The dream is alive, but reality is dead

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.” 

Hans Christian Anderson 

I haven’t driven a car in three weeks. I’ve been eating bread. I’ve been running at least three five k’s a week for the past three weeks. I’ve been milking the same two pairs of jeans one pair of slacks and random shirts for about that same amount of time. I’ve eaten probably ten cans of herring. I’ve drank gallons of gas station coffee. I’ve brushed my teeth in WalMart bathrooms almost every morning (don’t worry, I find other places to brush when I’m not at a Walmart). I wake up next to my travelling companion who has pretty much been experiencing the same things – although he’s been driving for three weeks. We’ve spent 24 hours a day together, in close quarters, except for showers, for three weeks. 

Wait, I take that back, he did go out without me this morning, but that was only for a short while. And I did drive in the past two weeks, I pulled the truck and trailer forward about twenty feet at a trailer yard in Indiana. It’s important for me to express these things because the truth is import, and there are many times in the past I’d pepper my writings with a little bit of truth stretching to make it sound more interesting. I’m guilty, and I apologize. The guilt gets to me, and even though I’d love to string everyone along, the truth  is actually entertaining too. Self exploration is freaking amazing, three weeks of it, with one more week in the hopper. 

Think back to your last three weeks. Where did you go, what did you see? Who did you talk to, what did you eat? 

The problem I have with your potential answers is that you can probably say you’re happy with every single answer you give (except for those donuts you ate at your desk while stressing over budget and staffing). You’re happy, I’m happy, it just takes a different sort of life for me to be happy, the nomad in me is finally being fed, and it’s a hungry beast that wants more. 

In the past week I has seen both the world’s largest Bison statue in Jamestown ND and seen the largest living mammal on the North American continent outside of Edmonton, Alberta. I’ve seen the highest peak in the Canadian rockies in British Columbia and seen 4′ above sea level in Washington state. Throw in the largest figure of an Otter in Fergus Falls Minnesota and the largest snowman statue in Kenaston Saskatchewan and you’ve got pretty much a fairy tale. Perhaps it’s my yearning to know and see everything or it’s my lack of ambition to get back home, either way, it’s been a really interesting ride. 

In the grand scheme of things, today was bigger than any tall otter or bison, and certainly a hell of a lot easier to grasp than the sheer heights of the Canadian Rockies. This morning I ate continental breakfast at the Super 8 of Morris, Minnesota. People don’t really know Morris Minnesota unless you’re from there or chose to go to the U of M there, or know somebody who knows somebody from there. It’s the little town we all know of, some of us are from, but most of us forget about after leaving it. Sitting there in the lobby, eating my cereal, I had thoughts of a million ofher people in a million other hotels, all getting ready to do a million different things. Starting the morning out right with a hearty breakfast and ambition, a good night sleep, and no place really to be made me a very happy girl. 

Maybe too happy. 

My mind switched from happy go lucky tourist to masochist. Things were going too well, everything had been an absolute fairy tale for weeks, something had to give. It’s impossible for life to be so smooth and great, or at least there’s a part of me that thought so, and there was a part of me that wanted to sabotage that fairy tale. Just like a kid armed with crayons, I wanted to color all over the pages of my fairy tale to make it nasty and bad. Everything was just so damn, well, happy. Being able to laugh at not only myself, but feel comfortable in my skin, thats not right. Being able to eat bread without wanting to run immediately to the bathroom and throw up, that’s not right. Not waking up in the morning for a gas station run for breakfast beer, that’s not right either. Who had I become, what had the road made me? 

Sitting there, looking over a pool that wasn’t open for the day yet, I saw a pool of water – calm and clean – and that was exactly how my mind felt. Perhaps for the first time in my adult life I realized that it is okay for things to be going well, and it is okay for life to be like a fairy tale, and it’s not okay to try to ruin it by making shitty decisions. I had thoughts of bingeing on everything on the breakfast bar and going up to the room to get rid of it, but the passion to be happy prevailed. I did not. 

Escaping to my room, I looked back at my weeks of pictures and had to smile. Life as an RV transporters assistant is pretty amazing. Desk be damned, I’m marking another couple of states off of my to see list. I’m only lacking Iowa and Nebraska West of the Mississippi and the upper north east (I’m not counting Hawaii and Alaska).

Next stop, slightly outside Starbuck Minnesota to see a collection of outhouses painted up in fancy form. 

(check out the new widget on the desktop site, click to donate, I’m running low on coffee funds :-P) 

Glitter

Hey, Saskatchewan, keep your stick on the ice. 

Sometimes we arm ourselves with so much information about something we overwhelm ourselves and miss the big picture. Take for example travelling abroad. You research places to go, the history of the area, learn a few words, even read reviews of places that others have gone and have an opinion on. You have your brain swarming with info, so much so you’re looking and expecting to see certain things and overlook other smaller, perhaps more interesting stuff. Like the guy walking along side of the road with an ice fishing bucket or the country cafe for sale for a low low price of $35,000 Canadian dollars…. Fully equipped. 

I actually started thinking about it, wondering if I could survive life in South Central Saskatchewan someplace east of Moose Jaw. Your life would be that cafe, which let me add, comes fully furnished with kitchen goods, tables and chairs, and a kick ass apartment quarter in the back. You’d live, work, and play right there. Life would be that cafe, in a tiny forgotten town along the Soo railway in Canada. 

Canada, the land of Maple leaves, syrup, and that good Canadian beer. Canada, especially Saskatchewan, just seems a bit more exciting, you know, knowing that this damn climate could kill a person if you’re not careful. This all translates to a big, exciting situation. You drive off the side of the road in winter, you could die. You run out of gas out between Jasper and, well, anywhere, you’ll get eaten by bears before you actually walk as far as a gas station. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but the sheer vastness is impressive, the sheer vacancy of people is amazing, the fact that I’m going to be crossing back into the US in less than fifteen minutes is depressing. 

There isn’t really anything in particular I can point to that makes Canada that much more special, except the fact they really seem to care, but at the same time, they don’t care. I loved the fact I was sitting in a mechanics shop in North Battleford minding my own business when a young gentleman came in, bundled up, ready to pick up his vehicle. By the looks of the only other car in the garage besides Morris the Truck was a dirty blue Subaru of sorts up on a lift. The conversation went something like:

“eh, What’dya finds wrong with er? ”

” well, after I gotter up on da lift and ran da scanner it showed a screwy circuit on the speedo ”

” oh, wow. ”

” I can get ya one in about a week from one of da salvage yards out neer Saskatoon.”

“what about a new one from da dealer? ”

” that’d be expensive, ya know, it doesn’t make sense. Just wait til I can get ya a used one. Want me to have Donna give you a ride? ”

” nah, that’s alright. I’ll just hike. ”

” okay then, keep your stick on the ice ”

I about fell out of my chair trying to keep from laughing. My mind jumped to all sorts of sticks and ice situations, the most amusing of the bunch was a pine branch stick thing sticking out of a slushy ice drink on a beach. Needless to say the saying went way over my head, so much so I needed to investigate what that meant. 

Hockey. It’s a hockey reference, how dissappointing. Hockey. Pretty much summed up along the lines of:

No matter how badly you’re getting beaten, how hard you’ve been fighting, how tough the competition is, or even the importance of the game, always be prepared to make that next whack at the puck. Life might get you down and frustrated at the fact you’re not on top at that moment doesn’t mean that you can’t be back on top again. Keep that hockey stick down and ready for action. 

And I suppose that’s a great concept, no matter what you’re doing in life, be it playing Olympic hockey or getting your car looked at by the local auto repair Centre. The outcome for the other guy could have been drastically worse, somehow. Life can be drastically worse for all of us somehow, and sometimes I think we forget about the big picture, we forget that all we have to do is keep on keeping on. 

I’m still trying to get over the fact that the US is near, but you know what, I’m going to keep my stick on the ice. There’s not much more I can do, crying won’t get me anywhere. Besides, it would look super suspicious for a passenger get to be bawling her eyes out while trying to cross the border.

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Fear and Loathing in Edmonton 

“who killed that bird put on your windowsill?” 

Lyrics to Remedy by The Black Crowes 

Sitting here in a booth at a diner in Edmonton, Alberta I get a feeling of panic and fear. Looking around I see only three other people seated to dine, it could be that it’s 9:30 local time and not really meal time, or it could be that there are better places to hang out around the bustling town. In prior years I could have used the term “fear and Loathing in Edmonton” but that would typically reference an activity laced with drinking and recklessness. This diner scene is much different, there is a sense of tension in the air, the room is thick with the smell of pancakes and nobody is eating them. 

Canada, you sexy bitch, I don’t want to leave you tomorrow. If anything I’m planning an escape tonight from the luxury accommodations of Morris the Truck and justvstart walking west. I can see myself walking into the brisk darkness, toting only my zebra print backpack and perhaps my designer purse…. Scratch that, if I’m going to pioneer in the wilderness, Michael Kors doesn’t really belong. Slipping away without letting anyone know, not knowing where to go or what to do, just disappearing like a fart in the wind. I sit here thinking about it, trying to figure out how to construct a shelter from sticks, how do I skin a bear, how the hell do I start a fire without a lighter and gas? Could I actually survive the wilderness? 

Yes. Actually, I’m positive I could. These past three weeks of living on the road have taught me a few things about myself, three main things really, that I doubt anybody with a nine to five would ever find out about themselves. These things actually hit me all at once while singing along to the song “remedy” – that line I quoted above about the bird on the windowsill, I felt like my bird was killed. 

One thing I realized is that I really don’t have anything to go back to. South Carolina has burned me too many times and actually I feel like I should run in the opposite direction as fast as humanly possible. Other times when I’ve left the country I’ve felt the same sort of way, I don’t want to go back to the US, now it’s getting a little more specific. Perhaps it’s not the US I have a problem with, just south Carolina. I need a fresh start. Edmonton has opened my eyes, not only to a cleaner way of living, but to the sock sad state of where I’m going back to. Just look at the damn news, Anderson South Carolina is becoming the murder capital of the upstate, and really the punishments getting handed out are lame. Here, boy howdy, you fuck with someone, you pay dearly. Just this morning there was a guy who beat another guy to death, they didn’t hesitate to give him a life sentence. That’s reality bucko, and if you advertise that you will have to pay for your crime, you’ll be less likely to do it. Seriously though, if you thought you’d get off the hook in three years for “accidentally” besting someone to death, wouldn’t you think a little harder about actually taking action? Not here, buddy, you’ll be making license plates for the mounted police for the rest of your life. That sort of thing will certainly kill the bird singing on your windowsill, actually, it’ll take away your windowsill all together. No more window for you, just the cold hard bars. 

Too often I cling to my tangible objects, and being here in Canada, I have realized I have too much shit. I don’t need half the stuff I tote around in my backpack, and if you were to peek in my closet, it’s even more shameful. I’ve been trying to fill every single aspect of who I want to be by trying to pretend I’m something I’m not. Who I “want” to be and who I “pretend” to be all add up to who I “present” myself as. I walk around life hanging my head like a beaten dog because I feel inferior to everyone in the world. I’m the slime, and as slime, stuff sticks to me, stuff that doesn’t matter. Take for example being at the gym today, I felt inferior to every damn person in there because I’m fat. I’ve always felt this way and in an attempt to curb this feeling, I’ve amassed a collection of workout attire that is embarrassing. The people at the gym here just looked like normal people, doing normal workout stuff. I felt so out of place, I felt like a damn pimple on a princess. The longer I stayed, the uglier I started feeling, which in turn made me run faster to get my damn workout done. I’ve done this to myself time and time again, allow stuff to get to me and instead of actually addressing the actual issue, I just find sick ways of torturing myself to distract from the real feeling. If I were to walk out into the woods to become a pioneer, I wouldn’t have to worry about impressing the people at the gym, I don’t think the bears would mind me. I wouldn’t need a windowsill, I’d have birds all around me, no walls, nobody to judge me. 

Then there is the realization of, well, reality. I’ve been an absolute vagabond the past three weeks. Losing your job will do odd things to you, beyond just making you tighten your purse strings and pinching the penny to the last drop. Adventuring throughout the States, I had no problem dropping a buck or two for a truck stop drink or a post card, but after crossing into Canada, my debit card ceased to work. I have no access to funds of any sort right now, I’m 648 miles from the border and I could care less. I’ve been scheming ways to make money, enough to buy a few provisions for my voyage into the woods and maybe a map, yeah, and a bottle of Bourbon. Then my mind switched into gear at the thought of Bourbon and forgot all about getting provisions, I would spend all my money on Bourbon, all the money that I would panhandle for, and buy a big ass bottle of Makers Mark….I could make a sign that says “stuck in Canada, don’t want to go back, take me home with you”. I could become a pet to some Edmontonian, I’d mow grass or something, fold laundry, play Fooseball. It wouldn’t work, because as soon as I got my hands around that sweet neck of Bourbon, I’d strangle the life out of it and myself at the same time. If I were to cross Bourbon and pioneering I wouldn’t last a week. It’d have to be one or the other. If I were to choose the Bourbon, I wouldn’t care if I had a windowsill or a bird. I wouldn’t care about anything. 

Which is probably why I’m sitting here in this diner, smelling pot roast overhearing a guy using the “f”  word and whimsy in the same sentence. I quit caring about the important things and focused on the narcissistic person that Nikki became. Oddly enough, as I’ve been traveling, I don’t like to think about the Nikki I was, I’ve developed an alter ego. Before you start pondering whether I’ve lost my mind, I have not, still very sane. My alter ego, Singh Wu, isn’t so panic and impulsive. She calmly approaches life and makes good decisions, she takes care of herself, she even brushes her teeth twice a day and wears deodorant. She respects others, she expects to receive respect, she helps others and takes criticism with a grain of salt. 

“There lies a bluebird that had flown away.”

Townes Van Zandt – Catfish Song

So for me, I’m thinking of all the birds that sit and sing on windowsills, and all the birds that say “screw this nonsense, I’m outta here.” Aren’t we all like birds, flying through life, finding perches here and there? Don’t we all yearn to spread our wings and fly to new heights and sillsbut talk ourselves out of it for some damn reason. Where are the birds that have already flown away? 

I saw a sunset today, from two different directions, one heading south, one from the north. It was the same damn sun, same damn sky, but totally different scene. It reminded me, right there in the yellowhead highway, life is how you look at it. You can see the bright colors of purple and orange on the setting horizon, or you can just see the darkness that is night. I took pictures, of course. Which one do you see? 

I also was looking at a mountain peak, what I was supposed to send (what the tablet told me to see) and what I actually saw were different. 

British Columbia, I salute you. 

I’ve got about twenty stories that I want to report on from the road, but unfortunately, I am a cheap skate and only have data in the United States, which in turn means I have to sponge off of the few and far between WiFi spots out here in British Columbia. 

Here’s the thing, it is hard to find a starting point and ending point at the wonder of what I’m seeing here. Crossing the border almost seemed like a fantasy, and I felt as if I was given a warm hung from an old friend when I took a look around at a rest stop. The fog hung low on weeping confirs that were heavy with snow. The mountains plunged into a pool of blue sky dappled with grey clouds which was just a panorama backdrop to the dancing waters of the river that snaked along highway 5. 

On our adventures, we’ve been pioneers. We’ve slept through snow storms, sub zero temperatures, whipping winds, and sometimes tornado warnings, all from the safety of the back seat of Morris the Truck (okay, we’ve done some adventure sleeping in a few other vehicles, like the 40′ motor coach with no heat in Wyoming at – 22 degrees). This is life on the road, this is life as an adventurer, this is life simplified. We have a plastic tote full of provisions like herring in a can, baked beans in a can, beets in a can, and enough peanut butter and jelly to provide ten elementary schools with lunch for a week. We’re living simply, no need for heated meals, no need for fancy flatware (although, I do have my favorite set of plastic eating utensils that I got at a hyvee in Minnesota that I reuse). I’ve stayed at swanky hotels around the globe, high rises, bed and breakfast, hell, even a room in some guys garage in Daytona, but none of those compares to the luxury accommodations of Morris the Truck. 

Well, that was until Valemount, British Columbia. 

Okay, maybe the excitement began before then back in Kamloops. We were all set to get in a workout at the anytime Fitness there, a healthy habit that we adhere to while living on the road (and get a shower) but there was no place for us to park our rig. This forced us to find a place of lodging elsewhere, but the problem with this stretch of Canadian road there aren’t many places to pull over and convert the truck into what we lovingly refer to as The Morris Motel. As a navigator my job, or one of them, is to find a place to bed down, and boy did I ever. Running my finger along the map, the only town that had promise and an actual hotel was Valemount, BC – pretty much the last sign of civilization before hitting Jasper National Forest.  

More diatribe later, in the meantime, enjoy the pictures I’ve been able to snag outside of my paradise of a passenger seat. Today our adventures take us to Jasper, Whitecourt, and other parts unknown. Our bones are rested, our bellies full, and adventure beckons. 

Oregon Welcomes You

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” 

-Saint Augustine (also seen in an article from the editor of some sports and fitness magazine at the Anytime Fitness in Woodburn, WA. 

Travels brought me into Oregon today, and although I had always wanted to see it, I never knew why. Even when I was a little girl there was some magical sound of the word Oregon, something that made it seem like it was a sort of fairy tale type place, I wanted to move to Eugene and open a store that sold tie-dyed shirts and grateful dead posters. I wanted to live in Eugene, have a dog, a yellow car, and be in Oregon every damn day. There’s nothing that I can trace this infatuation back to, which baffles me. 
As an adult I had many friends that were either from Oregon or moved there. The curiosity was still there, and I’d ask questions like “what’s the grocery store like there compared to here” or a typical Nikki question, “do they have nice landscapes? It seemed as is all my friends that had Oregon ties just kind of” had it”. I envied them, and secretly hated the fact that they’d been there, lived there, got familiar with it, and I was still on the outside looking in. Then, I started connecting dots, how many times in life do we hold into something, but don’t quite know why? 

I’ve always been a roamer, a dreamer, a meanderer. Growing up, dreaming of places that I quite possibly would never see sparked my brain in a fire of creativity, and as an adult I get to harness my vagabond nature in a way that most people could only dream of. I’m seeing Oregon right now, but at the same time I’m also seeing some of my childhood dreams come true. I’d daydream whenever I was riding in the car with my parents of being in a black Dodge Stealth in a high speed romp along side of whatever car we were riding in at the time. I had visions of driving that car through deserts, over mountains, and hell, to Oregon. I dreamed of police chases, crashes, jumping bridges, all of the stereotypical cheesy car chase movie scenarios.  That was my mind, that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up…. And the whole tie dye shirt thing…. But when do we let our childhood dreams fade into the background and become an adult? 

“Nice suit.” me

“I’m at super adult level now. I’m not sure how it happened.” my one time best friend  that now lives in Oregon

I look at myself, being not very adult like, and instead of hanging my head in shame, I actually shake my head in disappointment for all of those that don’t have the yearn to get up and go. The propulsion out the door to go explore what’s beyond your comfort zone escapes many people, and sadly, it seems like more and more of the younger generation is leaning towards life lived through a screen. They’re becoming an entire age demographic of virtual reality junkies. What’s wrong with the damn world around you, what’s wrong with what’s right outside your door. Are people afraid to venture out now? When did this happen? 

“There are some drugs that they sell for pain in this country that are very dangerous.”
Neil Young 

  • Medications cure everything
  • Roads are dangerous 
  • TV is reality – or reality is TV
  • Serial killers are everywhere
  • Food will kill you
  • Thin is beautiful 
  • Fake tans and unnaturally white teeth is attractive 
  • Loans are cool and so is bankruptcy

All these things bother me, and I let them bother me too much at times. Letting shit like this manifest in my mind distracted me from getting out and doing what I really was intended to do, roam. I tried the adult thing, I did the adult thing well, and I am still doing the adult thing well, but on my terms. My suit clad friend was just like me, a sort of wanderer, with lot of similarities to me, but he settled, and I’m jealous. 

The problem is, I’m afraid I’ve gone too far down the path of unsettled to ever turn around and find my way back to the reality that is adulthood. Sure, I make my car payment, I cook my own food, and I sometimes even do my own laundry, but that’s about where the adult thing ends. I still want to play in the rain, I still want to make mud pies, and damn it, I still want to move to Eugene and have my store and my black Dodge Stealth. What’s preventing me? Society… 

Let’s face it, there isn’t much of a market for the dyed shirts and even if I did move to Eugene, would I live out if my car or what? I could panhandle, I could find a harmonica and hula hoop and have my own little show on the corner. What prevents other people from having these same aspirations? Who knows.  

Have we become a society so drugged out on social media, politics, and pharmaceuticals that we don’t wee the real world around us? How many people do we see on a daily basis that regulates their day and behavior by popping a pill, taking a drink, robbing a store, beating their wife?

“there are no strings, there is no neck”

Neil Young in reference to how he feels when he nails a song

Riding along right now, the rain is falling on Morris the Truck and I feel how Neil feels when he gets his jam just right. I feel perfect right now, good food in my belly, a good run today, Oregon under my belt, and the sky as the limit. 

There was a disturbing realization, however, that Oregon brought to my attention this morning.while traveling along, running Waze as always.  I was notified of an accident ahead. Looking ahead, all I saw was fog, this freezing fog. Really it was unlike anything I had ever seen, so dense that as soon as it came into contact with the truck it would immediately freeze, super bizzare stuff… But through the fog a sign appeared that read “wreck ahead” and nothing else. A dime sign, no lights, no flashing, just a construction sign. Expecting to see tow trucks, lights, police, ambulances, something, anything, I was disappointed. No sign of any sort of aid whatsoever, just a wrecked semi off in the ditch and a trailer on the side of the road, just sort of abandoned there. It was hard to tell how long it had been there, but it got me thinking, why the hell was it just left there? 

Much like we abandon some of our hopes and dreams because they seem too hard to achieve, I think that semi was abandoned because it was just too difficult to clean up. Oregon just sort of said “eh, let it sit there, maybe someone else will clean it up.”  don’t let your life become the wreck ahead, don’t abandon your dreams. Put down the bottle, the pills, the addiction and start living. 

Ooo Greetings from the Crazy Mountains

Legend has it I’m smack dab in the middle of some sort of Indian spirit journey destination spot. Or maybe I read that this is a place where they go for vision quests…no wait, it said it was where the native Americans sent their touched in the head squaws. All I know is there are some amazing peaks poking out from a dark black panorama of Montana sky. Here’s the deal about the Crazy Mountains, everybody has their own story of why they’re called “the crazies”, so, I want to provide my own version of why the Crazy Mountains are named such. 

It was 1809 and Lars Rasmussen was heading west towards what is now Idaho with dreams of becoming a potato farmer. Lars had a rough upbringing, the runt of the family you could say, and not the brightest from the little town of Crowcatchem, Maine where his family migrated to from the upper spans of Holland. 

Lars was always a dreamer, he always had eyes for bigger things, things much bigger than what the rest of the family became complacent with in Maine. So, one fine autumn day, he treked out for) the west, in hopes of getting rich quick in the big wild West. Armed with nothing but his wit, a pen knife and his old coon dog Ralph, the West opened up before his eyes. In awe, after crossing the Yellowstone River about ninety times, he saw a mountain range ahead of him. 

Confused, he turned back in the direction in which he came from, afraid that he had taken a wrong turn somewhere. Trotting back towards the east, he crossed back over the Yellowstone River about ten more times, in different locations, but all of them  looking very much the same. After about two days of crossing the river over and over again, he decided to head back. 

On this next voyage across the river yet another ten times, he encountered some wise natives to the area having a spirit adventure along the river banks. In a timid voice he asked which way the land of food from the dirt was, and the native shrugged. They had eaten some naturally occurring fungi and thought they were losing their minds. This queen fellow on a horse with that weird animal with floppy ears couldn’t be real. 

Lars continued on towards the west and yet again, crossed the Yellowstone River for what seemed like the gazillionth time. Getting discouraged by the river, he started questioning his navigation skills. Ralph, the dog, said “screw it, I’m going back to head with the natives.” Lars was alone, and overwhelmed, he screamed at the river, “why the hell do you torture me so!” 

The natives, still having a swell time with their psychedelic snack, heard the echoes coming from the direction of the mountains. The natives, fearing that the mountains had come alive, fled from the area, never to return to the area again. They went back to their camp and told of the mountains that screamed like a crazy person. Thus the name, Crazy Mountains. 

Lars, he made it to Idaho. 

Me, I’m hunkering down for the night in Livingston, Montana. Let’s hope the crazies don’t get me. 

The Fergus Falls Truck Fire

Pioneering west today, I feel like some sort of native American being exiled from my homeland…okay, maybe that is a bit of a stretch. I will say, after going  through Minnesota yet again, I feel almost like I’m seeing things that nobody else has. The rolling hills of the western part of the state, the rich  tapestry of the sunset behind hardwoods, the glistening snow. Minnesota seemed to be like Wisconsin, only a little more, well, lakey. 

Yes, I made up a word. I also wrote a poem today about mittens. We’re going on week two running the new truck and my imagination seems to get more obtuse. It’s a good thing for me, perhaps bad thing for my John Smith. I’ve come up with a few alter egos, a few songs that I sing pertaining to different times of the day, and my constant need to play “guess the population”. We’re having a great time, we crossed someone today however, not having such a good time. 

Picture this, a perfect February evening in North Western Minnesota. The moon is shining high in the sky and the winds are coming from the west at about ten mph. After a big dinner, both of our sets of eyes were feeling a bit heavy until all of a sudden a different sense woke us both up like a bucket of cold water. Thick in the air was the distinctive smell of burning rubber, a pungent thick odor that invaded our nostrils and made us look towards the hood to see if something was wrong with our trusty work horse. Alas, no problems with the truck, and the smell seemed to fade after about two or three minutes. 

Then, there it was, a sight I can only explain ad being surreal – a car carrier perched haphazardly on the side of interstate  94 with flames bellowing out of the passenger trailer tire area. Flames likes the side of the double decker trailer and the cars trapped on there looked like they were scared for their lives. As we passed slowly, I saw the truck driver still in his cab, looking confused, bewildered. 

We didn’t stop, I was afraid to stop, there were just so many things that could go even worse. The carrier was hauling what appeared to be used cars, which could have easily turned into separate little fireballs if and when their gas tanks heated up enough. Those poor vehicles, that poor driver. 

I kept peaking back at the Google traffic map in the area as we entered north Dakota, and the red on the map where the fore was spread like piss on concrete. Further and further the traffic went on, complete standstill. If we would have waited five more minutes we would have been smack dab in the middle of that mess. We could have, well, we could have had a not very happy ending. 

I’m not sure about you, but I’m a fan of happy endings.

Changes in Nappanee, In

“Change in all things is sweet.” 

Aristotle

Sitting here in a waiting room in central Northern Indiana I look around and see three very unique people. I’m pretty sure they’re thinking the same thing, “who’s that girl in the polka dot tights, mid calf Alpine Stars all weather motorcycle boots, a sweater dress that barely covers her ass, and hair that looks like she slept in the back seat of a truck?” Yeah. That’s me, right now, in all my unemployed glory. (truth be told, I’ve actually landed a job, I just chose not to start quite yet). I’m still travelling around, some things never change, but there are plenty of things in my that have changed, like the over all approach at self care and respect for others. 

Looking out over these people, I see a man, I’m guessing 68, who looks like he has spent all of his life being whipped by the winds that whip off the lake to the north. His skin looks like it has been weathered like a saddle, however, his eyes are still young and smile even when his face is cast down staring into not one but two different smart phone screens. I’m sure if he could change one thing, it’d be the fact that he’s got a son in prison serving time for a felony and a daughter that moved to California to have four kids that he never gets to see. He can’t change the weather, he can’t change the weather, but he can come here to the Chevy dealership and get his oil changed. 

The next guy, a quite attractive fella about my age, staring I to the TV like it’s a black hole sucking his attention. He hasn’t once in the hour I’ve been here looked at his phone, and he sits comfortably on his leg. He gets called to the desk to retrieve his car from service, but honestly he didn’t look very excited. He’s wishing he could change the fact he bought a Chevy equinox instead of that hot sedan he wanted. His wedding band is too big for his finger and he smiles at me as he leaves. He wishes he didn’t have to go to work as a manager at the local grain store, he wishes he would have traveled out of state for college. She wants to change everything about his life. 

The young lady next to me looks as though she is about to cry, and keeps sniffling although she had been in here out of the whipping wind outside for at least twenty minutes. She has boots that remind me of a pair that I own, she wears jeans like I would wear, and she has an ariat jacket, suggesting that she has some sort of interest in equestrian stuff. She hasn’t taken her nose out of her phone the entire time, she wishes she could change the channel, but doesn’t (even though the remote is right there). She holds a silly winter hat in her lap with a puffy ball on top, and looks so sad. She wishes she were riding her horse, she wants to change the fact that she is in a relationship that makes her feel devalued. She wishes she could change the channel, not only on the TV, but in her own life as well. 

He’s so tired. 

He’s so over the family life. 

She’s so sad. 

They all want to be someplace other than here, although, they really don’t want to be anywhere else either. I want to be nowhere other than here, although, with the snow falling quietly outside it makes me want a good glass of Bourbon. It makes me want to feel my nose warm up and my eyes slant a little. This feeling had been haunting me for the past three days, and although I haven’t partook (is that a word) it’s nagging at me, tugging on my sleeve, asking nicely to give in. 

I wish I could change that, for Christ sake, I wish I could change that. I don’t know why it infests itself in my brain like a damn flock of bats in an attic, but it does. I want to change the fact that whenever I feel any sort of emotion or feeling I need to cram in down and away with booze so that I don’t actually feel anything. I wish I could change the fact that for the past couple of days I’ve cried quietly to myself out of frustration over trying to change. The problem is that although I’m changing, the people I love in my life only know me for what I was, not who I can be. 

That, I wish I could change. 

“I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do. So I’ll keep that up to you. ”

Ten Years After