“We’re moving,” I tell my dental hygienist when she tries to set up my next visit, six months from today.

“Oh! Wow! Where to?” The inevitable next question.

Honestly, I really don’t care much for dental friendliness. I like clean teeth and gingivitis tops my pet peeve list, right along with things that involve a seething crowd of fans, but I am not here to make friends. Perhaps it’s the vacuuming of my spittle that makes me feel so vulnerable and mean, or the lead vest, I don’t know. I shut my eyes behind my colossal sunglasses and run my tongue across the polished surface of my incisors for strength.

I do not explain how we are planning to pack our family into our Honda CRV, drive ourselves to Lincoln Mortgage, sit for our property closing, hand over keys to our house and then drive out of town. It’s a long story.

I also don’t tell her that I wish she were a robot.

“West,” I say, not so helpfully, and only because she’s blocking my exit with her Care Bear scrubs and confusion I add, “Seattle maybe.”

We really don’t know, I don’t say.

We are among the millions that have been directly affected by the recession. I hate that word, that euphemism. It’s an insult to eupha-mizing. It’s a euphemism that needs euthanizing. We have been unemployed for a year, our house is under contract and we simply have no reason to stay, so we decided that we might as well be in a place we love and we love what’s west of here, so we’re going there.

When we tell people this, the responses vary from interest, excitement to sadness and heartbreak for the missing that comes with leaving. The dental hygienist is easy. The good friends are definitely harder. It’s one of those all-inclusive-full-spectrum kind of experiences.

“Fear not!” I say to the friends, but not to the hygienist. Actually, I probably don’t really say, fear not to my friends either. But I certainly do imply it when I assure them that although we may not have a firm destination, we do have a plan, we do have faith, and we do have job prospects, talent and are unabated survivors. We will land.

In the interim, relieved of the weight of our things (having traded them for garage sale cash) we will be light and expansive! With a loose itinerary and a sense of adventure we will zig zag! We will take the long cut! We will have spitting contests with our son over canyon lips and notice the difference in the shape of the sky, the varied species of clouds over Wyoming, Montana. We will get cricks in our necks from gazing up the to the peaks of the Rockies, the tips of the Redwoods. But most importantly, we plan to laugh in the face of our homelessness and bestow onto it, with an avowed sacristy, ineffable calm, hearty and appropriate euphemisms. We will not undermine it like that “recession” crap. Instead, we will enhance! Transform!

We will not be Homeless. No way.

We will be Nomadic. We will be Gypsies. Vagabonds. James Bonds. Free Willys. Rolling Stones. Pigs in Zen. We will be Superbad and coming to a town near you. We will be cruising with the windows down, making terrific wave formations with our arms and we will be shaking our heads at the naysayers and the game players because we will know we are indestructible.

We will pretend we are flying, we will know we are free.


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Meg Worden is a mother, master of complications and manifestor of abundance. She has been a columnist for the Lovely County Citizen in Eureka Springs AR and placed first for Ascent Magazine’s text writing contest in 2008. Meg believes a sense of humor is far more important than a sense of direction and knows for a fact she can laugh wildly amidst severest woe. Currently Meg is living in Portland, OR where she stays up late at night working on her memoir project about the two years she spent in Federal Prison. Find her at megworden.com

30 responses to “An Alternative State”

  1. Solar says:

    Stationary, stable lives are for suits! Who needs it! Oh wait, I do. Way to get me all caught up in the beautiful padded lining of crisis. Miss M, you are a credit to all of us and I hope you can update from the road. Especially when stuff like this falls out of your head:

    “I shut my eyes behind my colossal sunglasses and run my tongue across the polished surface of my incisors for strength.”

    God speed! Faster than God!

    • Meg Worden says:

      Yeah, Solar, really I need it too…but they say that making the best with what’s being served = the proverbial LEMONADE!
      *we clink our chilled glasses together here*
      Thanks for getting it, and me, for calling it “the beautiful padded lining of crisis.”

  2. Solar says:

    Proverbial lemonade, my ass. I just saw a ridiculous video and it said, “When god gives you lemons . . . get a new god!”

    I’m on the lookout.
    Look out!

  3. Joe Daly says:

    Meg, this is bad ass and here’s hoping you take that rock and roll attitude all the way to Seattle. All those euphemisms about doors closing and opening, and how the word for “royally screwed” in Chinese is the same as “totally groovy” are fine and all, but you’ve hit on the truth- once you accept things and move into the solution things get a whole lot breezier.

    Have a fun, outrageous road trip and be sure to take good notes for your road trip piece.

  4. Meg Pokrass says:

    This is terrific. Your spunk and sizzle. Robot-envy, yep!

  5. Godspeed You! White Empress

  6. Gloria says:

    Good luck. It’s pretty out west. It rains a lot up north. I envy your mobility. I know, greener grass and all that. And losing a house is a huge pile of suck, I know that too. I’m certainly not making light of it. But still. And yet. I envy your mobility. I’m tethered to my town by a shitty car, a pile of debt, and a co-parent who shares custody of my heart and soul, as it is embedded in my boys. So I am unable to move. Or leave. Or travel. So, enjoy this journey. I hope it’s amazing. Be safe!

    • Meg Worden says:

      Thanks so much, Gloria. Really. Yes, there is a lot of suck amidst the spunk…but I am definitely more comfortable in transition than stuck – so it’s working out. I will gladly bring you into this adventure with me in spirit. I’m totally down with doing it for the collective good. 🙂
      Thanks for reading!

  7. Lorna says:

    “In the interim, relieved of the weight of our things (having traded them for garage sale cash) we will be light and expansive! With a loose itinerary and a sense of adventure we will zig zag! We will take the long cut! We will have spitting contests with our son over canyon lips and notice the difference in the shape of the sky, the varied species of clouds over Wyoming, Montana. We will get cricks in our necks from gazing up the to the peaks of the Rockies, the tips of the Redwoods. But most importantly, we plan to laugh in the face of our homelessness and bestow onto it, with an avowed sacristy, ineffable calm, hearty and appropriate euphemisms. We will not undermine it like that “recession” crap. Instead, we will enhance! Transform!”

    That is the best paragraph I’ve read in awhile. Go get ’em and Godspeed to you and yours.

  8. Simon Smithson says:

    You’ll be Secret Agents!

    And seriously, why do they make conversation? My mouth is full of gauze wadding and a sucking hose that you put there! I can’t talk! And you know this!

  9. New Orleans Lady says:

    I love it when people turn a shitty situation into something positive, like an adventure. I wish you all things wonderful. Remember to see that silver lining no matter what happens and that everything happens for a reason. I’ll pray for you and your family. Have a great time!

  10. Judy Prince says:

    Loved this, Meg! “eupha-mizing”…….. “Pigs in Zen”—–HOOHA!

    I zipped through this, attending to every word, just like I’d love to zip myself into size 10 jeans.

    You started the fun, for me anyway, here: “Perhaps it’s the vacuuming of my spittle that makes me feel so vulnerable and mean, or the lead vest, I don’t know.”

    And you kept right on with two riff-beauties: “I also don’t tell her that I wish she were a robot.”

    “ ‘West,’ I say, not so helpfully, and only because she’s blocking my exit with her Care Bear scrubs . . .”

    I’ll quit pasting in your post, but just know I sooooooo enjoyed it. The West is fortunate to get you.

  11. Roy says:

    OMG! you could live off the grid..or in the beginning off the semi-grid then ease on in to the full off the grid. The Huffington Post had something on that the other day, I put it on my facebook.

    Off the Grid..its the new pioneering…its the Conestoga wagon..its Keven Costner on the prairie making friends with wolfs.

    • Meg Worden says:

      Yes, Roy, that would be wild….yet, I find myself so much more drawn to grid life vs. Conestoga wagon. I’ve seen those things in the museum…um, I’ll keep my iPhone and wait for my chance to drive a flying car.

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