Lately I've had vivid, constant fantasies about finding a small cabin on some hitherto uncharted pond in Vermont where I might hole up for the winter, chopping wood, eating squirrels and knitting mutant clothing (not a very good knitter). I'm thinking Walden Pond, but less populated. I assume that just because I haven't been to Vermont, no one else has either, and there are small lakes and rustic cabins just sitting around empty. Don't burst my bubble, cheers.
On the off chance they're not currently handing out free lakeside villas in Vermont or Maine, I thought a roadtrip would be nice. An extended, aimless roadtrip that avoided impersonal interstate highways. A backroads, backwoods road trip mazing vaguely towards Vermont or Maine or Quebéc in whimsical EEG spikes. An interstate'less interstate journey. The kind of odyssey they made bad road trip movies of in the 90s or good slasher flicks in the 80s.
So this morning after I dropped husBen off at the airport, I grabbed my trusty, weathered and worn (E)VAC(U)ATION AMERICA almanac and aimed towards the first café or fast food joint on Airline Hwy. where I might sip some coffee and flip through maps of states like Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and, since they included it, Quebéc.
While the concept of such a trip was already rejuvinating my frazzled brain, the throbbing pain of a pinched sciatic nerve which is exacerbated nowhere like in the driver's seat of my car was quashing the realism of my little dream. If driving to MSY airport and back is prompting me to perform lewd acts in trucker rest stops in exchange for a Vicodin, I seriously doubted a several week snaking backroads car trip to New England would be feasible, especially since the agonizing left leg is the one responsible for the clutch, and there's a lot of shifting in tiny burgs and hamlets.
Dreams nearly shattered, but still somewhat attractive, I spotted a place to have a coffee and read my almanac. I passed a slow-moving white pickup truck and made the turn into the parking lot.
As I pulled into a space, I heard a large crash close enough that I thought for a minute that I was hit, and the only reason I wasn't feeling the impact was that I was in shock.
The crawling pickup truck I had passed awhile back had been rear ended by a sedan, the latter's front half resembling a steaming, hissing accordian.
"There but for the grace of god…" I thought, and tried to gauge the omen, if this was in fact an omen—if there were in fact any such thing as an omen.
If I hadn't passed that slow-ass truck, I would have been the one rear ended by the now-hysterical sedan women screaming and darting around a busy Airline Hwy. like a crazed rabbit. So maybe it augers well for me, and I made the right decision, and the omen says, "Yes! Go on a road trip! You are impervious! See?"
Or perhaps more likely (as omens go), the smashed car and the hyperventialting sedan woman clutching her chest as cars honked and avoided her on Airline Hwy. was telling me that perhaps cars are not very good things to spend a lot of time in just at the moment.
The woman at the counter saw my voluminous, tattered Rand McNally and asked, "Where ya goin', baby?"
"I really don't know," I replied. "Away, maybe."
"Aw, I heard dat! We all just wanna get away," she said sagely.
"Where would you go if you weren't allowed on interstates?"
She looked at me and blinked. "Dat's $3.50, honey. NEXT!"
I sat down at a window where I could watch the shuddering sedan woman kneeling and panting in the median of Airline Hwy. and began mapping my stupid, aimless, apocryphal trip, starting with Hazlehurst, Mississippi because I loved the film CRIMES OF THE HEART which is set there, and Hazlehurst is technically off the highway, and on the way to Vermont-or-wherever. Perhaps Jessica Lange, Diane Keaton and Dame Sissy would be waving at me from the roadside, I thought. Or perhaps … not. Anyway, I'm going there.
I followed the squiggliest trail I could devise to Abingdon, Virginia where I once spent an afternoon 20-odd years ago when my car broke down there. The mechanic's daughter was thrilled to play with my two parakeets who were traveling with me. ("Where you headed, son?" "L.A." "Lower Abingdon?" "Uh, no. The other one.")
Once on the New England pages I could only choose my destinations by the superficial allure of the names since I am ignorant of the geography and topography. But what a difficult game to play! To have to choose between Moxie Lake (in the shadow of Moxie Mountain), or the nearby Pleasant Pond off rural route 201, BFE, Maine. Or North Randolph, Vermont, which is south of East Brookfield, which is west of East Corinth, which is west of West Newbury, which is east of South Northfield?
It doesn't really matter. I'm not going anywhere except home to take my old-man pills for my screaming leg and left ass cheek.
Pills gobbled and pain the tiniest bit abated, my road trip dreams remained rudely intact. Realistically, I figured I could only do a day trip until (if ever?) my back healed, so I texted a friend for a mini-trip to Grand Isle or Biloxi or some place. Might do that this weekend, decrepitude and mutual schedules permitting.
WHY this mad scramble for escape? I think it's because of Alan.
Alan lives at Krayzee Kornurzz next door. I think he's the one with filthy stringy hair and a weather-battered face like a dustbowl, flyover state serial killer, but I can't be sure. I don't want to be sure. He's already taking up too much real estate in the tiny parcel of land in my mind.
Alan lives in (one of the seeming hundreds of ramshackle apartments in) the back courtyard and is the proud owner of what Ben calls the Redneck Doorbell. A Redneck Doorbell sounds like this…
“ALAN!!!! ALAN!!! HEY ALAN!!!”
…at any hour of the morning, day, afternoon, night, middle of the night, dawn, dusk, gloaming, twilight, whatever, and shouted by about three dozen
Of course it's not just the stupid neighbor, but he's the straw on my back, and there are enough straws on my back to start a pretty nice blaze.
To list, this is what I don't want any more, and why an imaginary Vermontian cabin in the woods far from humanity is such a bright and pretty beacon:
In either event, lunacy is certainly imminent. And sticky, jammy carpet.
Y'know, it's not just the Quarter. I mention those things because they're in my face right now (well, except for the Christmas Critter Caper). A full list of things that are clogging my coping mechanisms would take about 1TB of storage. Taken individually, most items might be considered petty, but as a whole, it's a bit overwhelming.
I know you know what I'm talking about, unfortunately.
and would have much more to add but some other time. I will say this: I have put a plan in place to be relocated to the East Coast within 3 years, prob the Boston area. I need to be closer to Europe and NYC. And experience four seasons, even snow.
So if you relocate to Vermont or somewhere in New England - we'll be "neighbors" of a sort!
Love you and wish you freedom from the Alans of the world in the future!
This post just reminds me of why we decided to move. I almost wrote a list of things I don't miss, but thinking about it made me tired. I miss you, my dearest. Let me know if you want my friend Mai's number. She does traditional Thai massage, it might help your back!