This was my 14th move in 14 years, or something like that. It used to be easy. I'd stuff the VW bug with everything I owned and hit the road. The 14 moves are just the ones involving Bruno, my Siamese cat. He's 14.5 and I feel like I've taken a few years off both our lives with this transience. Moving used to be such an adventure…now it's just a drag.
Tonight we left Alameda, the house at the beach, the prolific apple tree, and the little man who just last year was a robust traveler in bermuda shorts and hawaiian shirt. Tonight I saw him, our now ex-landlord—still friendly, but shrunken and lacking the confident swagger of ease. I told him I got sick. He inquired, and when I said I had cancer, he said, "Me too. Her too", pointing in the direction of his wife. "What kind?" We talked at great length about it—he had prostate cancer 7 years ago, and it's returned. His wife has some sort of abdominal cancer—he simply gestured to the area, though he seemed to indicate it was female-organ-related. She'd begun chemo, but he felt unsure about doing it himself because "there would be no one to take (him)".
The fact that I've only met Albert once and that we were meeting for purely business purposes kept my emotions at bay, but I felt like crying. Maybe it was the strain of the past 14 days—nothing about this move had gone according to schedule or been correct in any way, with the exception of the movers we hired (same ones who've moved us 3 other times). Maybe it was because I knew that the next tenants, who pushed for us to leave early, had moved furniture into the garage while we were still cleaning, and had screwed up the garbage service, cutting us off from receiving the all-important dumpster—-were going to f— up that house. They had the nerve to call Albert while he was getting a second opinion in L.A. to ask for a refridgerator. Maybe…I was sorry and angry, because here was someone who used to be in control, and he seemed so tentative about the fight. I was sad that our rapport was further bonded by having cancer. I told him he needed to eat. Anything, and everything. He'd lost 15 pounds.
He thanked us for planting the lawn and the flowering vines out front. I gave Mike the credit, to which Albert added, "He has a good mind." He invited us to visit, asked if his son, a doctor, could call me, and asked us to stay in touch. His other son was pruning the heavily laden apple tree, while his wife bagged the apples to give away. She handed me a branch with leaves and a perfect apple on the end. This is exactly something my own mother would do, and she was about the same size and age. He thanked us three times for taking care of the house. It actually looked better now than when we moved in a year ago. I'm pretty sure he marveled at how perfect everything still was, after a year. We're talking about new white carpet, white tile with white grout, new flat white paint, white vinyl floors….all we needed were white suits for A Clockwork Orange. Only the truly anal could've kept it that way, or someone with lots of rugs and no energy to hang pictures (we're the latter). We used to think the white was a way to fritter away the deposit, but I get the feeling they like white, that their own home is fastidious. His son's truck was white, and perfectly clean…
This was a turning point in my moving experience. I thought moving to/from Washington was the turning point, and it was, in its own way. But there was a sadness and a heaviness about this move that had to do with life changes, seasons, and leaving a place I love. It almost felt like Carlsbad. Luckily, Alameda is only 10 miles away. Carlsbad is a whole life away and it would be a strange fantasy to return there to live.
I took a stroll on the beach during a free moment. Walking that beach every day played a huge role, I think, in my healing. I'll have to plan the walks now, since I have to commute there, but I have no intention of giving it up. I'll probably continue to shop, eat, get massages in Alameda….Maybe we'll find our way back. If we don't move out of state (read as "low cost of living").
I'll do a real update on my condition soon. I'm exhausted and my feet and hips are killing me. The computer's up—along with the tv, but that's about it (and the cat door, of course). With any luck, I may actually cook this weekend, for the first time in 3 weeks. Or not.
Tonight I'll pray for everyone as usual, with a special prayer for our former landlord, Albert, and his wife Lindsey (or maybe it's Lin Si?).