Roadside Update

When driving cross country there is nothing better than road side convenience. I pulled over to get my breaks looked at and next to the shop was a laundromat. I haven’t been wearing a lot of clothes, since I don’t have many, but the ones I do have are absolutely filthy thanks to the last two weeks. The laundromat even has WiFi so I got the chance to write this and my other posts which are on Colorado.

It’s been a wild ride the last week. I was in Denver and then Cañon City . I even briefly spent some time in a little town called Victor. Colorado has done a number on my heartstrings, which is half the reason why I have been having a hard time writing my next posts which are about it. The other half is related to insobriety. I mean, I’m in Colorado!

I’ve been visiting friends old and new, camping, and garnering supplies. My car is doing well, knock on wood.

Keep an eye out for my posts on CO! I promise they’re coming. Also, I have some other ones in mind such as road playlists and how to travel for free.

 

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Nebraska

Nebraska, I only drove through. As Great Aunt Jan says, “It’s a long state.” From Iowa I made my way across the width of it, stopping only to sleep near Nebraska’s edge. I pulled into (what else?) a Super Walmart in the town of North Platte and cozied myself in the back of my car once more, still not tired from all the driving. I’m afraid of that day, but I don’t know if it’ll be tomorrow, in three weeks, or months.

But: the Nebraskan drive. Driving West in Nebraska the sun doesn’t only just set once. The day I spent moving through its hills the sun set and rose with the hills. More than I could count. The lulling rise and fall made the day’s end a slow rippling of a final descent unlike the common continuity from day to night elsewhere.

I rolled down my windows and the smell of ruffling grass, freshwater, and wet rock poured in through them.

And then all of a sudden a town, full sized. I parked and went to sleep.

Two Nights in Wilting, Iowa

A day in my dad calls while I was, what else, driving. “You know what’d be nice?” He said. “If you visited your Great Aunt Jan.” This was his way of pawning off his familial guilt. You know, the one garnered from lack of acknowledging the existence of one’s distant relatives?

DSC_3943.jpgGreat Jan lives just outside a small town in Iowa called Wilton in a small housing complex of made up of 15 units. I call this housing complex Wilting, Iowa because it’s made up of 15 elderly people who stay alive by tending to the small five by ten patch of garden each one is provided outside their front doors, especially Mary-Anne. We’ll get to her in a second. Wilting: gnats more prevalent than dust in heavy summer air and the only thing more prevalent than the gnats was the gossip. For a housing complex so small there was a whole lot of news to talk about. As Great Aunt Jan says: “anywho,” the whole town might well have been Wilting, Iowa.

Great Aunt Jan is your classic super scary, soft-spoken, self sufficient mid-American relative you always forget you have until a few days after your birthday when your parents call you at college to inform you of that relative’s annual birthday card. The first and last time I met Jan I first met her she was living in an old farm house in the middle of nowhere complete with rusted key holes and a dial up phone in the basement. I didn’t know then whether she’s going to kill me in my sleep or make hash browns in the morning and I still don’t. Her stone-cold demeanor suggests both.

I got in around two in the morning. Just as I was falling asleep, around three, the train went by. At least I thought it did, but then I realized it was someone playing the accordion in the other room. Except there was no other room other than the one Jan was in and there was no way she had gotten back up to do a diddy. That’s just not how Jan lives her life. The accordion was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard through a wall, melodious and getting louder by the second. Turns out it was the train. It might as well have been coming into town through her front door and breaking through my rem cycle.

Let me tell you more about Jan. Doilies on everything, even the shower curtain. She’s one of those people that has never questioned the fabric of their existence as it’s “nothing to worry about.” She talks in monotone no matter what and she talks nonstop, never saying the same thing twice. Her stories always have a beginning, middle, and punchline-ending. She has a story for everything I say and everything I don’t say. On the first day I asked if I could borrow a can opener and the price was one anecdote about a female relative or other, how when they were once young, running away from home, but had not gotten very far as they had to come back for a can opener. Surprisingly accurate in my case as well. Always remember a can opener, kids. So when she started talking about what’s been up in Wilting, of course I was interested, but only half paying attention. Well what was up was a kidnapping.

Now Mary-Anne is the tenant in apartment fifteen. As I was grabbing Jan’s mail my first morning at Wilting I couldn’t help but notice the garden outside of M.A’s (M.A for Mary-Anne, but also for MAstermind) door. It was the most catered to, decorated, and extravagant one in Wilting. Well behind every beauty there’s a beast.

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Mary-Anne’s gaudy garden

Great Aunt Jan loves her tulips. Her garden is probably one of the sparsest in Wilting, but that’s because she knows what she likes and she doesn’t compensate for anything else. Jan is a no-frills kind of gal (except for the doilies). But when her tulips weren’t coming up this season she got worried. This poor woman went to dig them up one day only to find they were missing. Not only were they missing, but the container she put them in was missing as well.

A few days later, M.A. strikes up conversation, claiming she hadn’t stolen Jan’s tulips. Jan hadn’t yet mentioned her tulips to anyone. M.A. had gone, in the middle of the night, and dug up Great Aunt Jan’s tulip bulbs, straight out of the ground. This is how badly M.A. needed to live through her plants.

Another time, Jan’s lilies started showing up in the garden of M.A. When confronted, M.A. shrugged and said maybe the wind blew them over. They both knew very well that Jan’s lilies didn’t grow from seeds.

But Jan assured me, this Mary-Anne is a charmer. So here’s what I learned in Wilting, Iowa: Watch out for those charmers and don’t move to Illinois. It’s one of the most broken crooked states there is, but only after Wilting, the home of the #1 bulb thief Mary-Anne.

Day 1: Eager, Young, and Unqualified

I’m known to be spontaneous, so it came as no surprise when I called my parents half way out of Florida when I was supposed to be going home to the Florida Keys.

“You’re where?” Dad said, “Oh, O.K. Well, have fun.” And that was pretty much it.

I’m writing to you from a local cafe called “Local Cafe” in Fayetteville, TN. It’s officially Day 1. I woke up in a Super Walmart parking lot in Grandsden, AL much to the surprise of the guy waiting for his partner in his car next to me. I smiled and got on my way. First stop: Noccalula Falls. Not much was falling, so I headed North.DSC_3835

This is how badly I wanted to get out of Florida: I changed my tampon at a stoplight in Orlando. Oh, by the way, always keep toilet paper in your car. You just never know.

Anyway, let’s take a little inventory:

$800

Boots

Assorted tampons found in my college’s “free store”

Birth certificate

Hammock

Rope

Clothes

Passport

Drivers License

My Lucky Yu-Gi-Oh Card “Dian Keto the Cure Master” my close friend Hunter gave to me one night I was doing LSD at a party.

IMG_9676And that’s about it. Right about now I really wish I had brought a can opener and a tent, they’ll have to be got on the way.

I don’t exactly have a destination, except maybe Alaska, and I don’t exactly have a route, except maybe West, but that’s the beauty of it.

I graduated from college four days ago. The last couple of weeks I’ve been applying to myriad of marketing and publishing jobs in NYC, LA, and DC. I got some of them, but none of them seemed appealing. My college was the first place I have 

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lived for more than a year since I was 8, and I really didn’t feel like continuing the streak of long-stays. I had to get on the move. I didn’t know this, however, until I was driving 

home. Needless to say, I turned around and headed straight on out of Florida, less the sunshine state and more the state Americans come to die. I didn’t feel like dying, I had just graduated.

So here I am. I’m not trying to Into the Wild this, but this morning I woke up in my trunk outside Walmart in Gadsden and knocked my head on bananas I hanged on a handle with my bra and, god dang it, I felt alive.

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So far all I’ve seen is some really depressing scenes of American food before it becomes food, but I wouldn’t exactly call them living animals, either. I was drinking bone broth out of the carton when I passed the Tyson Chickens. I think I may go vegetarian.

I also passed some extremely skinny curious cows.

I’ll keep you all updated as to where I am and whether I’m coming back.

P.S.

If you feel like going on a little road trip and you’re in IL, TN, or CO, hit me up!