I had just returned to Albuquerque and was asleep in Room 133 of the Howard Johnson Express when my room phone rang. It was a few minutes past seven.
“Yes?” I croaked through my morning fog. I have never woken up easily or quickly.
“You’d better come to the front desk.”
“Someone broke into your car. The police are here.”
Some things easily focus the mind. This was one of them. Moments later, I was dressed and in the lobby.
Through thirty-three months of travel, I had never worried about the safety of my car or its contents. And if I had ever parked in the one spot in a hotel parking lot out of range of security cameras, as I had apparently done the previous night, I had no awareness of it.
A guest at the next-door Clarion Hotel had called 911 when she had seen two young men smash my driver’s side front window. By the time the police arrived, the malefactors had vanished — fortunately, with nothing of real value: personal documents, my inexpensive point-and-shoot camera and, significantly, the now-dusty digital audio recorder I had used to record my God Activation events. Not sophisticated enough to recognize the marketability of my Canadian passport, they had left it on the front passenger seat before fleeing.
As I filled out police reports and called banks, credit card issuers, insurance companies and auto-glass outlets, I wondered what it meant. By the end of the day I knew: If I had lost my itinerant identity in the break-in, it must be time for a new identity, a more established identity. I realized in that moment that my full-time traveling days had come to an end. My new ID, then, would need to reflect my newly settled state...as soon as I could figure out which state to settle in.
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