Tuesday, August 03, 2010
The Trip Home - A Diary
Current mood: adventurous
All times are estimated.
7:10pm – Dubuque: I leave Monk’s after listening to Logan play her set, joined by her sister for a number. I enjoy two Stella Artois, but no more – there is much driving to be done this evening; I will need my senses about me. I give Logan two pieces of advice: If the audience gets restless, reach out and bitch-slap someone in the front row. This always gets both their attention and respect. Also, if you forget a lyric, just work in “why does it hurt when I pee?” It worked for Zappa, it worked for me, it will work for her. The girls both sound marvelous and show a great deal of charisma. I manage to avoid getting weepy in front of the girls’ friends and make my way to the space-age mini-van as quickly as possible to avoid a lingering, tearful goodbye. I hate those. The van is fired up, the ugly little dog is in place and we are off.
7:40pm – Highway 20, heading East: I get a text from Allison. “I left my IPod in the car!” I glance behind me, where the Ipod has been casually left on the seat, its earpods stringing from it like some wretched white umbilical cord. I curse and ponder for a moment turning back to return the IPod. I am 30 minutes and nearly 40 miles out of town. It makes little travel sense. I text the daughter this thought, tell her I will ship it at my earliest convenience and return my attention to the road. As I drive, I wonder if it is possible for her to weep at me through a text message.
10:00pm – Des Moines: Even with construction, I plow through Des Moines in good time, with contempt. Though I slept on its northern outskirts only days earlier, on the last leg of the trip to Dubuque, I now felt nothing for the city, just a sense of empty victory that it was now behind me. Des Moines was dead to me now; and the more I thought about it, all cities that were prefaced with “Des” were dead to me now. The machine drives on.
11:30pm – I-35 South: I enter Missouri as per our new tradition, I text “Missouri” to Allison. I will continue to text each new state as I enter it - I’m certain she appreciates it. I drive quietly, for within the hour I will be a stone’s throw away from Chillicothe, where I married the first ex-Mrs. Ford. I would hate to be rousted by fuzz and end up incarcerated near Chillicothe – God only knows how long a grudge holds in this part of the country.
1:00am – Kansas City: I am terribly close to where the first ex-Mrs. Ford lives now and I wonder if she has some sort of horrible nightmare or a sudden craving for chocolate as I pass. I make it safely into Kansas and text Allison. I am sleepy, but I feel a desperate need to put more miles between both ex-Mrs. Fords one and two. I drink another Monster energy drink and spend the next hour singing Roger Miller’s “You Can’t Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd”, making up my own perverted lyrics, like “you can only shit once on a hamburger bun”.
3:00am – Emporia: I make it to Emporia and the turnpike, then I stop for much-needed sleep. I have only made it this far because my head flops painfully onto the steering wheel when I doze off. I let the dog out to pee and put the driver’s seat full-back with the window cracked just enough so that no intruder’s arm can slice my throat as I sleep. It is hot, however, with the limited airflow and I sleep restlessly and sweat profusely. This makes me cranky and I take it out on the little dog by refusing to answer "Who's there?" to its tiresome knock-knock jokes.
5:00am – Emporia: I can doze no longer, so I curse the dog to get my motor running and crack a Monster energy drink and hit the road. I happen to read that no more than three drinks should be consumed in a single day, so I begin to calculate on my Atlas precisely where my Monster drink-induced heart attack should occur.
10:00am – Oklahoma City: I stop off at an OfficeMax to UPS Allie’s IPod back to her. Another eleven dollars I will not be able to spend on hookers. I come to the conclusion that the entire state of Oklahoma is barren and useless and should be annexed by the government and turned into a national landfill. I cannot wait for Texas.
Noon - I-40 West: I text Allison when I enter Texas. I find it looks no different than Oklahoma. It was dark when I passed through the first time and I must have overlooked this fact. I am disappointed. I stop sometime after noon for a rest when I find the only thing I can think about is trying to estimate the Smothers Brothers’ gross earnings from 1968.
7:00pm – I-40 West: New Mexico is much bigger than it looks on a map and even more boring than it sounds when you say it out loud. I should be in Albuquerque soon or I will drive into a guardrail. On purpose.
10:00pm – Gallup: The country got real pretty for awhile, with red rocks and wind-sculpted peaks and valleys of desert scrub. Gallup is beautiful – unless it’s pouring down rain in sheets so vast that you can barely make out the taillights of the other idiot stupid enough to be driving in such a torrent. It doesn’t stop and I drive for an hour, hands gripping the wheel so tightly they cramp. I fear for my life. Not enough to stop, but some. I pull off at a rest stop just into Arizona and text Allison. I’m certain she appreciates the update. I sleep for three hours with the rain beating on the hood of the minivan. The dog won’t even get out to pee. The dog is a coward.
6:00am – Phoenix: I enter Phoenix. It is already hot in the Valley of the Sun and it isn’t even sunrise yet. My back is tight and my head is light. I will be home soon, then I will have a percocet and a shot of whiskey and sleep the day away. Then it will be back to business as normal. The machine will shut down until next time.
Check out Logan's performance at Monk's: