08/16/2021 2 By BuddyCushman

Saturday morning I drove a mile to the closest credit union here in Encinitas and opened an account. In order to make the minimum $25 deposit for a new account, I had to use the credit union’s atm to withdraw money from my credit union in Portland, Oregon – which is where I have done all my ‘banking’ business for over a decade, still do my banking business, and will continue to do my banking business. You’re a member with them wherever you land in the country.

I did not, therefore, need to open an account at another credit union. So, why’d I do it? I did it because I thought and hoped it would help me feel a little more grounded. The California driver’s license and CA tags for the Camry helped me to feel more local. Like a local. As does having an Encinitas address and receiving my mail here. But those realities have not helped me to feel more grounded. Nor actually living here, as I feel very little connection with various housemates or with the idea of “home”, which, like that, I always envision finger quotes around when I say the word.

Among many feelings which slowly and surely have been identified by me, within me, and I have talked about the most prominent of them here at Couch Surfing, it has come that I am feeling and experiencing a sense of groundlessness. Not so much disconnectedness, that’s been fairly easy for me to feel pretty much anywhere I’ve been. I’m for the most part an introvert – I’ve got tests to prove it – and a loner. Most my favorite things to do are alone things. My (ex) wife filled that alone space and introvert human profile a hundred times over. Ten thousand times. So much way more than enough. Then all that sweet emotional energy was gone in an instant and life guided me 1001 miles away. And knowing nearly no one, and having a nearly zero sense of “home”, it’s been the Pacific Ocean and the “feel” of a beach community doing nearly all the filling of that empty space. And while the endless ocean and surfboards and succulents everywhere are valiant and magnanimous in their efforts, I am left with this feeling of being groundless.

I have reached out and am reaching out to connect with people. I’ve asked a few people from those “meetings” if they’d like to get a coffee sometime, and one guy actually had me out to his house and it was fun and fulfilling. But he never got around to the coffee and it was in the boonies many, many miles from here, and I told him I’d need to stand on a corner with a can hustling for gas money to come back again, and when I drove away I knew I’d probably not. There are a couple more guys who may be possibles, Encinitas guys. Giving time time on them.

Yes, I have a growing familiarity with best driving routes and shortcuts and now four favorite walks and amazingly lush places from which to overlook the ocean. I have a “meeting” place where people recognize me and say hi in genuine welcome. Now I have a California credit union with a whopping balance and it’s only a mile away. And I have a job and that is in fact a real ground for me – already people express serious gratitude I’ve arrived. They mean it. Even the kids seem to like me. And never mind I have twice driven down to Ocean Beach and done things which have become sacred for me over the years, including eating at Hodad’s. Though those things solo now.

It’s good to have self-awareness. In a recent phone call my friend Kate said we should always be looking at ourselves, as living entities, and working to better ourselves. I have grief – of course. And I have disconnectedness – pretty normal. I have my hopes and dreams too, also normal, and they’re big. And my nearly ever-present sense of wonder. That’s a gift. I have this Blog, I have my unfinished books staring at me, I have new painting canvases waiting for me to show up with a brush. I even have a brand new computer in the wind, on the way.

And I have this feeling of groundlessness too. Even with the credit union.