It was a great leap from northern New Jersey to southern California when I decided to relocate two years ago. At that time, I felt like a pioneer girl from Willa Cather’s novel or a Horace Greeley in his Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco. Now the not-so-long time has passed, and I still have the job I got first in California, but I am now not sure about being rooted here like a tree without luscious fruits, which is just one of many plain, common trees whose sudden absence will not be conspicuous. Amid in this existential tides of life, willful, fateful, or both perhaps, reading today’s article from the New York Times about a declining trend of relocation after the ease of Pandemic-related restrictions statewide seems to shake my already shaking ship adrift between Scylla and Charybdis.
The article reports that now that the post-Covid 19 has dawned a new era of remote-controlled employment, many people do not need to move to another state for their new jobs unless they are packaged with satisfying relocation fees. And staying put in their home grounds while working remotely for their bosses across the Rocky mountain or on the other side of the coast fortifies a sense of close-knit family and community that they feel strongly related and belonging by staying put in their home grounds. Further, the article illustrates a particular fragment of well-to-do middle-class people with professional careers or executive positions who indeed don’t have to take trouble moving their already content families to new locations. Finally, the article excludes the peripheral class that orbits around the lesser bright solar system whose life spans depend on a dominant sun’s brilliance.
People are still moving to and from for their uncertain futures, as I have witnessed so far, despite the Pandemic scare less than the existential threats of daily life. Hasn’t the journalist seen enough of the genuine fabrics of life by getting on a morning bus carrying a crowd of the middlings and underlings heading for their workplaces? Isn’t The New York Times proud of being one of the most liberal newspapers in the world? Or is it for most liberal middle-class only?
I still like to think of myself as a frontier woman in the Still Wild West, living with an elderly mother and an eleven-month-old tabby cat with chronically weak respiratory and digestive systems in a make-shift house on a pitiful homestead often besieged by the lawless and the uncultured. And I still don’t know my decision to move from here to there was a fool’s wish, acting on a foolhardy impulse neverendingly. Nevertheless, I want that all that wise sayings about hope and courage are truth and nothing but the truth, and I am sure that many people share similar kinds of wishes in the courses of their lives that today’s article excludes.
Puss in the Boots is an ingenious trickster of a good sort. Who helps his impecunious master left with none but the Cat himself bequeathed by his father. The Cat’s goodwill to help his good master launches a creative series of playing the Game of Fortune:
bagging rabbits and presenting them as gifts from his Marquis master, turning an Ogre into a mouse and eating it, and commandeering its castle to the marquis’s own, all of which lead to the blissful marriage of his master to the king’s lovely princess.
Of course, the brilliant booted puss becomes a great lord in dolce vita. Who knows? Your molly and tom at home may be a puss in the boots at night when you are asleep. So, be nice to them. They know who you are.
Judy begins to feel like a whimsical paramour leaving for a new object of love at sight. What was pleasingly solitary in nature seems to be prolonged isolation from the world that Judy so wanted to escape, and her coquettish dalliance with the wild rugged nature is no longer wanted as the Sun is slowly moving westerly to cave into the Evening Star and the Moon. It might be still early for calling it a day to you with your weekend frolics still left to re-calibrate your kicks for another week, but it’s late for Judy, who would rather mourn for a passing of the last day of a weekend at home than rebel against it in a frenzy of nocturnal bacchanalian orgy elsewhere outside the comforts of her den. Now the anxiety holds a grip on her, and she begins to fret, and the miasma of the ill-feelings begins to effuse the uneasiness to Nena who begins to whimper and to the accidental trio of strangers observing every move that this girl makes as they are nearing to her, part perplexed, part bewildered. What a curious mixture of emotions she puts on her face! Rufus, Ben, and Raphael become curiouser and curiouser as they get nearer to the porcelain doll in their eyes.
‘Howdy! Lass! What are you doing here?’ Raphael, the talker, begins the talking. ‘We are headed west toward Los Adios Mountain. Do you know where it is?’ Judy incredulously looks up the mounted man with a mustache and a sombrero and thinks that he looks very convincingly like Sancho Panza, Don Quixote’s faithful servant. There’s something about the man, thinks Judy. The diction, the ambiance, and the deportment are rather anachronistic or incongruous even to the social media era where people flag their selfies on the internet as if they were on a popularity contest and compete for likes and comments as emotional security and collateral for their forged so-called self-confidence. My Dear Reader, don’t misunderstand that it’s immoral for you to hang your beautiful pictures on a digital platform for popular admiration. It’s just that this act of self-promotion serves as a springboard for testing your marketability and your mobility as a result of winning the competition for likability based upon looks and frivolous comments that do not mean much, much at all. Amid this train of thought, Judy despite being agitated by the lateness of the time warms to this amiable man and decides to answer him. ‘This is Wildwood Park, sir. Los Adios Mountain is 150 miles away from here. And you should go northward. You are far off from your destination.’ It is a sight to behold – the face of Raphael grimaced partly and bewildered partly, all in dazzling chemistry of emotions that is hard to describe. So much so that this display of indescribable human emotions on Raphael mollifies Nena’s agitation and puts the tempestuous waves of her emotions at ease. Now Judy feels refreshed and happy.
Rufus and Ben are within an earshot of this dialogue between the pretty lass and Raphael and cannot but be disappointed by the fact that they are once again on the wrong track, which seems to be forever chasing after a phantom of the dead Union soldier obfuscating them lest they should find where the buried treasure is. Where’s the Aztec gold? When can they find it? Maybe the miasma of frustration and agitation that hovered over Judy must have been transmitted to Rufus and Ben on the stead because now their faces mirror the symptoms of a malady of broken hearts. Then suddenly, Nena now recovered from the plague of uneasiness, springs forward and wags its chubby tail and bark toward the firmament as if it were looking at a thing invisible to your and my human eyes. Nena keeps barking and looking at the puzzled crowd behind as though it were trying to explain to them that there is something in the air that only Nena can see but we can’t see. ‘What is it, Nena? What do you see?’ Judy knows that dogs and cats can see supernatural things because their eyes can look through the souls of the living and ghosts of the dead. Judy tries to follow the direction where Nena is looking and barking and sees a gossamer trace of haze vanishing into the air like the vestige of a propeller plane soon to be effaced across the skies. The more Judy tries to scrutinize it, the faster it disappears. And Nena keeps barking, looking in front of the curious crowd. What is it that the dog is seeing?