It’s Been One Week

It’s Sunday night, and I feel ok. Things are starting to click into place.

Mostly, I finally got to do a load of laundry. The first in my new place, for $2.75 in quarters. In the words of my neighbor, “it’s an old hag of a machine.” He’s talking about the washing machine in our building. Only the cold settings work, but they work. I feel a lot better about the upcoming week with some clean clothes, and not just the leftovers from the move.

Speaking of neighbors, I’ve met two of them. Rego(?), the guy across the hall, said hi as I was moving in, and that we should get together once I’m settled. I hear him getting home sometimes, and I tell myself I’ll pop out and say hi next time, maybe get his number. I should do that.

Below Rego lives Noah, and who I assume is his girlfriend. Noah introduced himself while I was taking the trash out the other night. I awkwardly knocked on his door Friday night to see what they were up to, only slightly drunk with a bottle of whiskey in my hand. They were on their way to bed. Today I ran into him again, and we exchanged numbers, so he must not have been too put off by the late night visit. The timing was good, because I needed his laundry insight.

Today was also the day I finally unpacked the last of the boxes. Just some electronics and books that don’t have anywhere to go, but at least they’re not in boxes. They’re stacked on awkward out-of-the-way shelves, which my place has a few of, and my cat enjoys. She found her way to the very top of the tall closet today, and back down again. I’m glad she’s finding better places than where she spent her first day in the apartment.

Last week when I was moving in, I put her in the bathroom with food and water as the movers were unloading. We had been traveling since about 8 that morning, which she took really well. The rides to and from the airport, security, the flight – barely a noise. I’d put my hand in the top of her carrier and scratch the top of her head, which might have soothed me more than her. I was looking forward to saying goodbye to the movers and plopping down on the bed as Niko and I took in the new place.

I came back from a quick run for cat litter, and I couldn’t find her in the bathroom. Then I saw that she had pulled a panel off the side of the bath tub, and she’s crawled into what’s essentially a hole in the wall. She was just sitting in this hole, surrounded by plumbing, in what seemed to be a really tight space. Long story short, she crawled out twelve hours later when I turned all the lights off and laid down in bed. I did not enjoy those twelve additional hours of stress, wondering if I’d have to get the fire department to tear my tub out. I’m glad I had friends to talk me down.

Things are a lot better now. The stress of moving, which was huge for me, has dissipated. Especially now that the first week is over. I’ve figured out where things are in neighborhood, how to cook in my new kitchen, how to pay my rent and utilities, how to do laundry, where the trash is, who my neighbors are, all that kind of stuff. I even did a Costco supply run with a coworker today.

Now I can move on to the task of filling this place out. I’ve got a desk and chair coming on Tuesday, so I no longer have to use my dresser corner and piano bench. There’s a bathroom rug on the way, and I’m about to pick out a lamp – my bedroom has no lighting otherwise. I’m waiting on the bigger stuff, like a couch or TV stand or bookcase, until I get a full month under my belt and can get a better sense of my budget.

There’s also a bit of apartment maintenance to be done. I have a lot of windows, and they all need curtains. There’s a fair amount of heat escaping without them, which is also why I need some draft blockers for the three doors. I should hang the art I have, and find some more. The light in the kitchen just went out again, I’ll have to look into that. In the long run, this place could use a paint job, and the cabinets could really use some love. I’m determined to make this place into a respectable apartment. Mostly, I want it to feel like mine.

The last big part of settling in was the first week of work, which I think went well. We’re certainly a scrappy bay area startup, but it all seems within the bounds of what’s normal. I like my coworkers, which helps. There’s a lot of work to do, but I feel like I’ve got the support I need to do it. For now, that’s about all I can say.

With the first week out of the way, I’m hoping I feel settled enough to start being social. I’ll have to muster up the courage and energy, but I’ve got some promising leads, and I’m convinced that I’ll find good people if I put in the time. Hopefully you’ll see some blog posts in the near future about talking to strangers!

See you tomorrow, week two.

Goodbye Hello

Goodbye Seattle.

To you, there are things I leave.

I leave you my best friends. Friends I spent hundreds of hours playing and making games with. Friends I made by going to your oldest university and working at your flagship companies. Friends I made by dancing with your creative weirdoes. Friends I dated, and grew close to, and relied on. Friends that taught me everything I know. Please take care of the friends I leave you, because they gave me the courage to leave them.

I leave you old hobbies. A network of game stores that nearly pulled me out of college. A Kiki-Jiki targeting a Pestermite. A max-level undead priest. An encouraging piano teacher and a few jam sessions. A dozen half-written blog posts scattered around your coffee shops. A couple punching bags and borrowed gloves. A modest album of pictures I took. A small coding project every two years and a few lost semicolons. Many of rows and columns. Movie ticket stubs in back pockets. You’ll have to share some of these with my new city, but you can keep a few.

I leave you too much stress. You can keep the stress of moving, which nearly crippled me. (Thanks again, friends.) Most of all, you can keep the stress of work, as much as I can leave behind. The crushing weight of decisions that drove me over the edge too many times. Habits and mindsets that I want to call old habits and mindsets. You can tuck these away, maybe the troll wants them.

Lastly, I leave you a few too many days without sun.

Hello Oakland. Hello San Francisco.

For you, there are things I bring.

I bring a desire to learn more about the world, even if it’s just one step past Washington, which was just one small step past Montana. I bring a curiosity about your culture and diversity. A desire to understand the extremities and oddities of how you work. The way you party, and how your weirdos are different from my weirdos. The way you walk and drink coffee and shop and write. The way you get from place to place.

I bring a need for new friends. Maybe even, hopefully even, a few romantic ones. Like-minded people to relax with. Different-minded people to talk to. Maybe I’ll find them when I’m dancing, if I can brave the crowds. Maybe I’ll find them while drinking, if I can brave the conversation. Maybe I’ll find them while dating, if I can brave the people. I’ll forge new hobbies, and strengthen old ones, and hopefully friends will be there.

I bring a desire to do good work. To embrace and shape the culture of my new office. To learn and leverage my skills and theirs. To think clearly and calmly, to do the best I can with the time I have, to make something we’re proud of. To seek success with a clear conscience, and to raise the bar. I bring the drive to contribute something positive to the industry, even as just one small designer. Maybe I bring too much, we’ll see.

Lastly, I ask for you help. I bring the hope to write more, to record what this experience is, and to get better at doing it. Help me to find the motivation to stick with it, and the courage to share it.

I see a group of holy men and women split equally at a crosswalk, an age-old sign that my work here is done.

Eight garbs wore,
Split by four.
Time is short,
Resolve your chore.

-Jon

The Thai Place

This is a story about my anxiety, and the thought process behind the things I say. In this case, a single sentence. Just one noun, really. A particularly squirly one, crafted from an odd situation: the intersection of a casual conversation and a delicate reference. A delicacy that, in all likelihood, exists only in my mind.

I was in an email chain with three friends I used to eat lunch with every week. Tom and Sean work up the street, and Brandon is my old boss and longtime friend. He was recently in the awkward position of having to let me go, hence the delicacy.

We were trying to figure out if there was time for one final group lunch before I leave, since I’m moving to San Francisco. I had just been told when my movers were showing up, so I finally knew my schedule.

“Looks like I can make it! It’s in my calendar.” Send.

“Sweet! Obviously your choice on where to meet,” Sean replied.

Reply all. “Oh, hmmm…” I thought while typing. I know! The Thai place! I can’t remember the name…

The one across from…where I used to work…oh god what do I call them…

DropForge? No, the studio name changed, that’s not them anymore. Using it sounds like I’m in some weird denial.

WGCells? No, we never really called it that while I was there. Sounds too formal in an obvious way.

Brandon’s office? No, it’s more general, but still sounds too formal. Like I’m pointing out that he’s claimed the territory.

Brandon’s work? No, now that it’s casual it sounds like I don’t exactly know where he works. Like I’m pretending to have forgotten.

Brandon’s? No, it’s not as specific, but it’s so informal that it depends on context. It would work in an active chat, but this looks like I’m rushing an email.

The Transit Center? No. It’s technically factual, but the reference is so unexpected that they might think I mean a different place.

The Bellevue…Whatever…Tower? No, I can’t even remember that building’s name.

That Thai Place? No, I like the switch in tactic, but there are too many Thai places. Maybe I mean a specific favorite, like the place we used to eat at. A classic.

…oh come on, am I really going to have to look up the name of this place? Is this what my life has come to? Fine, you win – OH WAIT! I remember now.

Nibbana!

…eh, now that I think about it, we should eat somewhere else. I liked their convenience and speed, but we should take our time with this lunch and do something special. Oh, I know the perfect place!

“Let’s do Lot #8!” Send.

…shit, it’s Lot #3.

GOD DAMMIT