This is all very weird. I’m sitting in a hotel room about a mile west of our apartment in Denver, after a long day of, well, weirdness. I left LAX with a temp of 75 out, flew over the ocean and saw my apartment before we did the big arc to the east and headed into the mountains. We landed two hours later, I got a Chevy HHR, basically a ripoff of the PT Cruiser but shittier. Then the long drive to I-70 and into town and back to the place at 2200 Market.
I can’t emphasize enough how strange it was to pull into our building and go up to our place on the third floor. In some sense, it was like being dead, gone for a week and suddenly being back to normal. Or maybe like all of LA was a detailed dream, and then I woke up and there was Denver again. And the feeling of opening the apartment and being there myself, everything shut down, everything silent – it felt like opening up an Egyptian tomb and looking at all of the gold and food they buried with the king’s corpse. I ate some Taco Bell and watched part of a DVD, but most of my night was spent throwing things out, hauling junk to the trash room, and wondering why the fuck it was so quiet. (Answer: I’m already used to the distant plane sounds from LAX.)
I thought this all was a freak occurrence, but it happened once before. In spring of 1993, the second year of my two years at the Mitchell House in Bloomington, I went back home for the summer. This involved taking a station wagon full of stuff up north in May, and leaving everything else behind until later in the summer. I returned over the 4th of July holiday to trash or haul back the remainder, and staying in the room was also a bizarre headtrip. I didn’t have half my stuff – like I slept on a mattress with an open sleeping bag and no sheets because all the bedding was gone. But it was also that return to a tiny space full of so many memories that screwed with my head. And now, I’ve only been in Denver a year, and my capacity for generating highly nostalgic memories is probably much more limited. But the whole thing did fuck with me.
I woke up early today, and the packing crew showed up at 8:00 and started wrapping, boxing, and tagging. I did up two suitcases that will go back with me on the plane, and got a lot more garbage out of the place. When that got old, I got a few hours of work done on some contract tech writing I needed to finish. By 3:00, they finished up, and I had the place to myself, aside from the strange ghosts in the air.
I checked in to the hotel, but it got bored fast – lots of Brett Favre retirement crap on ESPN, not much happening online. So I got some dinner and headed back to the house to finish up a few more things. It’s still dead quiet, and filled with boxes from wall to wall. Still, lots of memories, looking out at the parking lot across the street that I watched every day as I worked on the computer. I kept thinking how I’d watch the crowd that shuffled in on game days last summer, trying to measure how good or bad the game would be based on the traffic (and the price they charged for parking.) Maybe working from home fucked with my head, like maybe I have twice as many hours in the apartment, so twice as much nostalgia. Who knows.
I thought about taking a drive to see what I would see. But here’s the thing: there’s not as much in the way of cool hangouts or neato routes I would take that deserved one last visit. I remember the night before I left Bloomington, I put on the walkman and took this insanely long walk around campus. Every little bit I passed, I would think “here’s where I met so-and-so” or “here’s where me and so-and-so bought sandwiches from Dagwoods and ate on the lawn” or “here’s where this-and-that car died” or whatever. But in Denver, there’s a McDonald’s, a Walgreens, a Target, and Coors Field. It’s not to say I won’t miss Denver, and it’s not to say that Denver’s a shithole town that should be avoided at all costs. It is what it is.
Now I’m in this shithole La Quinta, right by a railroad switching yard, with the typical snuff film decor. Our bed and all of the bedding are packed up, and so are the bath towels. So, I bunk here, drive back tomorrow (all of like a mile), then watch the next crew fill up a truck with our junk. I hopefully then get the fuck out of there by 3:00 and dump this garbage rental car and get on a plane to LA with two suitcases full of kitchen gadgets and washrags and whatever other odd crap we forgot to pack in the first two carloads.
And remember how I said it was 75 back in LA when I left? Current temp here: 30. Overnight low: 15. With windchill: -4938.