Day 7: Normcore Adventure

May 26th, 2015

 Joslyn Hamilton, freelance writer and editor, Salt Lake City, Utah

I’m taking part in a 30-day writing experiment. See Kale & Cigarettes for details and the Facebook Group to read stories by other 500-words-ers.

You know when you’re driving your car and a bird swoops from out of nowhere and for a split second you think it’s going to slam into your windshield, but instead of swerving or slamming on the brakes, you keep the exact same trajectory but duck and cover your head and maybe scream? There’s got to be some sort of metaphor in there for the nonsensical way I’ve lived my life up until this point.

I have a habit of plunging ahead into perilous plans, full of anxiety and rightfully so, but never doing anything to mitigate the fear—just marching straight into it with my eyes squeezed shut. A year ago, I decided to move to Utah, a place I had no friends, no prospects, and no desire to live, to be with a guy I had been dating for only about six months. To up the ante, I got myself pregnant with twins just a few weeks before the move.

Utah is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. I live at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, and it’s pretty fucking stunning. If nothing else, this locale has been great for my Instagram career. If you’re a skier, snowboarder, or rock climber, it really doesn’t get any better than the Wasatch. Our house is minutes from arguably the best ski resort in the country (Snowbird) and world-class rock climbing that draws the for-real pros from all over.

My betrothed is a skier and a rock climber, a real mountain guy, and he loves it here. He loves the easy access to top-notch recreating, the rarified mountain air, the crisp cold winters, the stark alpine skyline.  He loves the low cost of living and the simplicity of life. He’s not a guy who cares about culture or socializing or the culinary arts.

I’m different than that. I love the outdoors, but I’m more of an ocean person. I thrive on richly oxygenated sea air, the smell of salt water and also, perversely, the sulfurous smell of low tide, which reminds me of summers on Cape Cod growing up. I do love mountains, but I prefer my mountains small and easy to conquer, like the hills of Ashfield, Massachusetts, where I grew up, and Mount Tam, the mountain where my heart lives in Mill Valley, California, where I spent so many years.

And as much as I live for the outdoors, I also like having easy access to the ballet, and artsy boutiques, and Moth storytelling evenings, and actually good burritos. I like indie coffee shops where guys with ponybuns and lumberjack beards squint at you snootily when you order decaf. Sue me! I love that kind of thing.

We don’t have things like that in Sandy, Utah, where I now live.  We have Super Target, and Walmart, and Hobby Lobby. We have at least three Starbucks. I’m out of my element here.

But if all of the above makes it sound like I’m miserable, I’m sorry I am giving you that impression. I’ve never been less miserable in my life. Mainly because of the betrothed, and the chillun, but also because, deep down, I love the adventurous aspect of trying something new, even if it takes me totally out of my element. And right now, I am on a suburban adventure so normcore it’s almost punk rock.

So if you’re ever in Sandy, Utah, and you see a lady drive by in a minivan and duck and scream—but not swerve—when a bird flies too low, that’s probably me!


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