A and I took a 2 ½ week road trip, during which I intended to post occasional nuggets from the road that wended its way up through North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, and then back down to North Carolina.
Well, the road trip to anywhere is paved with good intentions, I guess – but the funkiness of our travel laptop and the quirky, slow Internet access we encountered along the way blew the likelihood of blog posting right out the car window.
But here’s the real deal: I didn’t write one. single. word. during our entire trip. Not one. (Except for mileage logs and where and when we stopped along the way.) The closest I came to a literary experience was spending two days in Maine a half-mile from where Stephen King’s Pet Sematary was filmed.
While all the definitions of vacation fit the trip – seeing new places, visiting old friends and family, changing the pace and rhythm of life – this describes my vacation mindset the best: the act or instance of vacating.
That’s it. Old thoughts, ideas and words vacated my mind. They fled the premises and left all this empty space in my brain for – what?
New thoughts, new words, new directions. Paradigm shift? Planetary alignment? I’m still figuring out what happens when your brain empties out, hits ‘re-set’ and comes up with something different, something unexpected.
Yesterday I was telling a friend about our trip and she projected, “And I’ll bet it felt good to get home, too.”
Well, no, as a matter of fact.
We’d run out of clean clothes, so we were happy to use the washer and dryer. And Polly and Lola had stayed home with a house sitter, so it was great to see the furballs. But if we could figure out a way to travel with them comfortably in the summer, we’d be on the road again as soon as the clothes were dry.
So, uh, isn’t Tap Dancing at the County Fair supposed to be about a road trip toward self-knowledge? Am I living my novel right now, but without the distance or perspective to write it, or know how it should end?
Plus this: a funny little metal coin with scalloped edges and a star cut out of the center. WASATCH DAIRY FARM it says on one side; “Good for *1* Quart of Milk” on the other.
Huh? I never heard of the Wasatch Dairy Farm. Neither did Google. The closest a search came up with was a town in Utah. I haven’t been to Utah since a road trip in the early 1970’s, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t visit any dairy farms then. And I bought the bag maybe ten years ago at a Crate & Barrel outlet store in Massachusetts. Where did this rural talisman come from?
So here I am, a couple of days after our road trip, filled with extreme wanderlust, thoughts and words careening around the empty caverns of my mind, waiting to be arranged or re-arranged into something approaching sense, or at least amusing nonsense.
Maybe it’s time to start writing.
And then head off again in search of that free quart of milk.