Shackles and Freedom and the Space In-Between

Your bike chain breaks. The rains pour down. But still you soldier forward into the crosswalk and down the sidewalk. Because inside your wallet is a coffee shop¬†punchcard¬†with 16 holes, the magic number, the promised land, and you’re power-walking toward the place wiping raindrops from your brow. You step inside and reveal the punchcard with an irreplaceable smile. You hand it over, and within minutes you’re sipping a free mocha milkshake. It’s the little things. Since surrendering my second car […]

I Don’t Want to Do This

I don’t want to do this. But here I am. Blogging. Tonight. Late. After 10pm. Hardly an hour or two to spare until midnight. Just in time for Day 20. Today’s a great example of doing something I don’t want to do after an entire day of doing what I live for. This morning, I ventured out to the Smokies, a two-hour jaunt from her close cousin, the Blue Ridge. There I reunited with a Californian friend I’d not seen […]

Hello, Mr. Moose Head with the Hookah: or, Escaping the Staleness

Tonight I hopped on my bike not knowing where I’d be riding it. The further away I rode from my house, the more the pieces fell into place. A street here. An uphill climb there. A brand new coffee shop where I’d yet to sit and sip and ruminate. This place I found downtown is part-bookstore, part-bar, part-coffee shop: a two-story mixed breed of the coffee shop species. Turquoise pipes line the ceiling, and a man plays guitar down below. […]

You and I Will Be Okay

Earlier this year, I lost my beloved Mitsy to old age and a fuming engine on I-81S. I cried over her (wept, really), I memorialized her, and I spent the next two months of my life walking around Asheville until my sister’s old car became my new car — Des. She’s a 1998 Toyota Corolla, and her full name is Desdemona — a name I wasn’t wild about. Rather than christen her with a new name and inflict her with […]

What to do when you’re lost and lonely and sad

One of the perks of living in Asheville — a big one, really — is the opportunity to escape to the mountains anytime I please. Growing up in eastern Pennsylvania and then eastern Georgia, I never knew about daily life with mountains. My vision and expectations always encompassed a flat horizon preceded by fields and trees. When I moved to California, I might as well have switched from black-and-white to HD color. I didn’t know people could live next to […]

When I’m Getting a Dog

I’m dogsitting this weekend. Before I moved to Asheville, I never dog-sat or cat-sat or any-other-animal-sat a day in my life. Now, it seems I do it every other weekend. At last count, I think I’ve kept ten different animals alive since moving here. It started with one pet-sitting request at work, and it just escalated from there. Now I’m pet-sitting for everybody who has my phone number. I enjoy pet-sitting. I do. I love animals. Animals are so faithful. […]

I’m Hitting the Road Again

When my roommate left for a trip a couple weeks ago, I determined I’d dive back into Couchsurfing again. I’d hosted 10-15 folks going back to my move to Asheville in February, but only one in the prior four months. I stopped hosting for various reasons. My roommate and I had lots of friends visit this summer, so there were weekends we legitimately couldn’t take in another body. But for all the other weekends and, yes, weekdays, my excuses were […]

Wandering Wednesday #18: Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

You guys. When on earth was the last time I wandered on a Wednesday with y’all? I can’t even tell you. (I mean, I could just look it up on YouTube — it’s right there — but that’d defeat the purpose of such a hyperbolic statement.) A lot has transpired since I last wandered on a Wednesday! Like my getting on Snapchat, because that’s where all the cool kids are hanging out. My username is thomasmarkz. Please add me and […]