Maddie and Steve woke up to that sensation in their stomachs of the bus slowing down. The low tones of the bus driver announcing their stop. Maddie tilted her head and her eyes scanned back and forth as she gathered her senses and checked through a mental list. Put away the book. It's raining. Bag above the seat. Unplug the charger cable. She touched her face and the front of her shirt for her glasses. Felt them under her right hip. Bent.
Dec. 8th marked the one year anniversary of me renting this tiny studio apartment in Paso Robles. It all happened so fast, I'd been looking online for six months at least, searching for something close to or under $1000/mo. That was all I thought I could afford on the bus driver salary I had in Colorado and the even lower salary I'd been offered here in California in August. I applied within hours of the initial posting, had Sarah take a tout, paid the deposit online, and drove from Colorado in a rented Toyota 4x4 towing a U-Haul trailer with 90% of my stuff all within a week.
Health insurance is part of my compensation package as a bus driver at SLO-RTA, so I try to take advantage of the benefit when I remember. Back in June I booked an appointment to get a referral for a colonoscopy that is about a year overdue now. My previous physician in Colorado gave me a referral for one last year but I moved here before I got it done there, so I tried to use his old referral to set up a colonoscopy appointment here but needed to get a local referral first instead, which I finally did. Okay, breath.
On weekdays I get about an hour break at work around 3:45pm each day in San Simeon, and I usually park the bus right near the beach to walk across a big field on the bluff that overlooks the ocean. The path is well-worn, rutted in some places, I'm not exactly sure from what, cars? Trucks? Horses? Feet? Rain? The ruts are so deep I have trouble imagining how they were formed, or when.
I haven't been sleeping well. This is a very new thing for me. My friend Nancy says sleeping is my superpower. I can fall asleep quickly, take short naps and feel instantly refreshed. Wake up in the middle of the night and fall asleep quickly again. But that last one. That last one that has been elusive the past week or so.
I've felt very fortunate to have therapy sessions paid for by my health insurance recently. It started in Colorado when I was working for Vail Resorts in 2019, so I'm three years in December. Not all my sessions have been paid for, but a good number of them have, and I feel a lot different now than I did in 2019. Am I better? Cured? I don't know if I can say that empirically, but I do feel like I've been able to name the challenges more clearly. A problem named is a problem solved, is that the right wording. It feels shallow, like dude, do the work.
I spend a lot of time on my phone.
So much time that I now have two phones. Yeah, that's complicated.
I've tried different ways to cut down, I unfriended everyone except my kids, ex-wife, and sister on Facebook in a final step to get myself off *that* platform. That helped a LOT. But I still scroll the Google News feed on the daily, and it trolls me like no other. Once I click an article it immediately posts five more just like it. It's relentless.
One of the riders on the Route 15 from San Simeon to Morro Bay is always getting on the bus with a book in his hand, so I asked him what his current favorite new novel was. He held up the book and said "This one!"
Then he said it was a bit specific for a lot of people, it was about skateboarding. "Are you into skateboarding?"
"I am actually, I was state champion back in Wisconsin when I was younger."
"No way. Then you might really like this book, it's called 'The Best Thing Ever' by Kyle Beachy."
I moved to Paso Robles in December and January, over a 30 day span, from Keystone Colorado. As I do everything in the most complicated way possible in an attempt to make it easier on myself, I first found an apartment remotely, signed for it online, and moved most of my belongings there all in the 2nd week of December 2021. I returned several times back and forth from Keystone to quit my job in an "acceptable" way and take care of all the loose ends I needed to tie up before feeling I'd be fully moved in mid-January. The list was prodigious. I slowly sold off my furniture.
I've been thinking that if I'm going to keep feeling like I should be writing more often, I should probably start writing to see what happens. So here goes.