There was a moment in our drive toward Lubbock that I began to have hope that, perhaps, it was actually a good decision to move here. We were in the middle of nowhere (which means we were nearing Lubbock), and all around us were open fields and sky and . . . then . . . in the distance, behind a cultivated crop of some sort, was a large shack with the word SKATE spelled bright and big across it.
It was a skating rink, or so it appeared to be.
It seemed like a sign. That maybe Lubbock would not be that bad. Even though I’d been referring to it as “Lubbock or Love It” the whole trip down.
It was the four of us for the move–my parents and my brother–plus one Finn-dog in a Penske truck and our mini-mini van. We stopped in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for one night because I had read it was cool. But it was just yuppie. We picnicked on the side of a golf course near Kansas City and again in a city park in a town called Elk City, hometown of the 1981 Miss America and a common resting place for the scissor tailed flycatcher, one of whom tried to attack Finn while we were eating.
I also took this as a good omen. And am mentioning it now because I promised to post my brother’s sweet picture of the bird on this blog.
We pulled into Lubbock on Saturday night, unloaded half the truck, and went to a Spanish tapas restaurant. We met the father of the former tenant, a PhD student with two kids, and he chatted us up for an hour or so the next day, after he and my brother mowed the gigantic jungle that was our backyard. Here my brother is tackling it:
The father’s name is Ian and he said something that, rather than an omen, was rather ominous. He said that he and his wife moved to Lubbock in 1994 when she got a prof job at the university and, though they thought then that they would only stay a few years, they ended up staying nearly 20.
“There are quite a few people like that here,” he added.
And, though I am by no means dying to settle in Lubbock, my first few days have given me hope that it won’t be as awful as I had thought. Our house is super cute, for one. As is our neighborhood. As is the university, just two blocks away, where we went running my first morning here. There is a coffee shop just down the road. And next to it are a pizza joint, a wine shop, a baby store, a dog store and a health food store. The only thing missing is a bookstore.
But that, we’ve learned, is called Hester’s and it’s not far away. We went there yesterday. It has an entire section dedicated to “Oil and Gas” and another to “Prophesies and End Times” but they also have literature and the woman who owns it gave me a copy of Berryman‘s Love Songs for free because, as she said, she doesn’t know that much about poetry and was about to throw it out.
The jury is out on whether this is a good omen or a bad one.
At one moment on Sunday I got a little worried about Lubbock because, as I as buying the New York Times at the grocery store, the cashier looked at it with wide eyes and said, “Oh wow!” My first thought was that he had never seen the New York Times before and was impressed by its girth. But then he added, “Egypt is getting bad.”
The main story was about the situation in Egypt.
Granted, every station on the radio here seems to be dedicated to Christ. And I’ve already spotted a number of folks starting at Marta, Nico and I as if we were some rare zoo animal. One that stinks. But then I’ve also learned that there’s a “dog party” in a park just down the street from us every evening at dusk. And Ian, that father of our former tenant, is in a community theatre that gives outdoor performances at another local park. The same park that is home to a real and genuine prairie dog town, which we visited yesterday and I am sure I will visit again and again on days that I feel sad or lonely or desperate or like I really need to go roller skating.
Last but not least, Nico seems to like the place. She arrived on Sunday night with Marta. She had an explosive shit on the plane. But since then seems to be settling into the pace of things here.
I think I can already detect a slight drawl in her babble.