How the hell did I end up in southern Arizona? It’s one hundred degrees at ten o’clock at night!
It feels like, somehow, all paths led here. It was inevitable. And it’s possible I made this happen through years of subconscious mechanizations. A carefully woven fabric. It could be my superpower.
But why in god’s name would my subconscious do such a thing?
The night sky. A chance to stare up into the Milky Way where it still exists. The opportunity to count Perseid meteors from mid-July until late-August. Perhaps get abducted by aliens, enough with these tepid flirtations.
If this was the result of my subtle and sublime subconscious, these mechanizations included the manipulation of my wife because this was all her idea in the first place.
There was a woman we met at the laundromat one afternoon a couple years back. We were going about our business. She dropped something. I picked it up.
What ensued was talk of reincarnation and a gift of herbal medicine. She to me. I think she may have been a shaman.
When she spoke of reincarnation it wasn’t of lives lived in ages past, but of the many times we are reincarnated in this lifetime.
Interesting notion, but it didn’t resonate with me.
I am at a stage of life with which I am having a difficult time. It’s existential. It’s cliché. But when I look back, which I often have an irresistible urge to do, I recognize that I have been reincarnated multiple times.
Without knowing it, my wife recognized it as well.
Many years ago, in an entirely different century, in a distant land called Ohio, my wife decided it was time for a reincarnation. Why this came about has been swept away by the sands of time dispersed by the winds of change and is no longer relevant in any case.
Her dream was to go to Alaska. Mine wasn’t.
We went to Indiana instead, a consequence of the first of several profound synchronicities we would experience over the next twenty years. Other than a Great Lake a block away, it wasn’t much different from Ohio. That was the point.
March 2000 my wife and I began our reincarnated lives as innkeepers at a nine-room bed and breakfast outside of Michigan City. We were naïve and ill-equipped for what, on the surface, appeared to be a leisurely endeavor. We were beaten to a pulp many times. Our highs were too few and our lows suicidal.
It was a stupid idea though the evening walks along the beach were always nice. I enjoyed the Jacuzzis as well.
When our six-month contract expired, we made for Asheville, North Carolina after a job we thought we had in Grand Marais, Minnesota fell through. This would be the first of many occasions when our journey was wrested from our control and we were forced down a different path. This has rarely turned out well.
If this sounds ominous it’s because sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows are more a rarity in hospitality than one might realize. Or they’re exactly as rare as one might expect. In any case, they are not part of the job description.
It’s like a magic show. While you’re watching the magician’s left hand, his right hand is doing something unspeakable.
That first road trip, from central Ohio to northern Indiana, was unremarkable and depressing and only 296 miles in length. We had no idea it was but a drop in the bucket. The first drop. Over time it would flood our seaside villages and swamp our suburbs.
We had no plan.
It was obvious.
Kilbourne, Ohio to Michigan City, Indiana: 296 Miles