So I drove across America. America is really big. I drove eight and ten hours a day, and by the end I could really feel in my gut how big America really is. There are some amazingly beautiful things on the road out there. There are the forests in Tahoe, the scrubby foothills in Nevada, the red cliffs in Utah, and the green valleys of Wyoming. I was excited to drive through things like Donner Pass and the Continental Divide. But I must be a true California girl, because everything interested me except Kansas and Missouri. Those two states had lots of deciduous trees and wheat fields, and I just didn't identify with them.
People were very nice, except for city people. Every stop I made off a two-lane highway on the way out, I met polite and cheerful people. I only dealt with two or three rude people, and they were all in cities. I played about twelve CDs to death, and I desperately need a trip to a masseuse and a chiropractor. But here I am.
It was an interesting week, although I was exhausted, upset, and lonely a lot of the way. I tried to talk to friends on my cel phone, but coverage wasn't all that good. Everything had an epic, dramatic feeling to it. I cried for an hour before I could finally get into my car to leave L.A. My friend, who I still have not slept with, despite having seen him here last weekend, was very nice about it. I guess drama can't be avoided when you pack a third of what you own into your car and empty out your bank account to get to a graduate program where you'll owe the equivalent of a nice, new, fully-loaded Lexus by the end of the year.
Don't get me wrong. People often dig events like these, but I don't believe that life is about this. Life is about the rote and everyday. I'm impatient with myself that this was such a big deal. It was only what it was. But it was a shock to my system, and I think that's what's keeping me from seeing it that way. I'm sure it'll come to me when I'm calm again.
Well, congrats on finishing the initial leg of your journey! I wish you the best of luck in grad school! I hope you're happy and enjoy it.
by leaffin at October 7, 2005 8:22 PM
Thank you Leaffin!!!
by jean at October 7, 2005 9:32 PM
I've always flown to California. One day I need to drive and savor the countryside. But I want to skip the midwest. Can't dig endless expanse of wheat or cornfields.
by anna at October 8, 2005 8:50 AM
I went to College in Kansas for a couple years. The only phrase that comes to me about the area is "mind-numbing".
But sometimes people don't realize how many different areas the US is really comprised.
I'm glad you made it in one piece jean.
by Long Time Lurker at October 8, 2005 3:09 PM
I like your comment that life is about the everyday. But learning about yourself and your approach to life is what happens when you are in a changing environment, and you have to react to things with which you are not familiar.
14 years ago I rode my bicycle from the coast of Oregon to the coast of Virginia, and while Kansas and Missouri consisted of severals days (2 weeks maybe? I don't remember) of flatness, I found it kind of meditative. I have fond memories of seeing that grain silo and clump of trees up ahead, and finally reaching it after an hour.
by chris at October 9, 2005 2:29 PM
By the way, congratulations on moving out of LA. Good luck getting used to the cold at your new home. Hopefully you won't have to drive anywhere, and can rely on walking or public transit to get around when it snows. Get used to walking on ice covered sidewalks.
by chris at October 9, 2005 7:24 PM
Chris, what a post that would be.
by anna at October 10, 2005 7:42 AM
Thanks, Chris. You're right. I was in the same environment for a very long time. People and the lifestyle are different here. Not drastically different, but enough to give you a lot to think about.
There is a bus from my apartment to the campus, so I don't have to drive in bad weather. I can't imagine biking from Oregon to Virginia. Wow.
by jean at October 10, 2005 10:20 PM