The trip began in the early morning; first stop was at the convenience store 12.3 miles south of town. Fill up the tank; get some water, maybe a snack for later, cookies looked good, you know those small six pack of cookies, with the generic vanilla flavor that you would never eat at any other time unless you had a few hundred miles of road ahead of you, bag of chips and maybe some flower seeds. Oh and might as well get the bathroom visit out of the way as there will be no other stops until the arrival at the final destination.
I am constantly fiddling with the radio, it’s what I do when I drive alone, keeps me awake, keeps me company, I sure do miss my satellite radio with the infinite possibilities of choices other than old cry-in-your-beer country songs. I always play these little games in my head when I drive solo, I count things, but not for long…that one bores me. I patiently wait for the first idiot that feels like he needs to drive like a bat out of hell. Then I get on his ass and stay on it until we go our separate ways. I think to myself…let him be the idiot that gets the speeding ticket…I am just his shadow.
The scenery is dry for the first hundred miles or so, a lot of empty flat land, and the occasional dead deer on the side of the road, sometimes I count those. Have to always scan the road ahead, both sides for as many miles as my diminishing sight will allow. My safety depends on being vigilant on the road, especially these long stretches of road where sometimes there are no other vehicles in sight for hours and long stretches. Wouldn’t like to hit one of those and have to wait for a tow or any other I-don’t-want-to-imagine scenarios that unfortunately go through my head.
Finally a green sign ahead, you know the ones, with the white reflective letters spelling out the destination and miles left. I’m getting that feeling in my ass, the numbness that settles in, it extends down my legs, or rather my criss-crossed legs. I am so ready to get there, knowing that I probably should stop somewhere first and get myself to a bathroom, freshen up and maybe pick up some more water, but I don’t. I press on; it is just a few more miles.
I chair dance, I also sing, with glee and loud too, I imagine that the horrifying screeching sounds coming out of my mouth would probably shatter an ear drum if I had an unwilling audience. I laugh at that thought, I am self aware and I know I don’t have a singing voice, but I do have a lively imagination and I can tweak the sounds, pretty much as if I had a professional studio ensemble and my own private recording studio ready to amplify this sound or minimize it…yeah my own imaginary crew probably sits behind the glass and mutes me as they smile and give me two thumbs up.
Well I made it.
I pull up into the driveway, unfasten my seat belt, get out of the car, stretch for a bit, lean back in to grab my purse and pick up the cookie wrapper that fell out of my lap. I see the rickety steps and hear the dogs barking inside announcing my arrival. I make my way up to the door, walk in and take it all in.
The look of the place is not what I would have pictured. My mind likes to imagine things that will always serve to disappoint me. But I am prepared for disappointment. It has always been there but so have my Jedi mind tricks and their ridiculous machinations.
The first assault is visual, I had pictured muted beiges, perhaps a couple of sconces by the door, a nice print on the big wall across from the elegant picture window. The fireplace was there in my imagination but the reality of it was a cornea searing monstrosity. But back to what my imagination had dreamed up before I regale you with actualities. Yes, a thick plush sink your bare feet carpet and tasteful dark tapestry in tones of burgundy. Massive oak side tables with a matching coffee table, lamps with crystal tear drops and an out of this world antique grandfather clock.
Back to reality.
There are knick knacks on every possible flat surface, kitschy, and ugly, feathered and bedazzled glittering abominable creations. The layout was more Fingerhut than Neiman Marcus. But the second assault was to my olfactory senses, I believe; truly believe that I may have damaged a few of the receptors after my first breath of the air within the two steps from the threshold. What in tarnations is that? It’s like my dead grandmother, but she’s not dead, she has just been dipped in old lady powder and propped up on a recliner, of course that smell is mixed in with formaldehyde and puppy pee, no it’s worse than puppy pee, it’s cat pee.
I want to put a fork in my own eye, the left one, the right one I would prefer to pull a feather from the wall next to me and jab it in my eye and hopefully it is long enough to pierce my brain. Oh and my nose, well I will never be able to unsmell the death and powdery smells that took to my nostrils.
I stand there, frozen, transfixed by all these pretty (ugly) things tacked to the walls, and the smell is like a spell cast on me. Please someone either wake me up or shoot me.