9:30 in the morning, already 90 degrees.  Sitting on my new balcony drinking coffee in the sun.  Listening to birds and insects that make entirely different sounds than I’m used to.  I wanted to write while on my road trip, but I was too exhausted. 2,042 miles in 3 days left me bleary-eyed and shaking after a full day of driving.  Once I pulled into a sweet, sweet chain motel parking lot, all I could do was remove my clothes and lie on the enormous bed (on my belly because my ass was sore from sitting on it for 13 hours straight) and zone out to bad cable T.V. 

I spent the first night in a small town in Virginia, off of I-81.  Driving south early the next morning through the misty Blue Ridge Mountains while listening to Bluegrass Sunday on the radio made me very happy.  Sometimes trips just feel right.  I fell in love with Tennessee this time around.  Gentlemen opened doors for me, people smiled and struck up conversation while pumping gas.  While I was fueling up, a man next to me asked me if I was heading to or from college (I assumed he asked because my car was packed full of junk).  I told him neither, that I was relocating for a new job.  He asked if it was my first job.  I laughed and told him certainly not.  That I was 31 and this will probably be my 20th job or so.  On the radio I heard there was road construction up ahead in Knoxville and I-40 was being detoured.  When I asked him about it, he happily gave me some pointers to avoid the mess. 

Second night was spent in Forrest City Arkansas.  From what I gathered the ‘city’ was comprised entirely of fluorescent-lit chain motels and fast food joints.  I felt as if I stepped onto the set of a movie where McDonalds, Exxon, Motel 6, Best Western, Waffle House, and Taco Bell paid big bucks for advertising.  I did manage to find a grocery store within walking distance of my motel.  It was here that I really felt like I was in Arkansas (or another world).  People with thick southern accents and slow movements, that despite the heat didn’t sweat.  Unlike me, who was pink and very sweaty.  It was because of this feeling of being scorched by the sun through my windshield that I was craving a cold beer.  I wandered through the store grateful to look at things other than brake lights, road signs and mile markers.  Collards for 50 cents! Almost reason enough to move here.  When I approached the counter (which was confusing and seemed backwards) with my bag o’ salad, a stock pile of frozen nastiness to nuke for dinner and a tall cold Heineken I was informed that “we don’t sell beer on Sunday” and she looked at me like I was either a moron or trying to slide by with my illegal purchase.  Instead of cooling off with a beer, I swam in the pool.  It was a quick swim because it was tucked away in the back and no one else was there and suddenly it seemed very unsafe.  Like I could have been easily murdered by a strung- out trucker or bitten by poisonous snake.

Stopping for gas and to pee outside of Dallas, in the land of ranches and HUGE house,s a BIG Texan glared at my green license plate (poor little thing was sticking out like a sore thumb) and grunted “Summers here are nothing like you’ve ever seen”.  His statement sounded threatening and annoyed me because maybe I’ve lived in Africa where surely it was hotter than Texas.  I hate when people assume that they know where you’re from and what you’ve done all your life.  At this point I was so ready to be nestled in the oasis of Austin.  After a seemingly endless final 200 miles, I arrived at 4:00, just barely enough time to sign my lease, write a check and get handed my new keys!

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God bless the weary traveler.  The red-eye flyers.  Those of us that curl up on benches and try to sleep.  Interrupted every few minutes by the loud intercom informing us on the current security level threat.  Reminding us to not leave bags unattended and to report any suspicious activity immediately.  

I have to say the Orlando airport is quite conducive of middle of the night naps.  I’ve been in airports where they hit you with a stick if they catch you sleeping.  Also places that you just wouldn’t want to suddenly become unconscious.  Tonight, I easily found an unoccupied bench next to this ridiculously large water fountain thing.  I sprawled out, putting my feet up on my silver and black luggage (the type that looks like it’s bullet-proof) and plopped my head down on my messenger  bag.  My money stashed safely in the depths of my cowboy boots.  My leather jacket sort-of keeping me warm, I spent way too much time in the sun and my pink skin was feeling chilled.  A hoodie covering my face.  Surrounded by palm trees and actually nicely dim lights and the lull of the water, I almost felt like I was dozing in a park.  Not in some busy airport in some shithole part of Florida.  

Saturday we flew down the east coast in my buddies truck, spanning 7 states in less than 24 hours.  I mastered the art of peeing in a coffee cup while squatting on the floor.  Around midnight we passed that lovely South of The Border town between the Carolinas.  Strung out and crazy from the road we stopped.  I had an overwhelming urge to buy fireworks and a sombrero, but despite being lit up like a mini-Las Vegas, to my dismay, everything was closed.  

Spent yesterday and today on the beach.  The ocean is like a reset button for me, it clears away all the jumble.  Now, drinking coffee and watching the puffy-faced travelers I’m eager to arrive in Austin….

sneaking into pools

July 30, 2008

Around 3:00 this morning a cop strolled into the backyard to respond to a noise complaint.  A crew of us had just been skinny dipping by moonlight and were drying off, grudgingly counting the few hours we had left before we had to go to work.  I had only gotten partly dressed, and stood in my cowboy boots, knee socks, a pink thong and t-shirt before the cop.  I wasn’t even drunk and couldn’t stop laughing at how hilarious the scene was. 

Before dancing to bad music at Sportys and doing cannonballs into the pool, I was in Burlington.  The trip north did me good.  I needed to hang out in what I call “Little Japan” with my old friends.  Nestled amongst tall grass and big weeds we sat on plastic lawn furniture drinking sake and listening to the grind of the late night trains pulling in.  When my friend Chris gets too drunk he starts mumbling in Japanese.  

It’s now 4:36, I only got two and a half hours of sleep last night and worked all day.  Instead of taking a nap, I’m going to go hike up a mountain because I’ve still got energy to burn 😉

Montreal 06.24-06.26

June 30, 2008

A much-deserved escape to a foreign city proved to be just what I needed.  The events of the three days are blurred together into a grand concoction of a frenzied rampage.  French radio stations, Beer in the park, Really incredible people that I’ve missed, Porn on the big screen, Baguettes & Brie, Rue St. Laurent, Making out, Sunbathing on the roof, Secret tellers, Secret keepers, Lust, Vodka and Gatorade, Omelets and coffee, Dancing!, Kicked out of Club Date way too soon, Librarians, Karaoke, Voyeurism, Loud garbage trucks, Free sub-par coffee at VT rest areas, Free bike, Homebrew, Jump starting a car at the border.

Despite being hung-over on Thursday, I had this wonderful feeling of genuine happiness.  I enjoy bedtime stories and lullabies more than anyone will ever know.