22 May 2006

It Was The Year 2002


In 2002 my boyfriend and I were fed up with the Vortex of Goo, Savannah, Georgia and tired of the Old South. Yes, the Old South. Since the Union invasion it has re-branded itself as the New South, but it’s still old in many ways.

So we had the wild hair to move to New England, to settle in Vermont or New Hampshire. Against all signs telling us not to go. Against all friends telling us not to go. This was the early years of G.W. Bush and the economy started to suffer under his incapable hands. People were losing their jobs left and right, but we went any way.

Against the Universe itself we went forth into the great unknown. We were confident in our success and we were invincible. We were breaking free of the Vortex of Goo. Or so we thought.

It was fun at first. We camped our way through the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, then on into the mountains of Virginia. We visited with friends on the way up and ended up in New Jersey where we stayed with friends of mine. We used N.J. as our launching pad into Vermont.

Time went on and eventually the money ran thin. We both could not find jobs in any of the places we wished to try and settle. Eventually I decided to put New Jersey into the possible places to live. My boyfriend did not want to live in N.J., but neither did I at the time, but I figured it could be a temporary solution until something else comes along.

I applied for and got a temporary job at the Honeywell Corporation in Morristown, New Jersey. It was a blessing because the very day I was offered the position we literally ran out of money.

After several months living with my friends and everyone’s patience stretched to the limit I had to ask my mum for the funds to get us an apartment. She was kind of enough to help out and the boyfriend and I moved into a former shoe factory in Newton, New Jersey.

Our relationship was on the rocks and it only got worse. He could not find work. I had to commute an hour to work with the only car. He had to sit at home all the time. I tried to get him to use the gym and go to the library, but other then that there wasn’t much for him to do. It must have had been awful.

Newton, N.J. is a cool town in a Twin Peaks kind of way. First of all it is located in County Sussex, which is the upper Northwest corner of the state. It’s very beautiful and remote. It seems every morning the town is shrouded in a fog and as you drive down motorway 202 on your morning commutes to work you punch through the fog like a bullet. Looking back through your rearview mirror you see the fog slowly hiding the entrance to the town.

The town has its collection of strange individuals too. One individual comes to mind. We did not know his name, but we called him Tighty Wighty Man. He lived on our floor. Every time we come home from an outing he would be standing with his door half cracked open in his underwear staring at us. Sometimes he would just have the door cracked just enough for him to peer out with one eye.

One day he must have been off his medication and went for a drive in nothing but his underwear. Tighty Wighty man met an untimely death by speeding up a central median and running over a sharp metal post. His car exploded upon impact.

The boyfriend and my relationship continued to deteriorate as time went on. Of course the time we were in New Jersey they experienced the worst winter in three years. It kept snowing and snowing. The gray skies would not go away. The electric bills skyrocketed to over $400 a month. I suppose our southern hides could not resist the cold even though we were both originally from the Northeast, but moved south at young ages.

My poor little 1992 Geo Tracker soft top and I had quite the time navigating the snow, ice and crazy winding roads on the way to work. At one point my back window zipper broke and the whole window flew open. Blistering cold blew in instantly. Every other day I had to apply fresh duct tape because the cold would prevent the glue on the tape from holding. Also, during this time there was a run on duct tape due to some supposed terrorist plot to bomb us with chemical weapons.

One day I suggested to the boyfriend I take some time off from work and we go home to Savannah and fetch some of our belongings. Money was tight even though I had an excellent salary. We had back bills from our disastrous move and only one salary to live on in an expensive area of the country. So we did not purchase any kind of furniture and all of our belongings were back home in storage. We had inflatable furniture. Yes, inflatable. From the bed to the sofa to the chairs. They would pop from time to time and sometimes if you did not distribute your weight correctly you would end up falling backwards in the chair or sofa. I don’t recommend inflatable furniture.

We headed home and ended breaking up somewhere on I-95. Then shortly thereafter got back together on I-95, but things were still shaky. When we got to Savannah we visited with friends and family separately. Then my car broke down. It was the on board computer that needed to be replaced. So I ordered a new one, but it was going to take longer for it to arrive then I had time for vacation so I had to request additional time.

The part never showed up. The shipper did not follow my shipping directions. They were supposed to write “in care of” on the address, but instead they shipped to me. The post office had a forwarding address to N.J. The part was redirected to N.J. We were in Savannah.

So I had to hop a train and head to N.J. to get the part for my car, but I had no idea when I would be able to return to get my car. My boyfriend said he wasn’t going to return N.J. with me. So I went alone. He said he would come back with me when I came to get the car.

I went back to New Jersey. I had a good friend in a fellow employee at Honeywell who went out of her way to come can pick me up in the morning to take me to work and bring me home. I was back two days when we were on our way home at the end of the day. We were just outside Newton where we see a huge plum of smoke rising from the hemlock and spruce trees. Traffic began to slow down and we came across a detour redirecting traffic away from Newton. I jokingly said it was my apartment. Well, in away it was!

The Able Heating Oil Company located next to the old shoe factory blew up and was on fire. There was a propane truck on the property that exploded. The force was so great it knocked six houses off their foundations it blew out windows and doors in my building. It cracked some of the foundation. The video store down the street had all it’s windows blown out. The blast bent lampposts and hurled newspaper machines in the air.

Many people had eardrum damage and a few heart attacks. It was quite dramatic.

The town had to be evacuated. No one was allowed to return for over a week because the fire raged for a week. I was a refuge living with friends in a near by town, but it was further away from Newton so my friend could not take me to work. I ended up being out of work for about a month if you count the extra time in Savannah.

I had only the cloths on my back. My friends had some cloths that were going to Goodwill that I could wear around the house, but they were too big to wear in public. I about had a nervous breakdown.

That was it. I quit the job. There were only a few more weeks of my assignment left as I was told the position would not be made permanent due to the fact they were going to transfer the department to another office in another state.

So the boyfriend returned and we headed to North Carolina to try and settle in Chapel Hill. We broke up several times while on I-95, but ended up getting back together somewhere in Maryland, on I-95. North Carolina did not work out either and four months later we ended up right back in the spiraling Vortex of Goo that is Savannah, Georgia.

Then we broke up, but that was not the end of us because we got back together again perhaps six months later and then breaking up for good another six months later. I know, I know. CRAZY!

I think the safety net of Savannah has come to an end. Don’t get me wrong. I still have some friends and family here, but I think the Universe is now telling me to go and this time the tower of my life will stand.

Oh, and the boyfriend I are truly done.

4 comments:

Robert said...

Some things we never forget. Wow Kevin-Andrew, you and your ex went thru a lot. What an ordeal, one after another. How do you feel about it all when you look back now?

My ex and I kinda did the same thing, but he was very destructive. We also thot that things could no possibly get any worse, and things always did.

Talk about hard times. You definitely had a lot of those. Am glas that you weren't in the building when the explosion occurred. Oh dear me, scary schitt! The Tighty Wighty Man, I'm sure he wanted you both, but alas, R.I.P.

Do you still talk to your ex I wonder? Where is he now? Oh wait, this is supposed to be a comment, not 20-questions! :-)

Life comes with a lot, I mean A LOT of pop quizzes, this all will only make you stronger - in every way. Thanks for sharing all that!

Although the bit about falling backwards on the inflatable furnitures is hilarious!!! *boink* teehee, sorry, just had to laugh!

Emma Cabrera said...

All will be well when you leave the Vortex this time! Never to return to that evil place.

I have foreseen it and know that it is true.

K-A said...

Yes, my Ex and I still talk. He lives here in town. He works for my former employer.

Try sleeping on an inflatable bed that rests upon posts and netting. When it deflates you wake up practically impaled upon the posts!

Emma dear, I do so love your enthusiasm and your ability to scry into the future. ;)

Anonymous said...

NJ wasn't all bad.