It sounds like such a cliche, jumping in the car with the sole purpose of cutting yourself off from the responsbilities and distractions of your world in a lame attempt to obtain (or reattain) some sort of psychological and mental balance.
Yet that’s exactly what I’ve done. With little to no notice to anyone in my life, I packed up only my necessary shit, including five books, my laptop, the all-important thesaurus, and the comfiest clothes I could cram into my small suitcase and cruise controlled all the way to Myrtle Beach.
There’s a bit of irony in my destination, the Uncle’s condo, because he’s one of the old-school programmers at IBM, now retired but occassionally working as a “consultant”, who insulted my choice of a Toshiba as the keeper of my in-progress manuscript. I s’pose I’ll have to give him an equally ironic acknowledgment in the published book, considering the main reason I hid my winter flabby ass down here was because I had no psychic room at home to create.
So I spent twelve plus hours on the road, on possibly the most wonderful weather day of 07 so far embark on such a trip. When I drove from Ohio to Arkansas some five years ago (two days each way), I learned what I consider to be the best part of any long highway venture. Usually we schreech into a state-sponsored rest area, throw the car in park, scurry to pee and perhaps stop briefly at the vending machine before vaulting back into the vehicle and speeding down the road, I, on the other hand, meander about, find some sustinence, then park myself at a picnic table to read nibble and read a chapter. Yep, unlike 98% of the folks out there, I don’t behave as if my destination is my only purpose for being out there. I breathe, I look around, I feel the sun in my hair, and I don’t worry that passers-by will think I’m crazy if I’m laughing out loud at the book I’m reading. (Which I was. Thank you Nick Hornby’s “A Long Way Down”).
Naturally I ended up psuedo-lost. This was due to a discrepancy in directions from two prior trips I’ve taken to the Myrtle Beach area, one last August with mi familia, and one a couple of years ago to this very condo, and on neither occassion did I drive. However, the biggest culprit in my wayward wandering is the state of South Carolina itself. Somebody please help their DOT (dept of transportation) to come into the second half of the 20th century and build highways with A. more than one lane each direction, B. some facsimile of straight, C. possessing identifying signs and street lamps, and most of all D. NOT RUNNING THROUGH THE CENTER OF TOWNS THAT COULD BE THE SETTING OF SOME B HORROR MOVIE, especially after dark.
North Carolina is no better, I assure you. Running the width of the state, from north to south are signs which declare “Future I-74 Corridor”, yet give no indication exactly when this will transpire, and I first happened upon the damn things three years ago, so who knows how long they’ve actually been around.
When I did locate my proper route, 22, it was nearing 10pm, incredibly dark (again, no fucking street lights) but at least I was sitting in the midst of multiple lanes. I was averaging about 80, which is incredibly easy to do compliments of some fine German engineering, but I exaggerate not one iota when I tell you a Mercedes winged by me as if I was fifteen miles under the speed limit. How fast do you think that one was driving??
But I arrived and all is well – except for the dead Palmetto bug littering the carpet in the loft, and the love/hate relationship I’m having with the bathroom doors. Picture a small rectangle, a door at one of the short sides (the short leg measuring the length of your average bathtub, or on the opposing end, the door, frame and depth of the vanity), and another door on one of the long sides, but only 2/3 down the wall (due to the width of the tub). The doors barely miss each other when they’re both open but they make utilizing the room impossible. It’s some demented puzzle game, opening and closing doors, finding the light switch behind the door, not being able to reach the sink, also behind the door. Two words for you people – POCKET DOORS.
Tomorrow I’ll head up the street for food and supplies, and then, if I so choose, I don’t have to leave the condo again until Sunday. Just the way I want it.