I’ve been back from my trip for a week now, and have had a surprisingly difficult time readjusting to a normal routine, both physically and mentally. After going for two weeks with little sleep, it seems my body has been overcompensating in that department. I find myself tired early, and sleeping soundly every night; last night I got about 9.5 hours(!), and this was after dozing off in my chair earlier in the evening. Not sure what’s up with that, but I decided I need some stimulation, as yesterday was the epitome of a lazy day spent doing nothing. I had planned on going for a hike today, but the weather was cool and wet, so I’m saving that for later in the week. I went to the movies instead – it’s $5 Tuesday, after all. My choice? Horrible Bosses, because I really like the cast (they’re all excellent: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey in his best role since American Beauty, Jennifer Aniston in her nakedest role since The Break-Up, and a couple of surprise cameos). And also, because I’ve had some horrible bosses. I had come across a scathing review in the local paper, but Rotten Tomatoes gave it a pretty good score, and it received an A- in Entertainment Weekly, so I decided to check it out…and I’m glad I did! It’s raunchy and crude (but not obnoxiously so) and riotously funny at times. I would say it’s probably the funniest movie I’ve seen since The Hangover (and similar in tone). Trust me, that’s high praise. Getting out seems to have done me some good, too: I feel much more energetic today.
I’ve also been missing the open road. For a few days I was thankful to be back home; everything felt new again. But then, pretty quickly, it felt old again, and I found myself longing for the excitement of traveling to new destinations and seeing new sights. I wrote that my trip cured the aching sense of wanderlust that had gripped my very soul, but maybe that was short-lived. I suspect the travel bug is more contagious than I assumed, for I began fantasizing about hopping in the car and doing it all over again…somewhere, anywhere. But of course, that can’t – and won’t – happen. Unless I become a truck driver, an idea that flittered briefly through my head last week. Driving an 18-wheeler, I thought, would give me the perfect opportunity to see the United States! But then I realized two drawbacks. First off, I would be on a tight schedule. Sure, I’d get to see a lot of the country, but always from the bed of my cab – I couldn’t just pull off into some random cornfield on a whim. Second, I would hate myself. Those damn semis irritated me to no end; they were constantly going too slow or, worse, pulling out right in front of me to pass another truck that was going too slow for their tastes. I cursed them repeatedly, admonishing them to “stay in their own damn lane” time and time again, or at least to wait until I passed to pull into the fast lane, but they never listened to me. Plus, truckers are a little scary. I’m much too clean-cut to fit in. So, no career in the long-haul trucking industry for me, apparently. I am, in the meantime, buckling down and trying my damnedest to find a job. And, this ennui – this desire to be on the move, exploring, driving, adventuring – appears to be on the wane, as well. I find myself eager to get out and see and do the things I love around Portland the most, rather than heading off into the great unknown. Today is the first time that I feel like “myself” since returning. This is a good thing!
I also inadvertently forgot to write about one of the highlights of my trip – meeting a fellow blogger and long-distance friend, Laurie, my first night in Dayton. I blame a crappy internet connection in which I was “stealing” wi-fi from the parking lot of Bob Evans in a hot car with rolled-up windows on a muggy evening as the sun went down – I was in such a hurry to write about my childhood home and elementary school, I never got a chance to mention our meeting. Better late than never, though! I have known Laurie for more than five years now; we used to write on the same online journaling site, and got to know each other through our posts. We have a lot in common: an Ohio connection, we’re the same age, both divorced, both parents, both Whose Line Is It Anyway? connoisseurs, and we’ve both had dating “adventures” that – trust me – you simply wouldn’t believe. Ahh, if I had the freedom to write about those…but, anyway. We’ve helped each other out through some difficult times, and pretty much know one another’s deepest, darkest secrets. I just always figured we’d be online friends but would probably never meet, since we were thousands of miles apart, but then suddenly there I was in Dayton, about an hour from her home in Columbus. How could we not?
My first evening there – Wednesday, June 29th – she and her son, Neil drove down to visit me at the Day’s Inn I’d checked into. It was hot, and the A/C in her car wasn’t working, so she practically collapsed into a chair next to the air-conditioner upon arriving, while her son entertained himself mostly by jumping up and down on the bed. There was nothing even remotely awkward about seeing her; we chatted easily, like two old friends, which is pretty much what we are. After awhile the three of us walked over to the Bob Evans next door for dinner (I got a chicken pot pie that was one of the highlights of my trip, and Laurie ordered breakfast), where the excellent conversation continued. We hung out for awhile longer back in the room, where Neil decided I was a pretty likable guy and stretched out beside me on one of the beds (mom was on the other) while listening to music on an iPod. It was getting late, so eventually I walked them out to their car and we said goodbye.
I wanted to mention all this because it is one of the most appealing aspects of blogging to me: the friendships that I have made over the years, beginning with nothing more than words on a computer screen and culminating in actual meetings in person. By and large, these people have become confidantes and – I am sure – lifelong friends. Monica in Sacramento, Tara from Nevada, Heidi from California, and now Laurie – I feel close to them all, and lucky to count them as friends. I never had lasting friendships as a child thanks to all the moving around, so these relationships are extra special to me, and I treasure them all.
And because I’m a
perfectionist completist, I’ve added the Laurie story (ooh, it rhymes!) to my official Day 8 report from the road.