Zhadi's Den

Random essays on wine, writing, moving to San Francisco, surfing, cats (exotic and otherwise) and zombies...depending on my mood.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Moving to San Francisco - The Prequel

I've moved several times over my 40-some odd years (some VERY odd years). The first move was only three days in duration (I had a fight with my dad and decided to take all my clothes and some of my furniture to a friend's house), but it gave me a preview of what a pain in the ass it is to relocate when you're a packrat.

Second time was actually to Berkeley with Chris, my then-fiance (a theatrical combat choreographer, first in the long line of swordsmen I've hooked up with...But that's another post!) and a high school friend, Debbie Lee. Having not learned from my three day hissy fit, I again took all of my clothes, including a substantial costume collection (and lemme tell you, Renaissance Faire gypsy costumes with ruffles take up a hell of a lot of room), and hogged all the closet space in the one bedroom house Debbie found in the cheap part of Berkeley, also known as 'the heroin district.'

That lasted all of two months, during which I spent most of my time: drinking white zinfandel out of a box with Debbie; hanging at Cafe Roma, across the street from campus, chowing down on croissants and white chocolate mochas, and people watching; or hanging out at American Fencers Supply with Chris. I was homesick and wanted to go back to San Diego. Yup, I wanted my mommy.

Back in San Diego, I stayed briefly with my parents, then found a place for me and Chris in Hillcrest, a teensy one-bedroom place off of an alley near the local Liquor Barn. It had no closet space to speak of and there was a hole in the bathroom floor. My cat, Zhadi, would stare down into the inky darkness for hours. It made me think of the well to hell in The Amityville Horror (you know, the movie where for some inexplicable reason Margot Kidder wears one legwarmer and a flower in her hair while her daughter communes with Jody the pig). The place was a pit, I was working full time at the IRS while Chris, between jobs, stayed home and smoked pot from morning till night (doing dishes was not in his repertoire either). It was definitely one of those life lesson experiences, even if I still insisted on keeping my entire wardrobe.

From there, I moved into a new apartment (and into a new relationship as well) about a mile east. There was ample room in the garage for my belongings that didn't fit into the spare bedroom and for once I had enough closet space. What I didn't have was common sense; if you're going to get involved with an actor while you're working together in a movie or play, wait and see if the relationship makes it past two months before cohabitation. On the other hand, if you're just not happy if you're not moving every few months, hey, follow my lead, Julia Roberts!
I was out of there in three months.*

*(Our professional relationship lasted a little longer; we'd been cast opposite each other as Amanda and Elliot in Noel Cowards "Private Lives." While I can't say that I actually took pleasure breaking a record over his head for 12 performances...oh,hell, yes I can. It was very satisfying and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Hah!)

Nursing a bit of a broken heart (the healing process was aided by the broken records), I moved back into my old room at my parent's house, clothes and costumes alike jammed into one small closet, my furniture back in my childhood habitat. Then, another apartment (in Clairemont/Mission Bay Park this time), and another relationship, this one leading to marriage. The living situation and engagement/marriage lasted about two years. Discovering that my husband was a bit of a sociopath was bad enough, but he was also a poser. Bad enough that he insisted on being called Julien Quire (his real name was Peter). But would anyone in their right mind (or someone not a 17 year old Goth with no sense of humor) want to stay with a man who thought it was cool to wear a fake Heidelberg dueling scar and vampire fangs in public? No, it was time to move on.

I moved up to Los Angeles to be with Brian. We'd met because of swords and swordfighting, hooking up at a Science Fiction Convention (yeah, yeah, I hear the Geek Alert Alarm going off) a few months before I married Peter. I was driving up to L.A. to see Brian practically every weekend, living on adrenaline and No-Doze. I was getting so little sleep that I'd hallucinate while awake. Luckily I was carpooling to work; seeing the freeway turn into desert and watching roadrunners jog alongside the car probably wouldn't have been nearly as interesting if I'd been driving. But it was clear that if I was going to date Brian, I had to move. It meant that I could give being an actress a real go, rather than just fantasize about what it would be like to be on the cover of People Magazine.

My relationship (including marriage) with Brian lasted over 17 years, longer than my career as a low budget movie actress. Not to say I didn't move during that time. I moved from a condo in Van Nuys to a funky building on Adams Avenue that had once been a theater. Would've stayed there longer, but my landlord (and longtime friend) started renting it out to porn companies. Nothing starts the day like waking up to the sound of simulated orgasm. Better than that first cup of java, folks! I didn't even want to think about what went on in the sauna, an amenity of the place that I'd enjoyed until the day I found a bottle of half-empty lube on the tiles. Yuck.

Back home to the parents yet again, this time to stay in a bedroom that'd been tucked into the garage, most of my stuff in storage. It was back to commuting back and forth to see Brian, although he spent more time driving down to San Diego than he had before. He had moved out from the condo and into a house in Glendale with some friends from college. We finally got engaged, they moved out, I moved in. I now had a three bedroom Craftsman style bungalow complete with backyard, storage shed, and a walk-in closet. I collected old steamer trunks for my costumes. My collection of antique glass finally came out of the boxes it'd been stored in for the last few years, displayed instead on built-in shelves in the large dining room. And the kitchen had enough cabinets for far more dishes than either I or Brian had acquired over the years. Finally, enough space for my stuff and his stuff, with room to spare.

Hah.

There's some sort of law of physics that says, if there is empty space, it's only a matter of time before that space is filled. Empty bookshelf? Buy more books! Closets not stuffed full? Buy more clothes! We won't even talk about the knicknacks, toys, swords, pictures, CDs, videotapes, DVDs, cats...the list is both eccletic and endless. The thought of ever moving again wasn't just daunting; it seemed impossible without great flipping wodges of cash. Which we didn't have. And wouldn't, unless that big script sale happened (and that's another subject entirely). So we stayed and stagnated and collected stuff, while I ignored my growing dissatisfaction with my life and made all sorts of excuses why I couldn't leave.

I took things to Salvation Army, gave them away to friends, sold old childhood toys and vintage Victoria's Secret catalogs on Ebay. Did you know that an old Supergirl action figure can get you 80 bucks? Despite my efforts, by the time I made the decision to leave my marriage and move to San Francisco, the house was still crammed full of things. Sorting and packing, not to mention figuring out who was going to keep what, was the most daunting task I'd ever faced. Yeah, Sisyphus, stop whining about pushing that boulder up the hill and come try something REALLY hard, ya pansy!

And there wasn't enough red wine in the world to make it any easier...

To be continued...

3 Comments:

  • At 11:58 PM, Blogger Other Lisa said…

    GREAT post. The only place where I went, "huh?" a little was the "moved a mile east...if you are going to cohabitate with an actor..." paragraph. I think you need one sentence of explanation about this relationship right around the "moved a mile east" graph.

    otherwise, great fun in a serious way...

     
  • At 8:06 AM, Blogger zhadi said…

    I will take a look and see if I can clarify it. Hey, that was over 1300 words (I think it may have even been over 1400) and I wrote it in a couple of hours. Gotta love that kind of productivity...

     
  • At 1:10 PM, Blogger Other Lisa said…

    Gotta love that kind of productivity...

    This is to me one of the best things about blogging, especially when you're between big projects and trying to figure out what to do next. The discipline of trying to publish something regularly really does spur productivity...

     

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