We are nearing M-Day in earnest now, not only is it impossible to turn back, but we are hurtling downhill, legs powerless against gravity or will. In 9 days, the truck with our belongings will head off to New York, and 3 days later, the kids and I will follow. The H will stay behind until his surgeon deems him fit to travel, via first class only. Thank goodness for frequent flyer miles. The only remaining big logistics are moving our cars (which basically means choosing amongst a bunch of different shipping companies) and getting my family files (you know, tax stuff and so on) in a semblance of order which will allow them to be moved and then unpacked without creating the appearance of a Staples store having exploded inside my new house. I hate filing--always have--when I was an "assistant" (that's Hollywood-speak for a secretary) at a film production company, I would let the filing pile up until the mountain was so high that I had to come in on the weekend to get it caught up. Pathetic. My home office is no better.
Meanwhile, as the H complained to me the other day, I've had about five different going away parties with different sets of friends, and I've gotten increasingly tearier at each successive event. Today, I woke up with not just the cold I caught from Dido the other day, but a full blown flu experience, body aches, fever, and so on. In the midst of this, I went to the car dealer to trade in my old minivan (yippee) for my new station wagon (yahoo.) All went fine until, having returned home with the car, I decided to run down to the market with the kids, and, as I pulled out of my (blind) driveway, a car came flying down the wrong side of our narrow street, tried to beat past me before I could pull out, and I bashed into her door. My bumper is scraped, as is her driver side door--neither too badly, really. But the Angelenos who are reading will understand when I say it was a typical Westside mom, driving a Range Rover, accessorized like a Barney's ad, dressed like a teenage guest star on The O.C., and unable to deal with the situation without immediately calling her husband on her high-end cell phone to ask him what to do. His first plan of action was that she call the police. I said, if that's what you want to do, fine. We can all go in my house, and I'll call them. I suggested that maybe we exchange insurance information, and get on with our lives, a suggestion she happily took once Husband agreed that in fact, perhaps law enforcement wasn't necessary.
The only good thing about this experience is that, like some others recently, it reminded me of exactly what I'm wanting to escape in Los Angeles--people who value affluence over competence. And, by the way, that's not true of any of the many, many people I adore who live and work here. This city is full of amazing, smart, creative, profoundly good people. But I can't take the chaos or the pace that surrounds those good people any more. I have done lots of things to create oases of community around me in this city, and I think I've been largely successful. But the larger environment is what I don't have the fortitude for any longer. I wonder if, really, I ever did. From the minute I moved here, I felt that I had moved to a foreign land, one where I might never quite speak the language well enough to pass for a native. The funny thing is that instead of going back to someplace I already know, I'm going someplace I barely know, and to a lifestyle (rural) I have never lived. My shrink's first reaction, when I announced our move, was that I was running away from internal irritations, not external ones. I suppose that remains to be seen.