Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ain't No Trip to Cleveland

Well, folks, here I am: The big O. (Ohio, that is. Get yer minds outta the gutter.) My mom rented a Ford E-150, the kind of van that sketchy old men abduct children in on "Law & Order," & we hit the road for a seven-hour trip, which I live-blogged by taking notes on my iPhone's notepad feature because, uh, there's an app for that. Nearly 48 hours later, here's the somewhat delayed recap:



8:00am - I wake up begrudgingly, propelled only by my excitement at sleeping in a bed & not on an air mattress later that evening.

8:22 - Showered & ready to be ready, I say my final goodbye to Jason, my roommate & one of my best friends. While reading the eloquent goodbye card he wrote me, I let approx three tears fall, as I know more will squeeze their way out throughout the day.

9:53 - After loading the rest of my stuff into the massive cargo van my mom rented, we're ready to leave. I wave & cry another goodbye to my other roommate, Gavi, & sob as we make our way up Connecticut Avenue. Sometime in the early 10 o'clock hour, my mom makes me stop at Firehook in Cleveland Park for breakfast; I cry through my bacon & egg sandwich.


11:01 - Our first roadtrip discussion: an argument about the merits of credit unions (I can't find any).

11:29 - My chai latte sets in, & we take a break at a Sheetz. Ladies: If you leave pee around the entire perimeter of the seat, you're doing it wrong.

12:06pm - Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" comes on. I car-dance a bit & promptly burst into tears, reminded of my DC BFF. Whinegrumblesigh.

12:14 - Outlet malls remind me why I love suburbs.

12:30 - I broach an important subject with my mother: "What TV shows do you watch? This is a serious question." I plot out our DVR schedule; we pass a hitchhiker waving an American flag & wearing a bald eagle vest.

12:35 - A political discussion arises. "Tom Ganley is a sleazebag!" my mom proclaims. I agree. This conversation foreshadows my decision to volunteer with Rep. Betty Sutton's campaign for reelection upon my return home.

12:57 - "Love Song" comes on. I cry a little behind my sunglasses as I'm reminded of yet another D.C. friend.

1:00 - My mom asks me if I'd like to move to Pittsburgh. Let's finish one move first, OK?

1:03 - We pass through Breezewood, the Mecca of rest areas, but don't stop, to my dismay (I love their 50 States Gift Shop). Having hit the almost-halfway mark, The Fray's "You Found Me" comes on; I'm about to cry when "Margaritaville" comes on, making it a little tougher to embrace sentimentality.

1:04 - I fall fast asleep.

1:21 - Freezing, I awaken & contemplate digging my Snuggie out of my luggage.

1:49 - I wake up to my mom freaking out about a near run-in with a FedEx truck. I am awake just long enough to spot a license plate that reads "incub 8," which I text a friend about before falling back asleep.

1:57 - We pull into a rest stop in North Somerset, Penn., where I spot a John Deere sticker on a pick-up truck, hear a man speaking in a bona fide Tracy Jordan voice, & am annoyed to see that a rest stop in North Somerset, Penn., sells D.C. postcards. My mom & I nap in the parking lot until 2:18.

2:21 - I receive a voicemail from Gavi that goes like this:
"There's a picture of a fish in one of the paintings. Fish scare me, so I'm gonna turn it over now. Let me know what to do with it. K byyyye."
3:18 - The cargo van is rattly. So rattly that it wakes me up from yet another peaceful vehicular slumber.

3:23 - We pass a cattle truck. "There's something alive in there!" my mom announces as a calf eyeballs us through the gates of its moving pen.

3:42 - I spy my first haunted house billboard, a key sign of the Midwest.

4:01 - I spy my first fireworks factory billboard, a key sign of the Midwest.
4:02 - Going through a toll booth, I drop my phone in the abyss of our giant van.
4:05 - My phone is still lost in the abyss, which means I can't take a photo of the Ohio sign as we cross the border. But here we are! My phone is retrieved less than a minute later.

4:19 - "Walkin' in Memphis" comes on. I cry a little behind my sunglasses.

4:23 - "Teenage Dream" comes on. Again. I cry a little behind my sunglasses. Reprise!

4:29 - While flipping through radio stations, I nearly settle on a Nickelback song. Ashamed of my momentary lapse in taste, I settle instead on Train.

5:03 - How did I never notice that there's a butter factory two towns over from my hometown?

5:11 - We pass a trailer parked in someone's front yard with a sign on the front: "4H is for you!" No. No, it isn't.


Sometime shortly thereafter, we arrive home; I have no idea when because I'm too exhausted & emotional to notice. I spend the next hour unloading our abductor van & canceling my plans for the evening in favor of wearing flannel pajama pants & eating oatmeal. Because relaxation? Looks the same in any state.

Stay tuned for "Pantless in Ohio," the next installment in my "Oh my God, I'm home" series. And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go do a little unpacking so our house stops looking like an episode of "Hoarders."
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