A Change of Plans

Well, gentle reader, in an unexpected turn of events, I am moving to San Francisco. I will be working as a Social Science Research Associate at Stanford University, rejoining the research group that I worked with when I wrote my dissertation. I will be living three doors down from the house where I last cohabited with the woman to whom I was once married.

My original plan for the move was to sell Blue (Walden’s brother), drive Walden to San Francisco, and park him long term at my sister’s place outside the city. Living in San Francisco, I would not need a car. When I did, I could do the Zip Car thing. Paying $10/hour for a car would be much cheaper than dealing with parking and insurance and maintenance. Having a car in a city is a lot of work. Planning to visit friends and family in Birmingham and to reconnect with friends and belongings in Knoxville, I booked a Delta Rewards ticket from SLC to BHM. Exactly how to get from Birmingham to Knoxville and back was a problem I figured I could solve easily enough.

In the hour that followed booking the round trip ticket from SLC to BHM, I ordered a Really Big Duffel Bag to transport to the West whatever treasures unearthed in my upcoming archaeological dig in my storage unit. A few minutes after booking my ticket, it occurred to me that the apartment that I plan to sublet has a dedicated parking spot, and that I will be traveling to a dozen schools around San Francisco, and that doing that on a bicycle or a Zip Car or public transportation would likely be a bit of a chore. Having a car could actually be pretty handy. Since I got Walden, I have thought that it would be pretty fun to say that I spent a week or a month living in Walden before getting a place to live, especially when I will likely be paying well over TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH for an apartment, but having Walden as a daily driver in San Francisco is a bad idea. Blue would be a fine car to bang around the city.

I adjusted my plan. I would drive Walden to Birmingham, via Knoxville, park Walden in a carport, fly back to Utah, then move to San Francisco in Blue.

No, I am not ready to sell Walden.

Though I have not spent that many nights in Walden in the past year, with the exception of a couple trips, Walden has been my home and companion since I moved out of The Rental on May 1, 2011. Oft has been the time that I have been at someone’s house and they have needed something (e.g., a knife sharpener, some truffle salt or olive oil, a blow torch, or a stove) and I have said, “No problem, I can just run home and get one.” When “home” is in the driveway, that is pretty convenient, and, for me, the joke never gets old. (Arguably I have only about five jokes.) In Utah I did have the bulk of my clothes and daily necessities in the house and unpacked, but I would still run out to Walden for this or that every now and then. For the first time in two years, I was going to be without Walden.

Planning to be without Walden for a year and move from Utah to San Francisco in Blue, the 2002 Subaru Outback, was going to require a change in mindset. What is in Walden that I need? What stuff that is in the house needs to be in Walden and not in San Francisco? What do I do with my skis? I thought that I could fit all my clothes and musical instruments into the Subaru, but I really had no idea how much space that stuff would take up. To start to figure that out, I removed almost everything from my room and put it in a pile in the living room. It looked like it would fit into Blue. Or so I hoped.

I packed a bunch of stuff that I planned to leave in Walden in Birmingham. It could be handy to leave enough clothes there that I could just show up there without really packing anything. I liked the notion of Walden functioning as my pied-à-terre in the Southeast. I would not be needing many shorts or short-sleeved shirts in San Francisco. I retrieved my frying pans and kitchen accouterments from the Utah kitchen and returned them to their respective homes in Walden.

I was ready to begin what might be my last trip in Walden.

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