Moving Words


Someday I’ll be a mature “adult” writer and let my jokes speak for themselves. But that is not this day.

This day I tell you about my move to Oakland!

Part 1- The Journey (External Edition)

Sunday I moved from Palo Alto to Oakland. It started out with me riding my bike to the U-Haul center. And the following auspicious interaction:

Laura gets off her bike at the corner and walks it down the sidewalk towards the U-Haul Center. She passes a woman with a suitcase. Laura smiles at the woman because Laura is from Indiana/Minnesota/Wisconsin and is still learning. Woman says, “You shouldn’t be on the sidewalk. You should be in the street. I’m sorry but that’s the way it is.”

Good to know the anti-bike sentiment is alive and well in the USofA.

I got my U-Haul anyway. And then I was in my U-Haul.

Fun fact: no one should be allowed to drive a vehicle that large. I felt indestructible. You should not allow people to feel indestructible. We should always be reminded of the fragility of our human bodies. We should not feel like transformers. I felt the urge to go monster-truck on a bunch of parked cars. I didn’t, but the urge was real.

I drove my small planet back to the house.

Side note: If you didn’t know it, Carol Milstein is a saint. True story.

Anyway, I arrived and started loading all my worldly belongings into the U-Haul. About half an hour later I was done. As it turns out I have a lot of things, but they are all very small and squishy.

So with a tear in my eye and a song in my heart, I drove out of Palo Alto, managed not to side-swipe anyone (that I know of), crossed the Dumbarton Bridge and did not drive off into the Bay (wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles), sang and cursed loudly to myself, repeated the phrase “Okay, Laura, just don’t hit this car” over and over, didn’t get lost trying to find my way through East Oakland, and then I was home.


Did that just happen? That just happened.

Part 2- The Arrival

The following conversation took place as I pulled my U-Haul up to the house:

Neighbor 1: You got new neighbors.

Neighbor 2: Yeah, they’re okay.

Neighbor 1: There they are, the new neighbors.

Neighbor 2: Yeah, they’re okay, long as they aren’t haters.

Laura: I’m not a hater.

Neighbors 1&2: *Blank stares*

I’m good at making friends.

Our house has red trim and is on Harrington Avenue, so I’m unofficially dubbing it the Red Harring. It’s happening.

Part 3- The Journey (Internal Edition)

Look, I have the privilege of being the author of my own difficulties. The most recent case being when I got too tired to refill my anti-depressants, missed a few days, got so depressed that I couldn’t go to work, may or may not have left a really long rambling message on someone’s phone about how sad I am that we aren’t friends anymore and how I probably am making it worse by calling and on and on and on… So… that’s on me.

I mess up my life all on my own. I moved across the country for really no reason at all. I quit jobs because I get depressed or because its just too existentially wearying to be taking out the trash as people stare disapprovingly at you and complain to your manager about your smell because you’ve been too tired to maintain proper hygiene.

So… that’s on me, too.

But I’m also really strong. I mean, body odor aside. I am capable of doing things. I get jobs, I make moves, I lift furniture. I’m such a mess, but I’m working on it.

Because I have these incredible people in my life. People who texted me or called me or ordered a pizza to my new address. People who give me love and support and encouragement at every turn. Even the act of liking my desperate, needy status is a reminder of the people in my life. You, you wonderful, beautiful people.


Avery Johnson: a wonderful, beautiful pizza– I mean people!

If I am the author of my struggles, you all are the authors of my survival. If I accomplish anything worthwhile in life, it is because of you. So, as always thank you. It will never be enough, but thank you.



California, Dudes

Been here about a month and a half, and IT. HASN’T. RAINED. ONCE.

Just a gentle reminder that I’m now living in a desert.

My whole life I had dreams of moving everywhere, running across the continent, doing BIG things, leading a BIG life. And wouldn’t you know it? I find myself both accomplishing those dreams and realizing how different it is from anything I could have imagined.

A case in point.

Every day on my bike to work, I see mountains. Mountains are important to me, they remind me of reaching, stretching, climbing, things I’ve been attempting to do my whole life. They are vast and humbling and inspirational, and as I fly past them morning after morning, on my wending way through eucalyptus and towering palms, past the statuary of Stanford, I find my heart soaring along with my bike tires.

Then I show up to work at a fast food restaurant where I man the deep fryer and listen to people complain about how I overcharged them twenty cents (I didn’t) or why there shouldn’t be a tax on to-go food (take it up with the government?) or how they want a burger but with no burger and no bread and with cheese and pickles and why don’t we have mayonnaise and gouda cheese and wait they just want the salad… but no lettuce. Some days it feels like a cross between the “Doublemeat Palace” episode of Buffy and Bon Qui Qui.



It’s this weird feeling where I simultaneously feel that I’m doing everything I need to be doing and also doing everything completely wrong. Here I am with my biology degree and my years of job experience, cooking fries and getting criticized for my Caesar salad mixing.

There are many highlights, of course. My co-workers are lovely. And the customers are for the most part a joy. Today I made a little girl giggle for about ten minutes just by opening my eyes really wide at her. The other day a couple of German girls came in, their faces when I started responding in German were priceless.

I believe I am going somewhere. I know that I am somewhere. A place I’ve been trying to get to for a long, long time. It’s just that there’s that saying somewhere about what you wish for and being careful or something something cliche with cheese.

I’m learning so much though: like how Californians walk SUPER slow, even by Midwestern standards. And how to use the word “hella” unironically. And how to grow succulents. And how to nonchalantly visit the ocean. It’s an amazing time to be alive.

Follow your dreams, kids. It’s kind of worth it.