Go West, Young Man! or… Californee is the place ya oughta be!

Bob with my "oldest" friend Mike Z.

This sort of summarizes a lot of posts that I actually wrote back in May, but this one is a LOT shorter! And Better. I just started “blogging” back in May during the eclipse, thinking I would just, y’know, write stuff. Right now I’m going through a major transition, moving to California, leaving friends and family behind because I think I will enjoy the physical, social, and economic environment out there more while I figure out how I will spend the rest of my life. So that’s what’s happened lately, and so that’s what I have to write about!

It’s about 14 years of trying to run uphill.

“The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some (my emphasis) reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.” Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942

Then again, he also wrote this…”The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” Camus will turn over in his grave when he reads this,but, if you can find a better explanation for existentialism in less words than those two quotes, I would love to hear it.

Why, you ask? I thought of this myth and Camus ‘treatment’ of it often during those 14 years, as regarded my life. That’s why. His optimism – faced with the absurdity and pointlessness of existence, he still carries on the struggle – may not come through in this great little animated short on You Tube: Sisyphus (1974) by Jankovics Marcell [2:05] It’s an incredible use of India ink and brush as a medium for animation. There are dozens of spectacular and marvelously creative drawings of the the human form in sharp contrast, heavily shadowed silhouette. I happened to catch a PBS Program back in 1978 called Academy Leaders – all Oscar-winning shorts – hosted by Norman Corwin, and I’ve been wanting to see it again for 30 years.

So I’m going to California, AGAIN. Again, I’m going to California on a whim, although the first time the decision was made in hours, this one has taken months to decide, plan, and realize. Sold the house late ’99. Divorce final, early ’00. Money from house gone. Broke. Alone. Again. Somehow, (see Sisyphus above) the store is still open 3 years later. But it’s different now. In Sisyphean terms, I’m about to escape the old curse, the old struggle, and begin a newer, fresher one. Here’s how…

While I was still married, I paid a business broker to analyze my store and price it. $57k, I think, back in 1998. I shopped the store around town to the 3 people who might have the means and who might talk to me, but the market was so grim for most of us that no one was nibbling, even for much less. My friend Bob from California and I have kept in occasional communication over the years, with him checking in on my eBay sales (moderate success) and online store sales (a big failure). He has a big, dark, dormant, dusty warehouse full of distributor-sized investments in various products, some of which I am trying to sell myself. Well, I don’t know who said it first, but we talked about me (as a business) moving into the warehouse and going virtual. One thing led to another and I started thinking seriously about giving up the corner, the cornerstone of my life for 23 years, and got serious about untangling my alliances with Uptown, Minneapolis, and Minnesota.

I figure the price has been dropping about 10% a year, so by April, I’m thinking maybe half of that, with a 10k discount for quick cash. I’ve been talking with Tim, a convention dealer friend who was buying new stuff through my account and a weekly customer, and he was the first who didn’t say “NO” so it was basically a done deal! He didn’t want everything, just what the customers saw everyday, and the ongoing traffic, not the mountains of overstock in my house and storage locker. I got about $5000. And I let him use the name!

So I have to figure out how to clear out a 10×30 foot storage space, the house I moved back into with stuff that has never left since 1987, even when we bought a different house and moved out! I flew to Cali twice this summer to talk to Bob and find a place to live – paying rent already. Last week, I went to the Chicago Comicon, and stayed with my sister Kathy to save money. To make this story a little shorter, they offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse, their old Buick! I’ve been wondering if my van would ever make it out there, or last very long once there. So I have to get down there to drive it back and pack, sell the van, drive to California, fly back in October and rent a big truck to go to the “big” Minnesota Comic Convention and SELL EVERYTHING, and pack the truck and leave the next day! There are a million loose ends to tie up. So to me it looks like a big, complicated rock that has to be pushed up the hill – ONE MORE TIME.

I’m  throwing myself a going away party August 15th (who else would do it?) and I’m going to surprise my guests with  “Final Yard/Garage/Moving sale” items on display. Asking for money so I can move away from them – classy, eh? Then two days of the neighborhood yard sale and it’s off with two animals, and my bike in a Buick.

So I have 2 weeks for the final-except-for-the-convention-truck-leg in October push. Gotta go, I’ll tell you about the trip in Day 1

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