Nearly 4 years ago we married. A short 5 months after that, we stepped foot in Salt Lake City for the first time. Within a month, She was living in SLC full-time while He remained back in Oregon in law school. Almost half of the first year of our marriage was spent apart. Not the way we had drawn it up. Three and a half years later, we are saying goodbye to Salt Lake City. With some sadness and much anticipation, Utah is what once was…
She Says: My Eight Emotions of Utah
Salt Lake was the second toughest stint in my life. The number of emotions involved in living in a state like Utah are plentiful. In fact, I might now have multiple personalities as a result of our almost four year existence there. Let me define these emotions a little more clearly via my favorite thing … a list.
1. Fear. I’m not usually a fearful person. Sure, bumper cars, murky water, and public transportation get to me. But who doesn’t freak out about those things? Salt Lake, however, scared the sh*@ out of me on several occasions, starting with the night my husband was crunched in an accident involving our precious Geo Prism and some rambunctious teenagers and ending with the fact that our house was haunted. I used to wet my pants in fear as doors randomly opened, footsteps were heard up and down the stairs while I was home alone and shadows floated aimlessly through the living room. It was horrible. Up until my husband named her Clara and joked that she’d run around the bedroom in lingerie for him. I never witnessed that. Which leads me to my next emotion…
2. Annoyance. I never realized that BOTH our cars were totaled during the time we lived in Salt Lake until writing this. Annoying. Several months before we lost the poor Priz, a damn tree branch the size of Paul Bunyon’s giant leg fell on top of our Jeep and literally flattened it. We also had to replace everything plumbing or electrical in the house at some point in time, frequently leaving us either soaked, without water entirely, or electrocuted at the flip of a switch. There was honestly not one week we lived in the house that there wasn’t something to repair or replace.
3. Shock. This could also be considered surprise, but I think shock is more appropriate since it has a more negative connotation. I was most shocked when the children of the lunatic who lived in the home before us stopped by to trick-or-treat at the home they spent the first 8 years or so of their lives in. Not only did they take more candy than any other kids, they both went on and on about how they used to have “friends” living in the house before we moved in an attempt to trick me into thinking they weren’t who they were. Little did they remember that we toured the house while they were in it when we contemplated buying it. Their mother also left hundreds of family pictures with a garage load of crap when she moved out so I was very familiar with who they were. You might not be phased by lying children, but I can tell you this is just a kindly brief example of some of the dysfunctional people that live in this state. I won’t even get into the neighbor who stole our half of a split alley or the couple who used to beat the crap out of each other in the first apartment we lived in.
4. Anger. I was only angry in Salt Lake a handful of times. Most of those times I was pissed at my husband, but I did exhibit this emotion several times at my first place of employment out there. They subsequently laid off most of their employees right before I quit and they are just mad at the world right now.
5. Happiness. I doubled up on drinking in Salt Lake and was always pretty cheery when I was on champagne or Bud Light. I was most happy at happy hour, which I think is a requirement, but also when I was photo boothing it up at the Twilight Lounge or at after work drinks. I was also happy when we went camping, hiked, or played softball with friends.
6. Sadness. I was only really sad three times in Salt Lake. The first was when my husband came down with swine flu. The second was when my Dad was in the hospital for a swollen spit gland back in Seattle. And of course, the last was when I left. I was devastated to say goodbye to the friends I made out there and cried almost the entire 11 hour drive home. I moped several days after I was back in Portland and still miss everyone out there a ton.
7. Excitement. I was excited a lot, and for good reason. I snowboarded a handful of times, which is a favorite past time of mine. I sat next to Adrien Grenier at Sundance. There were loads of great concerts that were hardly populated because most people in Salt Lake don’t know much about music. We went to Vegas more often than what is probably appropriate. Friends had babies. Friends got engaged. Friends came out to visit. And we travelled to Europe and Mexico while we lived there.
8. Gratefulness. This is perhaps the most impacting emotion that came with living in Salt Lake. I was more aware of friendships. I fell in love with all things family. And my relationship with my husband became stronger than ever since we spent so much time together holding on for dear life. I was and am still also grateful for the opportunity to be a minority for the first time in my life. I learned patience, how to better appreciate differences, and to embrace my faith and values in a new way.
So there you have it. My top emotions defined through Salt Lake experiences. I am a better person for having had them. I’ve grown up. I’ve made lifelong friends. And I like my husband even more than I ever thought I could.
And for these reasons, I’ll go back. Just don’t expect me to like the watery beer or that slut of a ghost hanging out at our old place.
Portland, get ready for us.
He Says: Dear Salt Lake
Dear Salt Lake,
It’s been fun. It really has. We’ve had some good times. You took me in with open arms. Well, one open arm and one Mormon arm. But still, at least part of you welcomed me happily, even if the other part received me like a man at a divorced women’s group. You have beautiful mountains and pleasant hikes. Remember the time when we hiked for 8 hours through a riverbed canyon? Or how about when we fished and camped alongside your mountain stream? Those were good days. Many of your people are wonderful individuals too. You introduced me to some great friends. I hope they won’t feel like they have to choose between us and we can all still be friends.
In the end, though, it just didn’t work out. I’m sorry you had to learn this way—me up and leaving in the middle of the night, leaving you a letter like this. Don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s me. It really is. But you are crazy. Don’t get me wrong, you gave me some good times; but you’re crazy Salt Lake.
Remember when we first got together? I was studying a lot, but there was that crazy couple that lived above us. I guess crazy is an understatement. He was abusive. We would hear loud thumps sometimes and then soft feminine sobs. No matter how many times the cops were called or he was stared down in confrontation, nothing ever changed. You never seemed to care Salt Lake. You just looked the other way. The cops always left without changing anything. I never understood that. It still makes me sick that you didn’t care Salt Lake.
You gave my wife and I a great house. (Still waiting for someone to invent a sarcasm font for me.) In reality, it will be a great house…for whoever the next owner is. They won’t have a care in the world about it because everything is now fixed. Granted, it is over 100 years old so some things are bound to break, but I just spoke with a friend in London that owns a house that is 563 years old. Yes, you read that right. Five Hundred and Sixty-Three Years! If he’s living there with little problem, you would think the house you gave us wouldn’t have been such a pain. You would think.
There was the previous owner, who left two dumpsters full of trash in the house and stole some of our fixtures before she moved out. Or remember this one? This is good. Remember when there was a plumbing problem and we had your friendly plumber come out to help us? After investigating, he looks us straight in the eye and says condescendingly, “Looks like it’s just your wife’s hair in the shower drain clogging things up.” 4 weeks and $12,000 later, we had removed tree roots the size of small trunks from our plumbing and replaced the entire mainline. We were without water for a month. Just some hair huh? That was classic.
There were some fun shows we went to together. It always seemed so easy to get tickets too because no one went to concerts. That was really nice. Remember the first time we went to a concert together? I went to get us beers and stood in that long line for 10 minutes before realizing I was actually in the line for ICE CREAM! The beer line was next to me and had ZERO people in it. Boy was I shocked! Or, how about that concert when just as we were leaving you dropped a giant tree onto our Jeep and smashed it to pieces. That’s what crazy people do, Salt Lake, but I guess it did give me firewood for the winter. (The entire winter! That’s how big the tree was!)
We had a couple good Holidays together, like that Easter we had with my parents and cousin. That was pleasant. The Halloween we had last year when all of my friends came out was really fun. You remember that? But then there was that Thanksgiving when I was out of town and you just decided to break the furnace. Why would you do that? No furnace? In the middle of the winter in Utah? What were you thinking, Salt Lake? That was not cheap to get a new one.
There was the first night in our new house when you cut the power and my wife and I had no idea where anything was because it was all boxed up and too dark to see. Or the winter night I came home at 2am after a 5-hour flight only to find the outside spigot in the back had burst and water was spraying everywhere. Or the car that smashed into me head on at 35 mph. (I think I still have concussion symptoms from that one. WTF is wrong with you, Salt Lake?) The MCL injury and 4 months of rehab were great, not to mention when you introduced me to Swine Flu. Thanks a lot for that. How are you even friends with Swine Flu?
Remember that time at 3am when you broke the hot water line in our bathroom and woke me up in the middle of the night? Bleary eyed, I had to reach through a stream of scalding hot water to cut the water source. You were really laughing about those burns.
Here’s the thing, Salt Lake. You weren’t good for me. And remember that part I said at the beginning of this letter? When I said it’s not you it’s me? I lied. It’s you. You’re a crazy bitch, Salt Lake. I can’t handle you anymore. Case in point—when you found out I was leaving, you busted some more things in my sale-pending house. A few more pipes, a pressure regulator, punched some holes into my walls…who knows what else.
It’s over, Salt Lake. I tried. I really tried. And we did have some good times, but this is the end. Quit trying to keep me there. Quit trying to get me back. Quit calling. I’m over you. Torture somebody else.
I, too, know your relationship pain with Salt Lake. I moved here six years ago to the month. I keep trying to break up with her but no matter what she keeps sucking me back in, forcing me to stay. It’s true, it really is “her” problem. She is crazy. I have lived all over the world but have not had any of the issues I have had living in this place. Pray for me to find the way so that I can escape as well. Congratulations to you.