do now cheer me on

The other day I drove my first solo road trip, to meet up in Albuquerque with Patrick. It was a pretty easy ride– the route was somewhat familiar to the one we took to El Paso (I think I even stopped at one of the same gas stations, heh). I over-caffeinated in the beginning and got really jumpy so every passing road sign made me feel like I was on the verge of a heart attack, and a piece of the chocolate bar I ate melted on the seat/my pants, but besides that, no trouble.

Lately it seems a lot of my friends (and semi-related friends, i.e. cousins-in-law) are traveling as well… People are heading out to the West Coast for internships, one friend of ours moved to Denver too, another friend applied for a job that requires moving. One of my cousins-in-law is working with AmeriCorps out here in the West (I think she’s headed to Texas soon), one lives in DC, my brother-in-law lived in Ireland for a few months, others have taken trips overseas. I know everyone says that posting about trips on social media is fake or trying to make your life seem cool or whatever, but… I guess I’m glad they’re all posting about it everywhere. I feel like we’re all in a sort of club, spreading out and exploring the country. It inspires me to not miss home too much.

While I drove yesterday, telephone wires spooling along beside me, rocks rising out of the horizon, strange plants bristling across empty fields, I imagined myself years from now gliding on some other open road somewhere. And why not? Life is short and gas is cheap. (Uh… right now, anyway. *has horror flashback to 2008* *horror flashback switches from gas prices to my fashion* Yeah guys, forget the past!!! Seize the day!!)

Albuquerque is familiar in a weird way… They have a parkway across from their zoo, which is reminiscent of Old Brooklyn; even the signs for the zoo looked the same. Of course, the parkway went through a forest with signs warning of fire dangers, and all the trees were pale and dry. The path through the woods was just dust. You could walk without making a sound– or hearing a sound. I sat still for a while, though, and saw some small birds and one woodpecker.

Tonight, Patrick and I are driving to some other town in northern New Mexico… As I’m really growing to like this state, I’m looking forward to seeing more. Plus, it’s really spring here! Besides that park, there are many trees budding and blooming. Imagine new, bright green and a clear blue sky against all the subdued shades of brown (which is pretty too). Add in the ~~power of the sun~~ and it’s hard not to feel alive even on an ordinary Thursday.

The title of this post is from “Erin” by Joanna Newsom… A song I think about on just about every road trip. Erin, Erin, Erin across America! Some people say it’s also a mondegreen for “Erring” which I like too.

Yours from the road,
Pen

A road too long to mention

Well, there are only a couple more days left of our time in El Paso, and then it’s the trek back to Denver. In preparation, I’ve been reading On the Road. I’m glad I waited until now to read it, actually, because his journey in the beginning of the book, from New York to Denver, is very similar to the way Patrick and I drove with our U-Haul when we moved. I can really picture it: I also traveled through Illinois, took a quick stop in North Platte, felt the excitement of getting close when we hit Cheyenne.

Then, when he’s actually in Denver, I could imagine him running around Colfax; I could relate to his friend’s basement apartment and poems about those Denver pigeons.

Of course, there’s still parts I don’t understand at all– like when he casually mentions walking five miles to a friend’s place. I’m just like… How??? Wouldn’t that take a long time?? Was this a normal thing, to walk five miles to meet up with someone? Did they just sit around waiting for however long it takes you? EXPLAIN PLEASE.

Right now I’m sitting in a Starbucks, across from a stranger who is also on a laptop. It’s crowded, needless to say. I just tried to move my foot and I accidentally nudged theirs and I died for a second.

Another thing about On the Road is the way he hops from city to city, job to job. He gives his shirt away to a fellow traveler (and later, gets it back). It reminds me of what I love about movie hit-men: if they lose their coat or their gun, they just find another one laying around and use that. Goals, man. If I could go with the flow even half as much as movie hit-men and Sal Paradise…

Oh, the stranger got up for a second. Time to stretch my legs… Oh lord. Well, at least I’m not the guy who got stuck with just an armchair in a corner.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the road trip, and to getting home and having my own pillow back, and doing some projects. (One of which, I keep joking to Patrick, is going to be the opening credits of an indie film with the song “Rights of Man” playing in the background for absolutely no reason.)

I’ll miss this city, though. El Paso makes me feel so refreshed (*one hundred sun emojis*).

Also, I slept for twelve and a half hours last night… Which I guess might have something to do with it.