We were going to hit California soon. Last night was cold. I had the blanket over the full length of my legs down to the sneaker on my foot, which was on the gas pedal. Joey was snoring next to me which was helping to keep me awake. We had been at Mount Rushmore earlier that day, as we trekked across the country on an impromptu road trip before school started back up. It was January so it was icy and snowy and really cold. And the night was colder. But we were going to be in California at the end of this.
Finally, after hours of lonely darkness with not even a star to smile down on me, the sun fluttered its eyelids on the horizon and gradually stretched out across the sky. We drew closer to the Golden State.
The sun woke Joey up. He struggled awake, stiff from sleeping on cushions next to canned goods in the back and he climbed to the front to keep me company. He pushed the bottles of Starbucks coffee drinks and cans of Red Bull to the floor. I was relieved and exhausted. We did not speak for hours, but it was a calm quiet, I felt more relaxed with him next to me and the sun across the sky. Something about driving at night makes even a strong person feel lonely after a while.
I saw the triangle that was the representation of us on the GPS cross the dotted line border from Nevada into California. California! It suddenly wouldn’t be cold anymore! I was so thrilled!
There was snow. There! I snapped my head back to double check a bush on the ground. Snow! Snow right on the bush! But we were in California! California is cold? No way.
But then it got awesome. We hit San Francisco with its glittery golden shimmery heat and cool wavy atmosphere. We got out of the car and walked around, we even got ice cream at the Ben & Jerry’s, and the guy behind the counter looked at us with a wrinkled brow when we told him we had just been at Mount Rushmore the night before.
This memory is from what I will refer to as the preview trip. The main event is still on the way. And rapidly approaching.
Photo by Joe Jansen
The Margin and Monetary Approvals cubicle farm is vast like a beige-carpeted wonderland. Outside is gray and rainy. There is nothing to look at except bland inoffensive uninspiring business blah and outside ick. I am Processing Associate. Hear me… whimper.
We will arrive in Portland, Oregon on a Monday, which is fitting. We will have spent a summer frolicking in the summer sun and playing in the gentle breeze, and Monday is the perfect day to snap us back to reality. I bet if Monday was a person it would have a therapist. “Everyone hates me,” it would whine, “I was born this way! I can’t help it!”
As I sink back into my unobjectionable maroon chair with my sensible black headset tethering me to my practical beige desk half listening to (half being driven mad by) the loop of hold music, I let my mind slip me quietly and unassumingly somewhere else. My co-workers are none the wiser that I have made an escape.
We will be on open highway. It will probably be a weekday so no one else will be on the road. The windows will probably be cracked if not all the way down and the sun will glint off of the hood of the XTerra. None of us will mind though. We’ll all be sporting our shades. I’ll be in the front passenger seat and Joey will be driving. I’ll turn to the back and ask Tom to grab me a soda out of the cooler nestled into the footrest spot in the seat next to him. He’ll have his computer on his lap so it will cause a slight disturbance, but he’ll get me a Coke Zero anyway. When I pop the top it will fizzle and when I slurp the first sip into my mouth the bubbles will tickle my nose and I’ll scrunch it up to make it stop. Joey will have a half smile on his face and he’ll be snapping his fingers to the Grateful Dead music that will joyfully fill the car. I’ll settle back into my seat with my soda and look out the window. The car will be moving fast so the view from the window to the right of me will be blurred landscape but out front will be clear and we’ll be heading at it fast. Around sunset I’ll get out my camera and snap yet another picture of a gorgeous sun pouring itself out magnificently across another satisfying day. When we are on the road nothing will be beige, nothing will be usual.
56 days left, America. 56 days.
Ha, ha, ha. Joey's sense of humor never ceases to astound me. I'm sure that, after all the work we've done here, and all the joy we've brought to so many of you during the workday (and beyond), we're not about to drop it before we even hit the road.
Quite the contrary, we're pushing forth with a slew of new writeups we've put together in our Where We're Going section. Sarah has surged ahead of me with her writing, having contributed most recently with some notes and ideas about our visits to Cheyenne, Wyo. and Billings, Mont. In the meanwhile, she's left me with some fantastic places to research and summarize for posterity's sake. I had some time recently to put up Baton Rouge, La., our post-New Orleans hangover city, and today, Memphis, Tenn. (shown here), for which I shall be saving my appetite. And lagging in a distant third, Joey generously contributed his second writeup with Shenandoah National Park.
I'd encourage you all to get a look at them, as they're proof that we're not just slacking off for a summer, but actually doing some really important stuff.
Photo by Joe Jansen
I know I haven’t been updating for a few days. I have been doing a lot of thinking about the economy, our lives, and a general sense of purpose. After a long discussion with Tom and Sarah, we have decided to delay this adventure indefinitely. We will post details and reasoning soon.
April Fools! Did we get you?