Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Snakes, Cranes, and Automobiles

What a journey it has been . . .

Last week, I drove home to surprise the family by spending Easter with them. It worked out quite well, with me getting to surprise several people and having the chance to enjoy a night out with a friend (not a common occurrence since I went back to grad school). It was wonderful to spend a few days watching TV with Dad and not doing any reading or writing. In fact, it almost felt sinful! Last night, I left my parents' home at 9:00, anticipating a standard drive back to Virginia (how silly of me).

In case you're questioning the late hour of departure, allow me to explain. I have found night driving to be the safest and quickest when tackling the long journey between Michigan and Virginia. There are four reasons for this:

1. At night, no one can get in my blind spot, since I can see their headlights long before they get close to me.
2. There is far less traffic at night. Generally, it's just me and the semis from midnight to about 5 in the morning.
3. At night, the fear of getting drowsy is stronger, thus I stay more alert. The natural wariness of being placed in a potentially more dangerous situation makes me more cautious, thus keeping me safer.
4. There is no sun shining straight into my eyes at night.

So, it seemed like it would be a normal trip. I anticipated drowsiness, so I started out the drive right with a double shot of expresso. That had me bouncing merrily along for a few hours! I also anticipated that Ohio would be the Protestant equivalent of Purgatory (which it always is), so I had a stash of old radio shows on CDs ready to amuse me. Unfortunately, there were just a few things that I failed to predict:

1. The rampant, terrifyingly close lightening that did its best to strike my car all the way through Ohio.
2. The heavy fog all the way through West Virginia, which often left me only able to see a few feet past the front of my car.
3. The significant amount of construction in Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia.
4. My TomTom's rampant desire to murder me. First she kept telling me to turn left or right while I was on bridges or near the edge of a cliff, then she sent me on an exceedingly dark and creepy detour through a bad part of Beckley.
5. The enormous snake who made the unfortunate decision to sunbathe in the road in Virginia (my condolences to his widow).
6. Getting carsick all over myself after going around one curve too many in Bedford Country. On the bright side, I now know an excellent combination of cleaning supplies to use for getting vomit out of a car interior.

I think next time, the family should come visit me!

No comments:

"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"