The Roswell Journals: This Is Not the Memoir You Thought It Would Be

funnel cloud

It happened. One afternoon, I found myself in the city of Roswell…permanently. And I thought to myself, What am I doing here? It was a little late to have such thoughts, though Roswell happened like a sudden blow to the head. Oh, don’t take me wrong; there was talk of moving to this alien foreign land long before the move occurred. However, when it happened, it happened fast.

Hold on a second. I know you’re protesting my use of the word “foreign” for a city inside the borders of my home state. But honestly, Roswell is foreign to me. It’s not in the River Valley, for a start. No, it’s not even precisely desert — a kind of merging into the plains region — a kind of ebb and flow into the ghastly state of Texas. If this is still the Land of Enchantment, will someone ease me back into the dream?

Roswell is a long city, as though stretched out artificially for God-only-knows-what reason. I would make the usual joke, but I promised myself I wouldn’t use that word in this entire journal rendering of the place…

…where there are little green beings painted on shop windows and who peer at me from every corner.

Remind me where I am again.

Within the first 48-hours I was here, the air shook with sirens blaring out the impending arrival of a funnel cloud that couldn’t even be bothered with touching down, but rather pathetically chose to rip up an outbuilding to the west. What touches down in Roswell stays in Roswell. The funnel cloud clearly didn’t want to stay.

For unknown reasons, I am one of these disasters that’s touched down here. On my first afternoon, I discovered I’d be living in a dingy, small, mouse-infested apartment. After I swallowed my panic at having to clean the filthy place, I rented a steam-cleaner for the carpet. For the record, I haven’t had to live with carpet for the last thirteen years. I suffer from carpet paranoia — I’m likely certifiable, but that’s beside the point.

It fell apart from there. Literally. Everything. The vacuum, for example. I was overextended from working 20-hour days. I was at my last tether, already, you see. And this — this place where I had nothing wasn’t welcoming me. Even the little brown mice were running into far corners of the apartment as I tried repeatedly to clean the carpet.

When I say I had nothing, I mean that. I had driven down to clean before the rest of the family brought the furniture. I would ostensibly be sleeping on the wet carpet with the skittering mice, which, in my fertile imagination, turned into rabid predatory rats.

Therefore, I chose to sleep in my economy sedan of very small interior proportions. I filled a travel coffee mug with wine and carried it down to the car with a bag of sweet potato chips. I had my pillow and blankets, at least, as I was meant to be sleeping on the apartment floor.

So this is Roswell, I mused, as I leaned back as far as the passenger seat would go. This gave me a perfect view of the blindingly bright 24-hour gas station lights across the street. I drank the wine and slipped into a daze of exhaustion. After a bit, I actually fell asleep.

I woke and slept in fits and starts for the next six hours, my mind finally having stumbled on the truth (truth leads to sleep leads to…). Sometimes truth descends when you leave the enchantment of comfort behind you. In this case, “comfort” equaled the lush Shire of the River Valley.

Once I left comfort, I learned that in my waking and sleeping, my mind had the ability to alter the reality around me. When I closed my eyes and drifted into sleep, my mind recoded and thus reordered the world. When I opened my eyes, the air coalesced around me and exhibited the changed patterns. The leaves, the wind, the light — I had altered the patterns on everything. Such was my ability.

Due to this new reality, I could honestly claim when I woke the next morning that I’d slept better than I had in weeks.

Welcome to Roswell, the land of…

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