As of today, I have been in Tucson, Arizona, for three weeks. It's my second attempt at a great escape, but this time there is no penis involved. Well, Spawn is here and he is the primary reason for my compass pointed in this direction (seems a lot of us old-timers are doing this to our kids), and he has a penis, I’m sure, but last I thought about that was some 22 or 23 years ago when it was a “winkie” and before I started forking over extra rent money for separate bathrooms. So, there’s a penis, but not one I’ve thought about until typing this just now. I’m also here to work on my Native American Studies project for school and to find out if that might lead me down a new, more useful path someday. And to look at stuff, of course.
I’m “airbnbing” (the whole world’s a verb!) in one of a series of nine adobe townhomes originally built in the 1880s and refurbished in the early 2000s. It is on South Convent Avenue. My first week, I had a next door neighbor named Olga. These were, of course, the most comforting signs the Universe could offer me: a Convent and an Olga.
Originally, I was to be here for a couple of weeks, but the owner has the complex up for sale and made me an offer to stay through the first week of April that I couldn’t refuse, as they say. This is also a comfort, because I get to give the town a fighting chance to hire me.
When I first arrived, the owner took me on a tour of all the adobes, each unique and with a story to tell. He was very proud to tell me that, a few months ago, Diane Keaton had made an offer that he turned down, because he had too much money (and, I suspect, heart) invested in the project. Then, today, three weeks later, I opened my email to a message from him that said:
Subject: Diane Keaton is coming on Saturday
Apparently, Ms. Keaton is coming back for a second look-see. And, in particular, she wants to tour my little adobe. One of her requirements is that the owner and his agent be nowhere nearby. For some reason, he assumes this rule applies to me too, so he has very politely asked me to skedaddle. But Ms. Keaton made absolutely no mention of not wanting to meet me. Soooo………………
I’m going to tidy it up a little and hide my unmentionables, but I think, when she arrives, I’ll either be reading on the couch and pretending that I completely forgot Diane Keaton was coming on Saturday, or I’ll sit in my car and watch from the street, but leave something (I haven’t decided what) that might catch her eye, so I can always think Diane Keaton took notice of it. Perhaps, a resume. She’ll look at it and hire me on the spot to be her Tucson personal assistant or Adobe Manager. I can end my days fetching wine and ice and hats and irons and movie scripts.
One of my favorite movies that I think I’ve watched one time less than I’ve watched Pride and Prejudice is Something’s Gotta Give. Big fan, I am. The thought of her near my stuff is a lot. If I weren’t set on cremation, I would want “Diane Keaton is coming on Saturday” on my tombstone. Well, that’s not a good outcome for her, so I take that back. Cremation is still best.
I have a few more weeks here before I give up and return to what, I don’t know. The weather has been incredible. The people have been warm and welcoming and refreshingly lacking any sense of real urgency. The sunsets are, of course, transcendental. There are no words for the full moon rising between the mountains, the spring desert flowers, the saguaro, the Texas Mountain Laurels that smell like grape soda, the Mesquite trees full of hummingbirds, the Mission, the Reservations, the parks, the University, and all the new things to learn. But most of all, there are no words for the room to breathe.
Now, I know if I get to stay, there is a heat to come. I’m asked, “Have you been here in the summer?” I say, “No, but I’ve heard it’s a dry heat.” And people laugh. So I know it’s not messing around. Arizona doesn’t change the clocks for Daylight Saving Time because, and I quote, “It’s too damn hot for any more daylight.” But the way I see it, I’d rather be inside with sun streaming through the windows for a few months a year, than inside fighting for happiness with the Indiana Grays or the Georgia Humidity.
I’ve been quiet about this escape attempt, because I was loud about the one in 2014 and we all know how well that turned out. Speaking of, I thought the trip here would rid me of the haunting thoughts, but it hasn’t. My life is still divided into two parts: The Before and The After, and I now think it might always be. I’m determined more than ever to find my funny, though. I’ve noticed that in interviews here, I’ve been much lighter, less draining, and maybe a little more fun, for lack of a better word. It has helped too, especially when I’ve been across a conference room table from three interviewers whose combined age is about 8 years older than mine, asking about my 5-year plan and the reasons I think they should hire me. I really don’t know how to take millennials with this kind of power over me seriously. Typically, we just look at each other until I smile a little and give the Mom look of “Seriously? You’re not going to use a coaster?” And they smile and move on to the next question or thank me for coming in today.
No matter what happens, it has felt right to be here. Spawn checks on me almost every day, he has texted twice for unplanned dinners, he still laughs at my jokes and I still laugh at his, and I now know he still likes me, whether he likes it or not. So, even though I’m in an Airbnb waiting on a job and Diane Keaton, I feel like I’ve been at home. It may be temporary, but I hope not.
Because Diane Keaton is coming on Saturday, and something’s still seriously gotta give.