Part 1 – Something Had to Change
Part 2 – In Search of a Plan
Part 3 – From Sandia Peak, a Plan is Born
Next day, I awoke, to an unusually warm environ. The sun’s light glared menacingly at me from every angle, such that I had to squint and cover my eyes. Flipping over onto my stomach, I lay there, like road paint melting into the highway on a sweltering summer day. “Wait a second,” I said, “the sun never hits my room before 2:00 pm.” I looked at my clock, which read 3:45, “Shit, I never sleep past noon!”
I struggled to free myself from the bed. The sheets adhered to every inch of my anatomy, glued by gallons of sweat, which had poured from my body as I slept in the afternoon sun. “Oh Crap, there better be some left over coffee, I can’t possibly brew or drink hot coffee now!” I walked towards the kitchen, “how am I going to leave town, when I sleep till 4:00 pm?”
This last statement stopped me cold, “Whoa! ...It’s already starting!”
I tended towards reversing course a day or two after making big decisions in life. I’d wake up and notice the general incompetence with which I managed my affairs, and then guided by terror, I’d change my mind. I had done this and regretted the outcome often enough to be fully aware of what was happening. I wouldn’t allow it, not this time. The previous night’s decision was important. I had a sense that backing out would be a terrible mistake.
Up to this point, I had been incredibly fortunate while searching for jobs. I was always offered the first for which job I applied and every job I had found was recommended by a friend. I had never searched the employment section of a newspaper. I’m not sure I knew it existed.
Where should I go? I began considering the important questions, how many single and attractive females live there? Is the music scene eclectic? Will the political climate suite me? Is there good hiking available?
Worry about finding a job and a place to live tickled the base of my skull, but I refused to entertain any serious thoughts about those topics. Reality, it seems, would have to wait. It could attack my psyche in a new city, but not now.
I snorted aloud to myself, “How hard could it be to find a job? I’ll work in a Hotel, they’ll be lucky to have me. And finding a place to live? That is simple! I’ll find a really cool place and live there!” The idiocy with which I considered the basics of survival leaves me a bit queasy even twenty years later.
After thinking about what I knew of various cities in terms of the questions I decided are important, I decided on San Francisco. I figured there have to be beautiful and single women everywhere. I could become a bicycle messenger and maybe start a racing team. More importantly, however, I had a friend who was living with his parents near San Fran., he’d probably let me stay there for a month or two.
I phoned and explained my plans, then asked if I could stay with him until I was situated. He said "sure Mike." I urged him to check with his parents, and avoid surprising them. He said, “Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.” Retrospectively, he couldn’t have believed I’d actually move. I had repeatedly threatened similar actions in the past and never gotten past Colorado Springs. To anyone who knew me, the possibility of my moving to California was remote. His affirmative answer was, therefore, neither considered, nor based on a realistic sense that I might knock on his door expecting a place to stay.
My employer was unhappy to lose me, but probably a bit relieved as well. They were always one full pay cycle behind, so I planned on saving two paychecks to fund my move, and receiving one more in California to help me get started. I failed to consider my own inability to manage finances. I had several “going away" parties, where I was the only celebrant and one week later, my whole paycheck was gone. Next week, I received a second infusion of funds, and I threw another party. Everyone was invited, so the next morning, when I awoke, paycheck number two was GONE! I’d have to wait two more weeks, and with my final check, I’d leave.
Two weeks later, I was packed, my bike was tuned and I was ready to go, but having been sober for almost two weeks, I couldn't resist throwing one last party. I want to “leave in style,” and I hoped Sarah might want to spend a passionate evening in my arms. Next morning found me alone and ...broke! I was moneyless, unemployed, and thoroughly humiliated...AGAIN!
I asked Mom for help and she came through with $200. I hugged her and said “good bye, I love you.” She began crying, “I’m worried about you. Why do you want to move so far away? I won’t be close enough to come if you needed help. I don't want you to get hurt.”
I froze, as guilt and shame suffused my being. Seeing my expression, mom hugged me and smiled quickly, “I understand, you need to find your way, to grow up! All moms want to keep their kids safe. You better get going, before I start crying again. I love you, please be careful!”
I climbed on my 1972 BMW R75 motorcycle, perched my helmet on my head, a nod to my Mom's concern for safety, started the beast and headed for the edge of town, where the helmet came off. I rode West, into the sunset, a grin on my face and a feeling of weightless glee in my gut. The sunset was amazing and it seemed to last for ever, as I chased it into the middle of Arizona. The wind tossed my hair and I imagined the glory ahead of me as I charged into my future soaring above humanity as a falcon, released from the zoo.
…Open up that Golden Gate, California Here I Come – To Be Continued...