We both failed to properly prepare for this trip. Properly preparing would have been sleeping for at least five hours each before embarking. Deanna slept for two. I slept for about one. We had both been packing all night.
I’ve decided that I really love packing at the last minute, because it feels like I’m robbing my own house. But leaving all the big things and DVDs and CDs and and and. Instead, I’m taking toiletry items and t-shirts and miscellaneous small electronics that now seem essential for travel.
Having all these electronics makes me feel like the man in the episode of Family Guy that has just finished setting up a big domino line throughout a room that also contains priceless china and his hemophiliac son, Evan. Peter Griffin shoots himself through the air via a cannon and lands just short of the man’s window, then standing up and proclaiming “wow, this is a lot of really nice stuff” before vanishing. “Did you hear that, Evan? We were complimented.” Maybe this means that every city we pass through in which I do not lose my electronics or suffer their theft means that I should take it as a compliment from fate. Compliment accepted thus far, fate.
We’ve decided to occasionally hold speaker phone conferences with various individuals over the phone. The first was Ray, because Xiu Xiu made us think of him. The second was Sarah Eaton, because we passed into her home state of Iowa and wanted to know what her hometown was, because Children of the Corn was filmed there.
The trip thus far has been smooth. Deanna made it about two hours at the wheel before deciding she needed to switch with me in Valparaiso. I drove for about four until we got to the World’s Largest Truck Stop, which wasn’t actually very spectacular at all, though they DID have both a buffet and a resident dentist. We went to the gas station across the street instead, because theirs was simply cheaper and was also connected to an Arby’s. The last time we put gas in the tank was in a ghetto we were passing through to the south of Chicago while Deanna was in her road coma. She doesn’t remember seeing the drug busts we drove past. Two police vehicles were in the center of the street, lights blazing as their officers went in between vehicles that had been pulled over in the ajoining parking lot with dubious figures sitting hopelessly behind the wheels. I just assumed it was a drug bust. I don’t really know the scoop. I don’t really care. Let’s say they were aliens instead. Yes, that’s definitely more interesting.
I listened to my “soul doughnut” as I drove. There was a sense of panic, as there occasionally is when I listen to it. The sensation of still feeling vulnerable and being terrified by my own vulnerability. I don’t enjoy feeling this way, but there are feelings that linger, try as I might to force myself to move on. I still don’t know what to do about it, or if there’s even anything to be done about it. Waiting it out seems to be the only thing to do. Domino said I was drowning in a puddle. Maybe she’s right. I’ve taken to using that to explain the sensation to myself rather than the old image, which was Amelie crying in the kitchen, as I felt for the past year. Nino never comes. She is left alone, never to recover. Amelie cries forever. Drowning feels like it’s similar without being as pretentious. I’m drowning in self-annoyance. Now there’s a song from Amelie playing on Deanna’s iPod. Circles.
My vulnerability, however, feels like it is cast aside on the road. The adventure aspect of this trip hasn’t quite sunken in yet. I’m sure it will when we hit our first real destination.
We were South of Sioux City, Iowa when I suddenly realized I was speeding 14mph over the limit. I'm not used to automatic transmissions. It's like driving a go-kart and it gets out of control easily if I'm not paying careful attention. Unfortunately, what forced me to realize this was a cop car turning its lights on and crossing the median grass, heading my direction. $114. My first speeding ticket.
I have a problem with messing up. I was a sobbing mess for miles. Every failure is the combination of every failure ever. It's like I never leave anything behind or forgive myself for being human. And then I told Deanna I didn't feel like I had anything going for myself right now. Like everything I've worked for has already been forgotten and erased because none of it is easily transferable from Bloomington. I was feeling overwhelmed and the ticket kind of pushed me over the edge.
And while we were talking about what's got me down, the car beeped at us and told us we were low on fuel. We hadn't been paying attention for miles. My mom had warned me about the dwindling numbers of gas stations in certain parts of the country, and we were in one. We made it to a gas station just in time, though. Scary stuff.
Now we're in Sioux Falls, SD in a delightfully cheap hotel that is surprisingly accommodating. We're talking free REAL breakfast in the morning/two full beds/HBO/free wi-fi for $34.99/night. Nice. Deanna's upset because she didn't get here in time for Lost. It must air at the same time throughout the country to cut back on spoilers from the East pissing off the West. Rough day all around.