Drive Away

 

Not all those who wander are lost.J. R. R. Tolkien.pngA former partner used to comment on my wanderlust rather frequently. I’d go for long walks. I was constantly dreaming of a place anywhere but where I was. I wanted nothing more than to walk into the woods and sometimes, just sometimes, never have to leave the tangled mess of Grendel’s forest. All of these are very atypical for the average Cancerian.

We had a shared passion for astrology when it was convenient to us and both of us being Cancers, it was a common topic of discussion that I had such a desire to “get lost”.

Cancers are supposed to be homebodies; my partner certainly was. I absolutely have it in my character to be a homebody and my friends can attest to the fact that sometimes I am often heard and seldom seen. But upon further research, an interesting concept did appear.

A Cancer, like a real Crab, often picks up its home wherever it goes and if it feels it has no home to return to; a crab will wander until it finds a suitable home.

Now for some context, this was during a time of my life shortly after the passing of my mother and during one of the most tumultuous phases of my home life. My aunts were at times unsympathetic, the economy was bad and my grandmother was sick. And even though I was physically at home in North Texas I felt very far from being anywhere that felt like home. I had returned from San Antonio after graduating from college and hoped to find myself in North Texas. That didn’t work out for me and I returned to San Antonio to start my life.

I left behind plenty of people in that move but I did what felt right.

I wanted to find my home. I wanted to build a home because I embraced that the nostalgic view of home I had no longer existed. My nuclear family had died, my aunts struggled to deal with a melancholy college grad. We were no longer in the home I was raised in: we were far from it. All of the things were of value to me were either movable or didn’t exist anymore. Friendships don’t usually just vanish over miles and I’ve managed to keep many of my North Texas friends since I moved: sure, things have been difficult but not impossible.

I built a happy home in San Antonio and even though lovers, partners and friends have come and gone I did find home. I found routine. I found security. I found stability.

But every once in awhile a pang of anxiety will coax me from my bed. Every once in awhile a twinge of fear will stop me from my sewing. And before I got my handsome car, usually in those moments I’d either hop on the next bus to anywhere but home or I’d sit and distract myself until the negative thoughts went away.

Now that I have a car, I find that I go on drives. Amber and I are known for our weekend trips. I for a while drove back and forth to Austin daily. The drives to North Texas have gotten easier and easier. I am a bit of a road warrior. Give me a good playlist and most road trips are pretty easy to manage, even alone. They get better with company. I’ve even considered a few trips on my own to find myself.

So now if those same invasive negative thoughts creep in, despite the time of day or night, I can hop in the car and go for a drive. I can go to the park and go for a walk. Go to the mall and just people watch. I can go to the museum and embrace a culture that isn’t mine. I can go to the library and get books I no longer have self space for but will never turn down.  

Despite my pugnacious personality, I rather dislike conflict. And when things are less than kind, I much rather walk away. I much rather distance myself from a bad situation than stay in a non-productive argument. Like a hermit crab, I will pick up my shell and walk until I find more hospitable waters.

Sometimes it’s okay to walk away from a conversation that isn’t going anywhere. Sometimes it’s okay to avoid pain. If a crab has a home, even one it likes a lot, it will leave it behind if it is repeatedly shocked or subjected to torments or acidic waters.

Home is where you set up camp and home is almost always inside of you and those you care for most.

Time, Task, Manage

-Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.-Theophrastus

I recently got a car.

His name is Kurogane. He’s great. I like him a lot.

But I’m not here to talk about car ownership. I’m here to talk about time.

The reason I got the car was for a job opportunity in Austin. I didn’t want to move right away. I made the drive to and from Austin for about a month. That’s about 180 miles a day and about 4 hours a day total just driving in the car. I took it in stride for the most part: it was time to listen to podcasts and just be anywhere but home. I’m from North Texas: 2 hours is a bad night’s worth of traffic from Dallas.

I recently left the Austin job not because of the commute but because I didn’t like what I was commuting for. I took another job in San Antonio and it’s a much better fit and I’m much happier.

Now for a little bit of context: up until this point in my time here in San Antonio I’ve been relying on public transit. I loved busing it. I didn’t have to worry about parking it wasn’t so unreliable. It was nice. I lived on a bus route and it didn’t take me long to get to many places. I did however take a lot of time to get to places I really enjoy but I took it in stride: planned out my weekends more carefully and moved things around. It fed the part of me that is a meticulous planner (and you can find out more about that here) and I didn’t have much to complain about. But my concept of time was radically different. It took me easily about an hour just to get anywhere and that wasn’t factoring in how quickly I walked various places. Nothing was spontaneous. Nothing happened without some planning. Nothing happened just out the blue. I did miss out on things: but not too many things.

Having a car changed some of those things. I can get to the hair stylist without having to take 2 buses and at least an hour. I can get food whenever I want to (that’s a very dangerous power to have). I can leave the city of San Antonio as I’m sure you all can see based on the day trips I’ve taken (I’ll write a blog post about that soon). But now my concept of time is radically different. Everything can be just a few minutes away.

With everything just a stone’s throw away I’ve become somewhat more impatient. I don’t like having to wait. I can just decide to go anywhere and do anything. I also don’t like driving long distances without company. I plan even more carefully because of traffic. I found myself recently complaining about a 20 or 30 minute drive to work and then it hits me all of the sudden that just this time a few weeks ago my drive was an hour and a half without traffic or at least 45 minutes on the bus. Where do I have room to complain?

I’ve mellowed out a lot about traffic and actually now that I have a car I’m actually probably at home even more: I dislike paying for gas despite having a hybrid car. But the idea that an hour is an hour and a minute isn’t always that is an interesting and fantastic concept. Think of how trains made modern time.