Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Conversations: #1

I've basically ceased to exist as a human being at this point, now just a huge entity of moving.

Almost everything I do is related to moving, including the people I speak to as I cancel various services. Most of them have interesting stories, too, and I'm going to tell a few of them, starting with today's gym cancellation.

I'd seen this lady at the counter before--older, red hair, a little less than average height. I'd always thought she was a bit unfriendly.

I told her we were moving and that I needed to cancel my membership. "Where are you moving?" she asked.

"Michigan," I said.

"Oh, I moved here three years ago from a little town in Ohio," she said.

I told her that I found people in the Midwest genuinely friendly, while Texas people were friendly but had a kind of swagger to many of them that I had never been comfortable with.

"I don't find this city very friendly," she said softly, and there was such melancholy in her voice, a kind of quiet resignation. She said that neighborhoods didn't really exist in Austin, just a collection of people with cars who never spent any time out of them.

I'm used to that, but she clearly wasn't, and it deeply bothered her.

She grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia, then moved to Ohio when she got married. It was an enormous cultural shift ("You wouldn't even believe it," she said), but she enjoyed Ohio and how close-knit people were in the small town where she lived.

She hadn't enjoyed it this time. It was too different here. She was rootless.

I wish I had asked her sooner.

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