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My Old Life Blows Away

“Look. Another Midwesterner has moved into 215.”

July 5th -- apparently, a very hot day by California standards -- no air conditioning.
I pushed open the windows and twisted the wand controlling the slats of the metal mini blinds. The air inside the apartment was the same as outside: sizzling.
Boxes created floor-to-ceiling sculptures throughout the apartment. In between unpacking, I threw a few loads of dirty clothes in the washer and hand washed my silk underpants that had accumulated on the twenty-five hundred mile trip from Indiana.
Hunger set in. The only food in my new apartment was left over travel food – peanut butter crackers, Slim Jims, and Hot Tamales. I needed sustenance. Before heading out for something to eat, I carefully laid my hand washed underpants across the railing of the deck. “They’ll be fine,” I thought. The late afternoon sun and this new-to-me low humidity were sure to quickly dry them.
When I arrived back at the apartment, the sun was setting behind the golden hills to the west causing the live oaks to cast long, dark shadows down the slopes. However, in the seemingly endless summer day, the sky was still bright. I opened the door of the apartment to discover the blinds clanging furiously against the window casings as a strong, cooling wind whistled through the apartment. This newly minted Californian, who grew up landlocked, would later learn about these on shore and off shore breezes.
I set down the grocery bags. My panties! I suddenly remembered. I ran to the deck. Gone! I peered over the deck railing to see them strewn willy-nilly across the courtyard. I raced down the stairs. Most likely my new neighbors had witnessed my private articles of clothing sail off the deck and land in our common courtyard.
There my silk panties clung for dear life on coyote bushes and manzanita. I kept my head down to spare me the embarrassment of seeing anyone watch me. I imagined them saying to each other, “Look. Another Midwesterner has moved into 215.” Hastily, I plucked each panty from its resting place. Head down and eyes to the ground I returned to the apartment, all panties in hand.
Not only had I left the oversight and expectations of family and friends far behind; I had left something else. The wind was telling me life was about to be too busy, too exciting to spend hand washing silk panties. In this moment, my old life faded away and my new life began. I needed a sturdy wash and wear attitude and underpants to be ready at a moments notice to explore the adventures that awaited me.


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