move in. It already feels like home. I’ve acquired a couch, which, if you know me you are probably aware, is my much preferred surface for sleeping. It’s going to be good.
Other things that have occupied my time include: a spontaneous three day Lord of the Rings marathon with Olivia; mushrooming (for chanterelles, not magic mushrooms…) with Sunita, a co-worker; making a caramelized onion, feta, spinach, and mushroom quiche with said chanterelles; loads of reading and tea (which is really what I envisioned for this winter); night walks around Olympia; attending a show with co-workers; christmas tree decorating and homemade cider consumption with the Hays Ranch crew; and CS meetups. Just hanging out and living life.