One of the greatest perils of moving to a new place has nothing to do with stress, packing, never getting around to unpacking, or trying to figure out how the hell to organize your kitchen cabinet. While those are unfortunate side-effects, they’re generally either easily dealt with or easily ignored. As frustrating as they are, they are temporary.
Socially, however, moving is a complete shitshow for months. You’re in a new place where you don’t know anyone at all. Except the person you moved with, if you moved with someone. It can take time to find some friends and develop any semblance of a social life, if, indeed, that’s your thing. Luckily, it happens eventually. There are, I guess, all sorts of ways to meet people in a new city and eventually you’ll be at a bar telling new friends that you should totally organize a girl’s night soon or something. It takes time, but it happens.
The real problem arises when your old friends are only an hour or two away. This will breed a certain reluctance in you when it comes to finding new friends. Oh, an hour, hour and a half…that isn’t so bad. I can always see them. It’s not like I need an entirely new social circle. A little later, you go to make plans with those friends. You find yourself thinking: Ugh, fuck. Am I really driving an hour and a half for lunch? I must really like this person and also I need some closer friends. You’ll forget about that needing closer friends thing. An hour and a half is the perfect distance to let you reason that they’re not really that far away but also never want to drive to visit them.
You will, though. You’ll visit your friends because you’re lonely, and probably also you like them or else they wouldn’t be your friends (please if you don’t like your friends stop being friends with them). You’ll make the drive and be glad to see a familiar face in a familiar place and do the exact same thing you always do with these friends. Nothing’s changed.
But you won’t remember how long your drive home is.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, this happened to me very recently. I went to visit my friend Alison. We cook together. If you like cooking, you may know how valuable it can be to have a friend you can cook with. If you don’t, you probably think I’m crazy. Alison and I made lunch and cupcakes. (Okay, realistically, we make cupcakes together. There are always cupcakes. And I must say that this cupcake recipe was fan-fucking-tastic, because I love almonds, and also coincidentally if you wanted to poison somebody with arsenic these cupcakes would be the perfect way to do it surreptitiously.)*
While we were waiting for the cupcakes to cool, I mentioned my local farmer’s market and she realized that she had one, too, and oh hey it was going on right at that moment and we should totally go! And I wasn’t going to not go to a farmer’s market. There’s always some sort of weird vegetable that you’d never see in the supermarket, like purple bell peppers or hot pink eggplants.
The first thing we discovered at her farmer’s market was a lemonade stand. I thought $4 was a bit steep for a lemonade, but they had this big crank thing that they were using right in front of us to squeeze the lemons and immediately pour it into the cup. I mean, we could watch them make it, and they had all sorts of options, and mostly I needed some one dollar bills for the tolls going home so I got one.
Guys, when buying lemonade that seems expensive, it may be prudent to look and see exactly how much lemonade you’re buying.
Are you familiar with the round containers that most supermarket delis use when you buy such as potato salad from them? I ended up with a quart-sized container–that’s the largest one–full of lemonade. Realistically, there’s not a cupholder in my car where I can put this, so I pretty much had to drink it down to a point where it wouldn’t spill before going home–which I had to do immediately after we frosted the cupcakes, which we did immediately after we got back from the farmer’s market. Oh, and it was rush hour.
I am giving you free advice here. Unless you know your route extremely well–and you know for a fact that there are rest stops frequently along the way–do not drink an entire quart of lemonade before what is bound to be at least a 2 hour drive.
No, I didn’t wet myself. I was lucky.
Your head will look like this as you drive home: Is there a gas station off this exit? Or a fast food place? Dammit, why the hell doesn’t this highway have signs advertising these things like every other highway in the fucking country? Where’s the next rest stop? Wait WHY DOES IT SAY IT’S CLOSED okay fine I’ll stay in this lane there must be somewhere I can stop soon…DAMMIT that is NOT closed why the fuck would it SAY it is closed when it is NOT. Okay. I know there’s another rest area soon. You can do this. You can make it. Okay, a toll. The guy at the tollbooth will know. Oh, about ten miles up…right past the other tollbooth? I’m practically home by then! I mean, it’d only be an extra few minutes to use my own bathroom instead of a rest stop one. I can wait. Yeah, I’ll wait. I’ll run in and pee as soon as I get home, but I’m not stopping at a rest area that is less than 10 minutes from my house. It’s not like–wait. Fuck. What if Mike’s in the bathroom when I get home? I am not getting home and peeing into this lemonade-quart-container when there is a perfectly good bathroom right on the side of the highway, dammit!
And then you’ll feel like an idiot for doing something that caused you to have to stop and pee less than 10 minutes away from your own house, all because you weren’t thinking about how far away your new place is.
There. Free advice. You’re welcome.
*Seriously guys don’t do this.**
**Or at least don’t tell them it was my idea.***
***NO, DON’T DO IT AT ALL.