[ this end up ]

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2006 at 6 am

>The high pitched whine of the paper trimmer at work rises and falls as I engage it to slice hundreds of ads for the local paper—
—And over.
–—And fucking over until, like whales finding their way across the vast ocean with internal navigation, my body simply knows 5 o’clock has arrived an I turn to go
This is life, Monday thru Friday, every week since our road trip ended.
It’s not that bad of a job, an honest buck to shut out the world and run around within my busy head for 8 hours. I mean I could be shoveling shit instead.
The day I got back to work I drew out our route on a 3 foot by 5 map of the US hanging in the office. I used permanent marker so I guess I own the map now. It’s glorious up there, 12,000 or so miles, in thick black cutting across the colored states and dotted borders that represent all of the US. I hadn’t looked at the map since then, to be honest I hadn’t even thought of the trip all that much. That is until today. A light rain dropped on my first 15-minute break and my time was spent in the office instead of outside. I didn’t have anything to do so I just closed my eyes and stretched out in the cushy chair behind the desk. At one point I looked up and saw the map staring down at me. I felt a rush of energy and excitement and I got up and retraced every inch of the trip with my finger.
I was there on this plastic laminated sheet. Right underneath my finger towns, with names I’ll forget, felt our presence for fleeting minutes as we shot through on the way to some other town I’ll forget the name of. We ate on this map, we drank, we slept—or tired to—we drove and we smiled. In the office today, in the waning moments of break from the grey drudgery of work I finally understood what all those hours meant.
I used to think that I was supposed to take something important and lasting from all the places, and I did, so many times over in endless ways that I’ll discover and rediscover until the day I die. What really matters, though, what’s really important is that the places took something from us. Looking at the map I realized, looking at cities and towns passing beneath the thick line, that we were there, and there and there. The rocks of a Montana mountain are forever moved because Brian and I threw them around on a cold, foggy day, drunk off Fosters, bought by the mayor who we planned on seeing again but is now dead. Our backs displaced sand as we flipped and rolled over sand dunes in California. We stood all over the country and yelled out to it “WE ARE HERE MOTHERFUCKER!” An Elk in Flagstaff, AZ started our car down in the dead of night, some Seattle cop is telling stories about the guy sleeping in 40 degree weather on a parking lot, some future president’s wife may think about the drunken idiots who trip to pick her up with a clever sign at the Yale/Harvard game
All that matters, really, in the end is that we were there.
I don’t know if that’s the closure I wanted. I don’t know if it’s even closure but it’s the truth, and as the 15 minutes came to a close and my hand drifted off the map heading west towards Buffalo I knew that the country didn’t change us, we changed it in ways that will never be known but will always be there.
—and for the rest of the day
—I thought about all those places and minutes
—and smiled.


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