When my companion and I arrived yesterday, we exchanged a look that implied, “we have driven to what we thought was Florida, and lo and behold, we ended up in Brooklyn”. The numerous smiling, chattering latinos lounging in the provided plastic lawn chairs outside the dorms prompted this thought, and the surgical nature with which they attended to one another’s facial hair made it all the stranger. They seemed jovial and friendly enough, despite the NYY hats they wore in contrast to our matching Boston caps.
I had great difficulty sleeping last night, the reality of the situation sinking in, and the sense of panic was tough to shake after I had foolishly thought I’d run straight up the road for a gallon of water and a Snapple. I ended up getting lost and driving in circles for about half an hour.
Today, I awoke rather late, and decided to assess what I would need to purchase that I did not already bring.
With this list, I also began to search online for a nearby Army-Navy store, to purchase a second trunk to secure my belongings in. I have one sturdy footlocker for my financial and technological goods, and while yes, perhaps my t-shirts and socks are not alluring to a thief, I’d feel better knowing that if I so choose, I can bolt everything shut and not think twice.
The steel trunk I had purchased from Bed, Bath, and Beyond years ago was beginning to break down before I even started to pack. However, I thought some superglue and wishful thinking would keep it serviceable. The center lock twisted mightily on the ride down (I had put one of my rear seats down and kept the other upright), and so the trunk slid going down one of the Appalachian dropoff roads and, well, even though it was made in West Virgina, a thin sheet of steel affixed to particleboard is not going to take much abuse. This trunk from the Wareham Army-Navy surplus store inspires much more confidence.
Anyway, to jump back to the colorful local cast of characters, they were wholly absent today. It seems like the population went from fifty in these two buildings to myself, my companion, and a third coworker of mine from Massachusetts, the infamous “Captain Salad”.
So with my list in hand, and the address of the nearest Target programmed into the GPS (I will still use it as a crutch until I get acclimated to the area for a week or so), I decided to go shopping, my companion already having returned from the local mall and now going for a run. I went down the staircase, which is for all intents and purposes currently my private exit, as the only person who it could potentially be convenient for (outside of a fire) is whoever inhabits this room.
I stumbled upon a secret lizard meeting. There must have been forty or so little salamanders (I am wildly guessing, both at the number and the taxonomy) sunning themselves on the walkway, who promptly retreated to the bushes, and then returned to the path once I had moved on. I’ll see if I can catch their picture in the coming days.
After following the GPS directions to the letter, either the Target store is a mirage, or the Target website was inaccurate. The address matches- I am looking at it now.
I did happen across a Wal-Mart, which was both a Wal-Mart, grocery store, bank, and municipality. There is no store manager. There is a store governor.
I hunted through the store for about three hours trying to get everything on my list, which save flip-flops (go figure- in Florida, in Wal-Mart, I could not find flip-flops for the shower) all came to $35. For those truly curious, I bought a single bed pillow, cheap set of pillowcases, a plastic shoebox to hold all my bathroom supplies in (they had no buckets/baskets, and it was the right size and a little over a dollar), two bars of soap, a hard plastic travel soap case, a six-pack of boxers, and a laundry basket.
I took my first shower here. The bathroom is unisex, and when you walk in, there are two adjacent sinks to the right (set in one counter), and a little hall with what appear to be two closets on either side. The closets on the right contain toilets. The closets on the left contain shower stalls, set off to the right of a small tiled area. The far stall had no shower curtain, but a hook mounted in the wall to hang your bathrobe. The stall closer to the entrance had a shower curtain, but no hook, but a few screwholes and an outline to indicate that a hook had indeed once resided there, and somehow managed to escape during the great plumbing and bath fixtures revolt of 2007.
For my room, I had promised pictures yesterday. The bed is a Captain’s Bed, which I really like, which has two drawers that pull out underneath.
More pictures next post…