Greetings my friends and my family.
So... radio silence was enacted yesterday. Please excuse the delayed transmissions but the signals, upon which the 'interwebs' are built, were a little fuzzy in western Pennsatucky. Penns a tuck y- Pennsatucky (n). The verbal joining of two Commonwealths where both political entities are one of the 50 states creating The United States of America. You would think this verbal joining of names would be our nation's next great move to further unify our sometimes disparate states and political beliefs. In the future, we'll be seeing names like this: Texahomansas, Indinoisigan, New Hampvermaine, The Floridalinas, and Caliwashegon. Of course, after enough media conglomeration and restaurant monopolization throughout The United States, we'll see names get longer still: Texahomansasindinoisiganhampvermainewhyareyoureadingthisfloridalinacaliwashegon. However, because of its political pull and acute abilities in the area of taxation, Massachusetts will always be known as Taxachussets. As an aside, not that this WHOLE e-mail hasn't been one non sequiter after another, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania do share something in common... They are both Commonwealths, as if to be derived for the common wealth of the populace. Kentucky and Virginia are also self-made commonwealths, having passed the ECEs, or the Entry to Commonwealth Exams. It is a four hour test, with four sections including: quantitative reasoning, verbal communication, and obfuscate interstate constructions.
The First full day of driving ended on the Western end of Pennsylvania, in Mercer, PA (not Mercia). That day of driving was bizarre: let's recap...
The Radio- Well, the biggest shock of radio, and perhaps one of the largest shocks of the trip came when listening to the radio. Please, save your applause for my redundancy for later. I was informed by a brash, shoot first ask questions later, voice that we should all petition to have our country start offshore and inland drilling now! This move will surely show the world that we can survive on our own and that investing in alternative energies is a prospect too far off to be concerning ourselves with it now. Dick Gephart and another infamously popular name in American politics are sponsoring this bill and they've even slapped a catchy, patriotic title to it. There are so many catchy, patriotic titles to bills nowadays I forgot what it was called. Whatever happened to more original names for bills like: S-4365.b.98-a or Chloe? In all seriousness, the short-sightedness of these views ruffled my feathers. Perhaps it was my puritan ears that led me to my next scandalous action, but it just had to be done.
I changed the channel.
The Driving- When moving from Massachusetts to... anywhere west, please note the following: Your Drive Will be Up Hill. So, you'll be able to watch gasoline bleed from your gas gage like mustard at a cook-out. However, once you've made it over the I-90 Eastern Peak, you then decide it would be best to take I-80 west... you know, for good measure. You then realize that, Aha! You're now driving over the 2nd highest peak along the ENTIRE breadth of I-80. At that point, I decided to accept my fate with the gas gods. At the next fueling station, I poured 30 gallons of gas onto the pavement, burned 2 crisp hundred dollar bills, and cried from the shredded heart of my financial soul. Oh Gas Gods, may this offering appease you. Amen.
While driving, and as a general rule in Life, I recommend knowing your boundaries, testing your limits. It's a healthy endeavor. It keeps you in check and alters your perception of reality. So... when the vehicle transport says 45 mph MAX. It's only playing with you. It is in fact begging you to challenge your perception of reality. The posted placard is daring you to "Be a Man!" and push your boundaries.
Downward slopes on hills. The Wind at your back. These things will help propel your 14' U-Haul, with vehicle transport in tow, to a blistering speed. 55mph? No. 60mph? No... 85mph. And might I say... oops.
Do not try this at home, nor on any interstate. The vehicle transport started slowly swishing left and right. This I took as a very bad sign. Of course the speed was also a bad sign. I slowed down and agreed to never do that again.
The Talking- My thanks to my girlfriend and my dear friend, back in Boston, for speaking with me on the phone. You kept me awake and entertained.
In Travels with Charlie, Steinbeck wrote about the homogenization of American culture and commerce. He wrote how widespread it was becoming and noted often a particular melancholy about the passing of localized identity and greatness. He wrote this near the end of his Life, published in 1962. If he felt this in the late 50's and early 60's. How he must be rolling in his grave now.
I am now in Lafayette, IN. I arrive last night after driving through Ohio and Indiana. Ohio, along I-71 and I-70, proved to be a gentle ride, which was nice. As soon as I hit western PA, I could smell in the trees the same humid, sweet smell of Southern Illinois. I wondered how different the two areas were and if they were connected by similar geography and plantology (the study of plants... clearly). Upon entering Ohio, I found the midwest again. Ohio is a more rolling and hilly version of the Midwest. It lay at the last vestiges of the Appalachian Mountains. For its part, Indiana is also more hilly than Illinois... which is decidedly not hilly (until you hit Sourthern Illinois).
Upon driving into Lafayette... everything finally hit me. "Jesus, I gave everything to move out here." It's quite a move. I don't gamble in cards or in most anything else. I do find though that my Life is always an adventure and this one no less than the others. These thoughts brought me close to tears as is appropriate in any Life shift. Even the best change can bring a little sadness. So let that be my motivation to really kick grad school in the balls and rock this chapter of Life.
I'm sure there is more... though I cannot now think of it and you have already read too much.
With Love and Respect,
ps. New York State and Pennsylvania are Beautiful.