Moved Again

Dear diary, it’s November 21, 2021. I recently moved. It was an in-town move, so not too tough. I moved a lot of stuff with a rental truck and a two-wheeled tilting hand-truck, but had movers for the furniture.

A little over three years ago, we showed-up one day after driving over a thousand miles – we needed a place to stay. Our prayers were answered when we found ourselves living in a 2-story top-floor condo. Financially, I only expected to live there for less than two years. Yet, we lasted over three. I’m not sure why, but we randomly received some checks in the mail. We seem to come into enough money to scrape by when needed.

Then all of a sudden, the owners of the condo (I was renting) wanted to sell. It was an investment-property that didn’t pan-out and they wanted to cut their losses. I barely have enough money to rent, let alone buy, so purchasing wasn’t an option – therefore, I started packing. We ended up staying another four months.

A guy bought it and said we could probably stay until the middle of next year. But very soon afterwards, he re-listed the property for sale. And soon after that, he told us we had to be out by the end of this year. Your classic “kicked out for the holidays” tale.

To be fair, I didn’t mind leaving – I had a significant portion of my stuff packed anyway. It was a nice place and I would’ve considered buying it if I had the resources, but I’m fine with something different. The new place is a bit smaller though, so fitting stuff in has been the real challenge. The entire dining room was packed with boxes for over a week – but it’s almost empty (closets and cabinets are full though).

Well, that’s what’s been going on dear diary: dealing with a limbo-like living situation, unsure about where to live and what would happen. I was quite dissatisfied. So what could I do when all I saw were external problems? Turn inward. “When surrounded by darkness, should you not seek a light?”

I meditated a lot. Three times per day, about twenty minutes each – morning, afternoon, evening. I wrestled my mind, trying to remain calm. Then one day my wife came home and said she toured a condo for rent – and here we are. It’s nice enough, not as spacious, but it gets the job done and probably fits our family better for now.

Have a Magical Day

I’m about to tell a very self-indulgent tale, but it’s my story, a part of who I am. It’s a childish fantasy to be sure, but life often consists of pursuing our childhood dreams.

Soon after I turned 2 years old I was packed into a motorhome with the rest of my family and we traveled down to Walt Disney World. We stayed at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. During my childhood my family would go on two-week vacations every year to visit Mickey and the gang. In my life I never felt more safe or more at home than when I was within the confines of Disney World.

At my house, I sat in my room all day. At Disney I rode my bike to breakfast, ordered my favorite french toast, and made friends with another little boy as we sat eating our syrup soaked meals. I was independent and free to roam. Disney felt like home. When I neared adulthood I stopped accompanying my parents on their yearly pilgrimage. But eventually my parents retired — now take a wild guess where they moved? To a place not too far from Disney.

I was a young-adult still living with my parents at the time, so naturally I moved along with them. Within a month or two of arriving, my mother and my friend both got jobs working for the mouse. My friend and I were on a pretty tight budget so hanging out at Disney consisted of low-cost activities. Plus the house was a bit too far to go anytime we wanted. In short, it was no vacation.

Overall I was pretty unsatisfied living with my parents at that point. One day my friend told me to get in the car, she had to show me a place she saw while working. When we arrived at our destination my jaw dropped, I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. It was Celebration, the town that Disney built. The quaint little neighborhoods, the Water Street canal, the brick-lined street of the downtown — I needed to live there.

My friend and I didn’t have much money but Celebration even thought of that too. They had something called “garage apartments”, little rentable studio apartments located above people’s garages. But unfortunately, we were a bit too unimpressed by the offerings. I continued looking through listings while keeping my eye on a particular top-floor condo overlooking Water Street.

By some miracle, I found a well-paying work-at-home computer-programming position and my budget increased significantly. I was able to rent the condo I wanted. My friend and I moved in. In the evenings we would often walk down to the diner, then sit at the counter eating meatloaf and coconut cream pie, or sometimes we’d go to the tavern and have blackened prime-rib sandwiches.

But unfortunately I was busy working most of the time, the condo was crawling with palmetto bugs, and the sound of leaf-blowers woke me up every morning. It wasn’t quite the fantasy I imagined. But no biggie, I simply moved to a different set of condos, the ones I envied from the very first day I visited Celebration — the ones named Mirasol. We lived in a top-floor 2-bedroom unit with a balcony from which we could view the fireworks.

From Celebration we could drive to wherever we wanted in Disney. We’d often head over to different resorts to have lunch or dinner and walk around. My favorite restaurant was Boma, the buffet at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. As far as parks, our favorite activity was simply walking through the World Showcase in Epcot and finishing up with some sweet treats at the Boulangerie-Patisserie.

Eventually my foray into the business world began to crumble. I was going to lose my income so I was starting to sour towards everything in my vicinity. I left Florida not long after and returned to the region of my birth. I felt a sense of relief when I got back to snow-country, vowing never to return to that wicked land of hurricanes and heat.

It’s almost the ten-year anniversary of our Disney Fairy Tale Wedding. We were legally married in the northeast but my friend insisted on a fancy wedding at Disney. She received a discount since she worked for Mickey. My friend is a bit of an enchantress, so in the almost two-decades I’ve known her, she’s persuaded me to believe in magic. She’s recently convinced me that we should go back and live in Disney.

Yes that’s right, inside of Disney. I always wanted to live in Fort Wilderness, so it infused me with childlike delight when I first learned of Golden Oak, Disney’s luxury resort community located literally down the street from Fort Wilderness. I knew of its existence before I left Florida, I even drove past the newly constructed gate a few times, before there were any houses built.

I felt a bit emotional the other day when I thought about actually living in Disney World, like I had always wanted to do. It felt right, like I was finally going home. Disney was the only place I felt a sense of belonging and comforting familiarity. I can go on and on about Disney and all the places within it. But me and Disney, we parted on bad terms. But maybe, just maybe we were meant to be.

Of course it’s a fantasy to think I could ever afford to live in Golden Oak. But my friend made me believe in magic, and with magic anything’s possible. I would most likely need to win the lottery to make it happen, but I’m open to other windfalls as well. Why not, right? I’ve abandoned pessimism as my underlying philosophy of life, have I gone too far in the opposite direction? I really hope so.

I think of this not just for myself of course, since I’ve proven that I can subsist within a tiny room with minimal outside contact. But my friend asked this of me, the friend that removed the thorn of loneliness that plagued me throughout the first half of my life. For her I’m willing to restructure my concept of reality. Why not, right? And so they lived happily ever after….

Alternate Surroundings

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Alien on Earth.

Based on what surrounds me, I can only assume that people like speeding around in cars without regard for others – despite the inherent risks, they enjoy foods with invented ingredients – eschewing what’s simple and fresh, they like an intensely competitive economy with its challenge of attaining the essentials of existence, they like that the weak are persecuted, they accept racism and the conditions it causes, they enjoy interacting with well-armed rule-enforcers that harm with impunity, they receive satisfaction knowing fellow citizens are incarcerated, they enjoy the farcical election process and the resulting government that masquerades as democracy, they enjoy the endless propaganda that turns bad into good – allowing the acceptance of atrocities, they like corporate hegemony and the influence it has over their lives, they like militarism and the wanton death and destruction it delivers around the globe — because if they did not like these aspects of their society, they would not allow them to persist.

I’ve always viewed these conditions as evidence of a broken society, yet it turns out that I am simply a misfit that does not belong. And I can accept this, because we all have our preferences. I’m merely in the wrong place, and should relocate to a locale befitting my inclinations. It would be presumptuous to assume these conditions exist despite the wishes of the people, that they’re forced or tricked into compliance. Who am I to make that judgement? Somebody wants these conditions to exist, who am I to challenge or change them?

There are many incompatible ideas that don’t allow for compromise. So it’s only right that such incompatibilities be separated by borders. For instance, I would choose to live in a place that’s walkable, that’s filled with elegant architecture, a place that limits the size of corporate collectives, has ceilings as well as floors placed upon personal wealth, has unarmed rule enforcers, a place that educates within small attentive groups, a place that strives for fairness and equality, a place that instills in every citizen an understanding and appreciation for why their society is structured the way it is, a place that produces the bulk of what it consumes, a place that values wholesome authentic food, a place that ensures its people lead meaningful lives — that is the society in which I would want to live.

Bon Voyage

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Life in Exile

I don’t think I fit well with the culture I was born into. I don’t like driving in cars to get everywhere, air-travel, a highly competitive and unbalanced market economy, industrialized food production, rampant racism with its resultant underclass, gun-carrying law enforcers, violent retribution, fraudulent government, corporate hegemony, militarism, prevalent propaganda, a history of unrepentant atrocities, the extreme weather shifts, and the lack of quaint structures.

Certainly there must be some locations around the globe lacking the depth and scale of these issues. I would much prefer a place that allows for travel by foot, bike, boat, or sometimes train, has a government that at least pretends to care for its people, is filled with old-world construction, has a mild climate, and serves fresh food with simple basic ingredients.

Should I ever have the means, I may hop aboard a transatlantic cruise traveling the northern route. But if I should ever embark on such a journey, I’m of the mind that I’ll not return from whence I came — perhaps remaining as a perpetual tourist. Again, problems exist in all locations, but sometimes a toxic relationship is best severed.

I don’t know if life would be better, but sometimes “different” is best. There’s no sense of home to miss, no place I’d treasure, no livelihood to leave. When my ancestors arrived over two centuries ago, they left their stagnant homelands in the hopes of finding a better life. It would be fitting then, and following in their footsteps, to travel to new lands in search of greener pasture.

Ghastly Dream

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Life in Exile

I am in my study, gazing out across the glorious view, an early evening in autumn, fire crackling, brandy in hand while seated in my leather chair, having just retired from dinner. Tonight, roasted meats and root vegetable with a splash of corn, served alongside a diluted deep red wine. The musicians still playing, entertainment after eating, all Baroque selections.

But of course, this is not the life I live, and there is no direct path to this place, one is either born into it or carried by a mystical twist of fate. No, I was born into this little body, dwelling in this hovel, beholden to an aged matriarch for my sustenance. So of course I am unable to perceive the beauty of life through this lens, this life does not match the preferences inherent to my mind.

But I do not lament living a life with which I cannot identify, this is what is, I am provided no choice but to accept. Yet should I ever meet the fellow that placed me here, I shall shake his hand while placing my knee to his nuts. For this life of anxious confusion and repeated disappointment, perhaps he will forgive my minor transgression of etiquette.

Not only am I witness to my own malady, but from my vantage point I am well informed as to the suffering of others. Perhaps this life is but a Dickensian dream, a ghostly warning to care for the welfare of others beyond my isolated world of fulfilled wants. If that is the case, let me assure my dear ghostly guides, a lesson has been learnt — now please may I awake, perhaps Christmas is not yet over.

Economic Expectations

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Life in Exile

I’m a trans-class, meaning my class identity does not match my assigned socio-economic status. I don’t say this lightly — it is no joke or parody. Everything I think and feel is as a person at the top of a societal hierarchy — unfortunately though, my situation is such that I physically occupy one of the lowest rungs.

I expect special treatment and privilege, it feels right to have money available to spend at will, laboring for a wage feels wrong, when I view an estate it stirs something, to see grand entranceways and gardens and water features and statuary — I sense home, a home in which I sip brandy by the fire following a meal of cruelty-free farm fresh foods. I enjoy managing money, delving into the depths of governance, determining the consequence of policy, and I wish to be a worthy steward of any resources I may manage. And underlying it all, I relish the paternal nature I sense inside myself.

The elites of a society are those that direct its course and character, they are the caretakers whose role and responsibility it is to ensure all receive their share. They may sit at the head of the table, but for this honor they partake in the burden of providing guidance to the many. It is not a life of leisure, but one of sacrifice, as one must share the suffering of the people, responding and resolving issues in due course.

This is not a matter of accumulating material wealth, but attaining a position of prestige and the associated social responsibility with which one may influence a society. And it is certainly not a matter of superiority, perceiving oneself better than another, as no individual is greater than any of whom comprise the whole. It is simply the role that some must occupy within a community — individuals seek fulfillment in various forms, valuing a multitude of activities and functions.

I of course realize that this is the least sympathetic affliction one could ever possess — which is why I rarely speak of it, remaining closeted. I do not seek pity, but to simply document my expectations of life and how they differ from actualities. I hope for reassignment, yes, but accept what comes. Yet I am always left wondering: are these thoughts a preparation for what’s to come or merely vestiges of a past-life once lived.

In Richland

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Life in Richland

In Richland, folks take life a bit slower. No one’s in a rush to get anywhere, walking to most places, casually biking to others, and driving their small electric vehicles when called for, traveling no faster than 15 mph.

There’s a number of bakeries in Richland, folks love to eat. Restaurants too, all-natural wholesome food, and everything costs what it costs, no one’s trying to take more than they need. Life’s better when everyone has the means to participate.

Schools are a top priority in Richland. Teachers are respected, selected for their patience and willingness to engage in thoughtful discussions with students. Kids know they’re valued members of the community, and their transition to adulthood has plenty of helping hands.

It’s a simple life in Richland, some grow food, others bake pies, there’s builders and woodworkers, artists and writers, teachers and chefs — and there’s those that haven’t yet found their path. Folks take a lighthearted approach to life, making sure everyone has a good time.