Day one in any new place has to be out of the ordinary. Having never moved before, I don’t have much to compare this experience to, but it’s not like you just fit into a new place like a hand in an old leather glove. Brand new places need time to stretch and mold themselves.
Of course, as a kid I visited different places because of my dad’s work. We never moved, but we sometimes spent several months in one place. I don’t remember anything about New Orleans–babies tend not to–and I only have snapshots of Florida and Philadelphia, but Canada is vivid.
I think I’ll always remember my first day in Canada. After a long ass, and I do mean long ass, drive, we made it to our new driveway–a driveway filled with three feet of snow. I was about as happy as my parents were near to tears. To a Kentucky kid, for whom four inches of snow and two inches of ice is a good winter, this was Shangri la.
Cut to a different first day–one that has made me appreciate my parents tears.
Excited to hell and back, I drive farther up the Bitterroot valley towards Missoula, checking my phone for reception every five minutes. You see, I don’t have directions to my new house, and only half the expectation of getting cell service. Coverage maps take on new importance when you’re in Montana.
The Missoula city limit sign flashes past me. Still no service. Verizon it is.
Never have I been so glad to see a Starbucks. I pull into one of it’s profit driven corporate parking spaces, glide across the beautiful prefabricated threshold, and wrap myself in the comforts of free wifi.
A quick Google maps search, and I have my directions on the back of an envelope. Two middle fingers up to the Starbucks I’m again free to hate, I’m back to my symbol of small batch individualism Subaru. Which is locked. With the keys in the ignition. And a phone that has no service. Can you take middle fingers back?
Twenty minutes and one humbling Starbucks phone borrowing later, my individualism is unlocked and I’m again riding the wind, throwing my middle finger to the corporate establishment.
Finally, I pull into my new driveway, hoping the lack of cars in it is not matched by a lack of people inside.
Oh hey, Starbucks. I just need to find a Verizon store and I’ll be out of your god awful mermaid hair.
Another two hours, and I stumble out of the Verizon store with bloodshot eyes and a new phone.
Several phone calls later, I’m actually moving into my new house, and as I curl up on the thermarest that is my bed, I’m happy that today happened just as it did. Because whether it’s three feet of snow in the driveway or repeated run ins with misfortune and corporate America, day one has to be different. Anything else just makes for a boring story.