Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Spiders, Horror Movies, and College Towns.

Last week I literally drove all day from Small Town to College Town, which is several states away. It was less expensive than flying there, not to mention the airport nearest to College Town is hours away. It was my first time driving such a long distance by myself, and of course, I got lost.

I used the GPS on my phone, but took a wrong turn and ended up all the way out in Tiny Town (and at that point I'm still not sure what state I was in). The cell phone reception in that area was almost nonexistent, so I couldn't use my GPS. And like the genius that I am, I did not bring a road map either.

I had to stop at more than one gas station to ask for directions (I was all, "Stopping at a gas station for directions? What is this, the nineties?) before I finally made it back to an area with cell reception. I was very relieved, especially because getting lost in an unfamiliar place is exactly what happens in way too many horror movies, and the umbrella that I keep in my car would be no match against a chainsaw-wielding cannibal.

When I got to College Town, I got a room at a "hotel", and I use the term loosely because it was exactly the kind of hotel that you see in almost every horror movie, complete with screaming in the halls. Fortunately, the screaming wasn't from people being chased by serial killers or ghosts but was more along the lines of, "Dang it! Who drank the last beer?" and "I KNOW you were looking at her! Don't you lie to me!" and "Keep it DOWN! I don't want people calling the cops on us again!" Several of the guests hung out in the parking lot, drinking beer with their shirts off.

I went to College Town so that I could find an apartment. Here's what happened:

Me: Does the landlord pay for an exterminator if there are bugs in the apartment?

Leasing agent #1: Actually, the tenants are responsible for the cost of that if there are bugs. But don't worry, we don't have that problem around here.

Me: Okay, but there is a ginormous spider spinning a web behind you right now.

Me: Do a lot of college students live here? Most of my current neighbors in Small Town are students, and they are the reason that earplugs were invented.

Leasing agent #2: Oh no, this apartment complex is very quiet.

Me: (starts to answer but is distracted by the sound of someone playing the trumpet in the apartment above us.)

Leasing agent #3: And as you can see, we have a lot of nice amenities around here, like a swimming pool for the tenants.

Me: Oh, that's nice. (What I was really thinking: This is the Midwest. The tenants won't be able to use the pool for 80% of the year, and yet they'll have to pay for it 100% of the year.)

I finally did find an apartment that I liked. After I did things like get renter's insurance and set up my electricity in my new place, I drove to the campus of the school where I will be teaching. The last time I set foot on that campus was almost twenty years ago, when I was a seventeen year old high school student looking at colleges. Although I liked the school, I didn't go to that college; I chose another one that offered me a scholarship and a place in their honors program. It was so strange to go back to College Town as a thirty-six-year-old college teacher and see the place now that I was older, wiser, and much more heavily caffeinated.

I also drove around College Town, which is more than twice the size of Small Town. I noticed that the former has more restaurants and stores; it will be nice not to have to drive several hours just to go shopping at someplace other than Walmart.

Now I'm back in Small Town, researching moving companies, packing up my stuff, and getting rid of the stuff that I no longer need or use. I'm leaving for my new town and job in less than a month, and I feel nervous, excited, and a little scared. I hope that I'll like it there, and I hope that I can stay at that job longer than I did at the one I had here.

When I drive back to College Town, I'll be sure to bring a road map. And possibly a chainsaw.

What about you? Have you ever moved to a new place where you never lived before?


  1. Many times! And finding the right neighborhood is always a gamble.

    1. Hi Charly,
      That's definitely true. I think that the neighborhood is just as important as the apartment; I've lived in apartments that I really liked but the neighborhood (or the neighbors) ruined it for me.

  2. Congratulations on the new job!!! And on finding an apartment you like. Good things in store for you for sure.

    This post has made me feel vindicated for eschewing GPS. Something about it doesn't work with my brain and I always understand it backwards. I'm the kind who needs to study maps ahead of time and have my route nearly memorized - then written out in a way I understand on Post-it notes that I stick on my dashboard. It mostly works except for the time I didn't note an exit and drove under the Welcome to Michigan sign when my end destination was Indiana.

    Best of luck finding good movers - MUCH better luck than you had last time - and have fun packing!

    1. Hi Nicki,
      I think your way sounds a lot better than the GPS way. I was freaking out when I got lost and couldn't use my GPS; I freaked out even more when I almost spilled my water bottle on my phone. It made me realize how dependent people like me are on those things; it's important to have alternatives ready just in case situations like those happen.
      I did a lot more research on movers this time. What helped a lot was that my new employer offered me a job more than two months before I have to start working, whereas my former employer barely gave me three weeks. After getting on-site estimates and talking to several moving companies, I finally hired one that sounded good and is nationally known. Hopefully it'll be better this time around and I won't get scammed again.

  3. Your responses to what the leasing agents said were priceless!

    I only moved to a different city only about 30 minutes away. It was a little adventure figuring out where everything was, though.

    1. Hi Chrys,
      Thanks! I think that someday I might compile all the funny statements I've made (or wish I'd said) and put them into a book somehow. :)
      What you said about figuring out where everything was is definitely something I can relate to. I finally figured out where everything was in Small Town, to the point that I didn't get lost like I did in the beginning. And now I have to find my way around College Town, but I think it'll be interesting to explore it.

  4. Your responses to the landlords were indeed entertaining, I felt like I was watching a stand-up comedy routine! I hope the new job goes well and you don't need a chainsaw to deal with the students. I moved to Glasgow from the south of England to go to college - didn't know anyone, but I'm still here 14 years later. I do know people now though, including my wife and family, so it worked out!

    1. Hi Nick,
      Actually, the chainsaw is for any possible cannibalistic serial killers I might encounter on the drive over there; as we've seen in horror movies, they're everywhere.
      I think it's brave to move to a place where you don't know anyone, and that's great that it worked out for you so well.

  5. YAY! *happy dance* I'm so happy you got a job! And one that you're happy about too. Awesome! ^_^

    1. Hi Misha,
      Thanks! And I do feel pretty happy about it; I feel better than I have in a long time. I think it's partly because now I don't have to wrestle with the uncertainty of what's going to happen to me in August if I don't find a job.

  6. It's always difficult moving. Everything is different and new and slightly scary to begin with. Best wishes for your new job

    1. Hi Lynda,
      Thanks! And it's definitely very difficult to move; it's so much work. I'll be glad when I'm in College Town and I don't have to deal with all the hassle of moving anymore, but that's still several weeks from now.