(I still love my sweet husband, but I am no longer the other two, and frankly I couldn't care less.)
For those who don't know DL, he is a chemical engineer and those jobs used to be in demand, which is how he got to be the focus of a bidding war and we moved from NY to NC. (Alphabetically, they are close. Geographically and culturally? Notsomuch.)
|Courtesy NY Daily News|
And I left behind everything I had ever known.
DL didn't care--he was all about work--his identity was all wrapped up in his work--and I was just along for the ride. I knew NC would have milder winters (bonus!) but that was all I really knew about the southeastern US. I had never ventured farther south than Virginia, which seemed not too different. So I thought, 'Why the heck not?'
DL moved down in July of 1984 and then I followed in early August, having stayed behind to supervise the moving company and finish out my contract with the company I worked for. We had moved from a small house to an even smaller apartment, and DL had a sleeping bag, one chair, and a floor lamp.
And that was it.
For two days, we waited for our furniture to arrive, living at the Holiday Inn while thinking he would get the call any minute. (This was in the time before cell phones, which was shortly after the asteroid took out the dinosaurs.)
But they didn't call.
On the third day, we got wind of our moving truck. It had broken down somewhere in New England. (To which I responded, "Isn't that the wrong direction?") Our furniture wouldn't be there for another four or five days.
Now, DL didn't care. He was at work from 7 in the morning until 6:30 in the evening, and there was no question that he could keep busy and engaged. I, however, was living at the dadgum Holiday Inn.
Bored to tears, much?
So every day I would try to find a new adventure. I drove aimlessly around town (not knowing ONE SINGLE PERSON in the entire state, other than DL) and looked for stuff to do. The Holiday Inn tried to be helpful, but there's only so much they could tell me...they knew the mall and Reynolda Village, but that was about it. I had better malls at home, and my one trip to Reynolda Village ended up with me having to actually write the word 'hot dog' on a piece of paper because the lady couldn't understand what I was saying.
I cried every single day. Ugly crying with sobbing and a runny nose and boogers.
And then I'd go back to the Holiday Inn and wipe my face with a cold cloth and wait for DL to get back from work.
I wanted to leave. I wanted to leave so badly that I went out and bought an extra toothbrush and tube of toothpaste and put them in the glove compartment of my car. I thought that if one more person couldn't understand what I was saying, I would get back in my car and head north and maybe just drive into the lake.
But then I found the Olympics. It was Joan Benoit (she makes blueberry jam!) winning the marathon and Zola Budd (she runs barefoot!) tripping Mary Decker and Mary Lou Retton (she's from West Virginia!) winning the first gymnastics gold All-Around for the US. It was learning that one does not pronounce Joaquin as Joe-Ay-Quinn.
After a day of driving and crying, I knew I could lay on the bed at the Holiday Inn and look forward to something that connected me to the outside world. I didn't even care that DL would rush through dinner to get back to paperwork...I had the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, coming to me from Los Angeles.
And when the furniture finally showed up, I figured I'd stay.