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  • Writer's pictureHannah Grabenstein

Day 1 (through 3)

I spent all day in bed Saturday. Or, more accurately, I spent all day under the covers but on an air mattress, alone, mostly sleeping or starting shows and movies on Netflix and killing them when I couldn't focus. I ate once, at 2 p.m. I didn't shower, brush my teeth or change my clothes. I cried, a lot.

Sunday, I realized the unsustainability of wallowing. To start, I needed to wash my hair at some point. But beyond that, I was obviously engaging in unhealthy behavior, mentally and physically. I remembered from my last period of unemployment that around month two, I found it harder to get out of bed. "This is not new," I thought, and also "BOOOOOOO" and "Nonetheless, I can do something about this."

So I decided to lean into the liminality of my unemployment. I did two loads of laundry and packed up all my clothing, and I mean ALL my clothing, most of which was on my childhood bedroom floor in piles of "clean," "clean-ish," "clean as a result of laziness" and "definitely not clean (mostly socks and underwear)."

Let me pause to say this, near the top: I'm not editing this. I know it will need editing, because I always always always need editing, but sorry, this is my personal blog (on my public website on which I also have my CV and my portfolio, Hannah, you moron) and as a result of the previously mentioned laziness I will not be going through this with a comb, fine-toothed or otherwise. This will be babble, largely unfiltered. But I will keep it relatively "short," so it will be brief babble. Anyway, regularly scheduled programming and such.

Right - all my clothes are packed and I broke the news to my parents and friends in person and via text, respectively, and then my sister on the phone, that I was leaving. I'm driving to San Francisco, I said, and we'll see if I make it out there. I'm being a slug here; why not be a slug elsewhere and crash on other people's couches (a metaphor: I do have a twin air mattress. Nonetheless, people's floors) and also maybe see some parts of this country I haven't yet seen.

I got very little pushback (PUSH BACK MORE, MY DUDES. You know I need that constant validation!) so I left Monday morning, after literally sitting on my couch and sobbing with my dogs. My younger dog has been having pain problems and we just recently sort of solved it, so I'm going to miss his happy little face, and my older dog is old old old. I've been preparing for his death for 10 years now so if he dies while I'm gone, c'est la vie (c'est la mort?) but on the other hand, he's my love and my baby and boy, I sure hope he makes it another six months. Everyone think of 15 and a half-year-old Jed and hope he makes it to 16.

Here are things that happen when you decide to be a nomad on a whim:

1. You don't go to the credit union where you keep ALL your money, despite there being a branch literally minutes from your sister's apartment, and despite the fact that you don't have the PIN to your debit card and can't take money out and despite the fact that a representative from said credit union said you can only change your PIN at a branch. And as a result you leave the state without any way to get cash. But then you lose your debit card anyway, so it's all sort of a wash.

2. You leave a big-ass box of books in your trunk. You picked them up from your old digs and meant to drop them off at your personal free storage unit/your parents' house, but in your haste to get out of dodge for mental instability reasons, you forgot about them. You don't want them now and you won't want them where you're going but you don't really want to get rid of them, so they're just taking up a bunch of trunk space and there's not much you can do about it. You feel very dumb about 1 and 2.

3. You will re-wear the same two oversized sweaters in an extremely limited combination with the same two sweatpants. But you will be comfy and really, who are you trying to impress?

Logistically, here is where I am. I'm leaving my college friend's house in south Virginia tomorrow, said friend in tow. We're heading for a day or two to Charleston, where a few friends live, and where there's some primo floor space for sleeping. From there we'll skip on over to Panama City Beach, mostly as a layover on our way to New Orleans, where we'll meet up with another friend and where we'll stuff our faces and celebrate Fat Tuesday a full month early. And from there, I'll reevaluate.

Let me just say I very nearly headed north, towards Pittsburgh, Chicago, and the beautiful plains. And THANK GOD I DIDN'T. It's very cold there! I'm headed south, where warm-blooded creatures like me and snakes will be happier. If San Francisco happens, then so will Texas, New Mexico, maybe Arizona, definitely south California. If it doesn't, perhaps something else will.

It's been OK, so far. Like it or not I'm essentially living out of my car. But I am getting to see people I like and go places I've never been, so that's great. I'll let you know how I feel in a week.


1. American Beauty, The Grateful Dead

2. A Google Instant Mix starting with "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" by Bob Dylan

3. The Asch Recordings, Vol. 1, Woody Guthrie

4. A Google Instant Mix starting with "Boys," by Charli XCX

Old Jed. Good dog.

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Starr Belsky
Starr Belsky
Jan 31, 2019

Woody Guthrie. Good choice. Now's the time to be footloose (but keep your wits about you). If you go to Houston from New Orleans, a detour to Sabine Wildlife Refuge might be worth your while. 😘🤗

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