Three months ago, I decided I should probably move. To Chicago.
Why moving? Because I work from home and I could. And because I only ever stayed in Atlanta for scholarship money and my mother’s illness and my own grief and a relationship that then ended. And because the longer I stayed there the more I could feel my sense of self blowing away in the gentle breeze. And I kept crying in therapy when I talked about the future.
I wasn’t in a good place, let’s say.
Why Chicago? It has improv. I have friends who live there. I like the Field Museum. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
So, it comes as something of a shock to find myself writing this from a currently internet-less but otherwise lovely one bedroom in Brooklyn.
It turns out it is in fact totally possible to go from “I should live in Chicago” to “oh shit I actually live in Brooklyn now” in about three weeks.
Step 1: During an all-hands meeting in New York, the physical location of your weird internet job that you’ve given up explaining to people, mention again to your boss that you’re moving to Chicago. Realize that he didn’t hear you the first time that you told him because he was also in the middle of moving and you maybe didn’t tell him so much as mention it on twitter. Boss points out that you could move to New York, where you actually work. Realize that work includes catered lunch.
Get really drunk with coworkers. Ask them if you should come live in New York. Choose to believe them when they say yes and then ask some really nosy questions about rent and online dating.
Step 2: Accidentally ping the head of HR while she is on vacation. Get halfway through setting up a meeting with her before you realize, and feel <em>supremely guilty</em>. Set up a meeting for the next week. Fail to disclose what you want to ask, which you only realize in retrospect probably made it seem like you were going to disclose something horrible.
Have meeting. Word-vomit some version of, “Can I come work in the actual office with people where I will wear pants? Will work pay for me to come do that?” Head of HR says yes. Spend lunch break hyperventilating.
Step 3: Fly back up to New York for another all-hands meeting later that week. Tell everyone you’re going unremote. Be inundated with helpful advice and links and roommate lookings-up from coworkers, all consolidated into a singular Slack channel. During a meeting with a broker, when you are told that it’s not possible to have a studio for under $2200 a month, briefly consider crying in the work bathroom.
Do not cry. Email other listings, none of which are $2200. See four apartments in two days. Realize you do not make 40x monthly rent of any place, at all.
Email a coworker’s landlord to ask if they have any listings. Learn that they do, in your coworker’s building. Go look at an apartment that has no kitchen, no doors, and no paint. Put in an application.
Step 4: Spend an anxious weekend waiting to hear back about your credit score. When you are approved, text a friend asking if she wants to buy your car. Frantically call movers, a cat boarder in Brooklyn you found on Google, and your family. Quit your improv group. Sell your car. Buy a one-way plane ticket.
Step 5: Do not sleep for a week. Realize your hair is falling out in chunks. Choose to ignore this. Reenable OKCupid. Tell it you live in Brooklyn. Upload new photos where the hair thing isn’t that visible. Call your internet bank so that they can send you cashier’s checks, and realize that those funds are deducted immediately. Have small heart attack.
Try, and fail, to harness-train your cat.
After frantically anxiety-Googling how to get through airport security with a cat, ask your sister to drive you to the airport four hours before your flight. Get on plane with grumpy cat. Land in New York. Sign a bunch of lease paperwork in a part of Brooklyn that is only serviced by buses. Realize that you live here now.