Atlanta Tales, Volume One

I’ll be honest, I’ve been putting off this blog for a long time. I originally intended to write one weekly once I arrived in Atlanta. Week One passed and I didn’t feel like there were enough interesting things to write about. Week Two? I’d rather forget about Week Two completely. Wednesday, September 5 will mark 21 days as an Atlanta resident.

In some respects, it feels a lot longer!

So, your first question is probably, “How’s it been so far? How great is Atlanta?”

I love this city and the fact that I can get around almost anywhere on my own, independently, without the need for a cab driver. That is a big plus that not many cities, especially Richmond, can offer. I’m not gonna lie though, it has not been an easy transition. In fact, it has been extremely difficult. As you may remember, I was approved to move into this apartment in mid-June. That’s what really started the ball rolling on relocating. As a welcome bonus, in late July, I was contacted by a recruiter about a Help Desk job that was with a very well known company and on the MARTA line, and when I told him my move in date was in mid-August, he even had an interview with the hiring manager scheduled for Friday August 17th and, assuming I passed that (and based on my resume, he had no doubt I would) I was even given a ‘very tentative start date’ of September 4.

Key word? Tentative. On the morning of my scheduled interview (which was an in person interview that afternoon), I had a phone message from the recruiter that the HR Manager had cancelled all interviews for the day with no explanation.

During my second week in Atlanta, I had three great leads on jobs [not counting the canceled interview]. By Friday of week two, all three had evaporated. I’m still sending resumes everyday for at least three hours in the afternoon, but have yet to hear back on any.

To say that the situation has me stressed is a bit of an understatement.

Amid the stress and uncertainty, there have been several highlights during my time here thus far, such as:

* My first weekend here, I saw Duran Duran at an outdoor amphitheatre. In fact, part of the reason I moved a bit sooner than planned once my original moving plans fell thru was so I would be in town to see this band. My friend Mimi and her friend Mandy made the trip and saw the show. Since I bought a solo ticket long after Mimi and Mandy bought theirs, I ended up with a 12th row seat. I originally planned to write a review about the show, but when I woke up the next morning and read this review by Melissa Ruggieri (formerly the music critic for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and now the music critic for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), I knew I could add nothing. She’s pitch perfect in her synopsis and it is very apparent that she is a long time Duran Duran fan. The only thing I will add is that I did meet a very attractive fellow fan who was kind enough to invite me backstage. I declined for several reasons (I know…Sarah LeClaire will probably never speak to me again, but really, I’d rather the pass go to a fan who would freak out upon seeing Simon, Roger, John and/or Nick. I’m a fan, but I’m not that guy who needs or wants to meet Duran Duran.) I will say that it did wonders for the ego to be invited backstage. So, to fellow fan S, thank you…and you made my night!

*Of course, baseball is a great escape. Even on tough nights when the Braves lose, it’s still a great escape. Friday night, the team had a one run lead in the 9th, only to have their closer Craig Kimbrel give up a tying home run and then the Phillies scored three in the tenth inning to win it. That wasn’t easy to watch, but it was fun chatting up a very cute blonde sitting in my seat by mistake (I wasn’t gonna ask her to move, and thankfully no one asked me to move from the seat I chose, which apparently was never purchased.)  But what’s one of the great things about baseball? You never know when something unforgettable is going to happen. Sunday night, after a listless first six innings where the team was down 7-1, the Braves cut it to 7-5 and, with 2-out in the 9th this happened.(Click the green arrow to hear the radio call).  It was one of those moments where everyone who stuck around knew they had seen something special. And, as such, after the game ended, no one really wanted to leave the stadium. Everyone in my section stayed at least another ten minutes, high-fiving, screaming and just generally basking in the buzz that suddenly enveloped the place. I’m thrilled that I was there to personally witness a moment that people will be talking about for years to come.

While there have been great moments and I truly love the city, there have also been some setbacks. I am reminded of a line from a Sophia Loren film, maybe ‘Divorce, Italian Style’? The line is ‘Never divorce your wife to marry your mistress!’ What’s changed now that Atlanta is home and not just a yearly vacation spot? Walking. Lots and lots of walking. Now that Atlanta is no longer a mistress, we’re at that phase where we are still crazy about one another, but we are learning a lot about one another, some of it quite surprising.

MARTA [which stands for Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority] does allow me to get around town, but I have discovered that almost everything is a bit of a walk from a MARTA stop. I don’t mind the walking while I am doing it. I usually have my iPod and headphones so I have a soundtrack as I walk around town (and there is very little cooler than lip-syncing the lyrics to ‘The Seventh Stranger’ while crossing the street en route to a train station), but when I finish walking and I am back at the apartment, within two hours or so, the leg/knee pain hits. And it doesn’t let up for a long time; sometimes entire days. Last week (the forgettable Week Two) I stayed in for two days straight to rest, knowing eventually I would have to go out and start the cycle all over again.

I have a pedometer waiting for me in the business office. It came in the mail on Friday but the office where they dropped the package off locked up for the weekend before I got back to the apartment to retrieve it. I guesstimate that I average about four or five miles on foot when I go out. The masochist in me wants to know exactly how much I walk, just because I am sick and twisted like that.

The apartment itself is very old, and most of the appliances are on their last legs. The staff here are very nice but it does take about three reminders/follow up phone calls to get maintenance to complete a request. Currently my ice maker is disconnected because it was infested with mold and rather than bleach it (which both maintenance and I feared would cause each subsequent batch of ice to taste like, well bleach), they are awaiting parts to repair the unit. I doubt they still make parts for a 1986 ice maker…

Right now, I am very stressed, and I don’t like that. Apart from wonderful friends Vickie and Travis, I have adapted to having almost no support system here locally, (that’s what Facebook is for). I’m adapting to doing everything myself. The only item that needs to change, and soon, is the job. Until then, this will all seem like a very expensive folly. Once I secure a job and an income, then this place will begin to feel like home.

This has been the most emotional, nerve-wracking summer since my parents divorced in 1985. I got through that, and I will find a way through this.

Until next time, thanks for reading,