So Moving Right Along

Frisco, Texas at Night. Photo by Gayle Martin

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I certainly feel like the past two years have been like living in a real-life episode of The Twilight Zone.

Prior to the pandemic, I was living in Tucson, Arizona. I’d been there for twelve years and I was doing very well. It reminded me in many ways of my native town of Phoenix, before it became Los Angeles in the desert. I had a good circle of friends, and life was good. Unfortunately, it all began changing in late 2019.

In November, 2019, a very controversial candidate was elected mayor of Tucson. Like many cities, Tucson had its share of problems. Unfortunately, this new mayor had her own radical agenda, and it didn’t include improving the quality of life for Tucson citizens. It was time for me to sell my home and move someplace else.

I lived in Dallas many years ago. I was very happy there, but circumstances were such that I had to return to Phoenix. So, I decided to take a road trip to Texas. I planned on going all the way to Corpus Christi and back. However, we were getting into the holiday season, so I planned on taking my trip in March, 2020.

Well, we all know what happened in March of 2020, don’t we? I still planned on moving, but instead of going to Texas, I moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico. I have a few friends there, and it was within a day’s drive of Tucson and Phoenix. If there were a family emergency, I could easily get to where I needed to be.

I arrived in New Mexico with every intention of staying. However, I soon became disillusioned. My family used to visit relatives in New Mexico when I was a kid. Unfortunately, times have changed, and it’s no longer the New Mexico I once knew. Long after other states had fully reopened, New Mexico still had mask mandates and other restrictions. Many small, locally own businesses, the places that gave the community its character, ended up shuttering for good. I was unable to go out and do the things I enjoyed doing, I was living in total isolation.

We humans are hard-wired to be social creatures. Isolation isn’t good for our mental health and emotional well being. Two years of forced isolation effected health issues I had before the pandemic, and not in a good way.  So, I could either keep living in isolation, and watch my health continue to deteriorate, or I could take matters into my own hands and get the hell out of New Mexico. I opted for the latter.

This past spring I finally took that road trip to the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex, and I went house shopping. It was quite an experience. I got into bidding wars with other folks who, like me, are getting the hell out of “blue” states. I found a lovely home in Denton, north of Dallas, which I’ll be moving into a a few weeks.

One of the high points of my visit was when my agent took me to Frisco, a town between Dallas and Denton, for her regular Tuesday night music bingo. It was the first time I’d felt anything close to normal in two years. I was sitting at a big table with people who were actually enjoying themselves and we all sang along with the music while we played the game. 

In the meantime, I’ve sold my home in Las Cruces, and I’ll be moving in a few weeks. I can’t wait to start this new chapter in my life.

Marina Martindale