I’m going on a road trip.
I love road trips.
Despite all my experience to the contrary… like the time my brother got car sick and my mother gave him my sweater to throw up into, or the time Chad and I ran out of gas and had to push our car a quarter of mile UPHILL to get to the gas station, or the time we drove through Death Valley with the heater on because our truck kept overheating and Chad said we had to take the heat off the engine, or the time I got dehydrated and delirious just outside Las Vegas and thought I might be having a stroke.
I think you never know when a roadside attraction might turn into something magical… like the time The Boy and I, on a road trip to deliver him to college, stopped at Indian City on our way through Arizona. We’d seen signs for miles and miles. By the time we reached Indian City, I had to pull off of the highway and check it out. (True confession: I also had to go to the bathroom.)
The “city” turned out to be two buildings and a little trailer where a woman made frybread by the order, while you waited. The gift shop was tiny and silly and the little carved box I bought turned out (I discovered once I got it home) to have a Made In China sticker on it.
It would have been terrible, except that we ordered frybread, which I’d never had before, and the woman went into the little trailer to make it. It was ninety degrees outside, and the inside of the trailer was clearly unbearable, though she didn’t complain. I felt bad and apologized for making her go in there to cook. She waved off the apology, and while I stood there bearing my impotent guilt, The Boy went and got her a bottle of water. Such a simple thing, really, but I swelled with pride.
When she was done, she came out and handed us each our frybread orders. She sat on an a chair outside the trailer with a magazine and the bottle of water The Boy had given her. The Boy and I sat on a bench a little ways away, and watched as the sky opened up in a biblical way, producing a torrential, short-lived rainstorm. I don’t remember what we said, The Boy and I, or if we said anything. We just sat there eating our frybread (which I loved more than I can say), and we watched the rain, and I felt how fleeting this moment was, how precious. I felt, more intensely than ever before, the young man inside my boy, and I was proud and joyous and lost and grieving all at the same time.
I love road trips and all that they entail – inevitable improvisation, miles and miles of highways, new places, new adventures, new pieces of myself to discover. And since October 1st was Day 1 of my 30 Days of Hand Lettering challenge, I painted and lettered something in honor of my imminent trip.
I know our road trip won’t be On The Road, Jack Kerouac style, but it will be fun, and funny, and tense, and surprising in all the ways that road trips uniquely are. And I will return with stories to tell.
In fact, if you have a great road trip story with which to send me off, please do share it! (I might even doodle it, you never know.)
Also, there’s this! Along with the more traditional Christmas cards I designed last year, this year I’ll be offering a new set of cards in my Etsy shop: Grumpy animals in Santa hats (or Cranky Christmas Critters, as one friend suggested on Twitter). These cards have been so fun to make. Seriously. No matter how bad my mood is, as soon as I get to the part where I’m drawing a Santa hat on a grumpy animal, I start laughing. I have three so far. I’m not sure how many there will be, but I am sure there’ll be more than three. The entire set will be up and on sale sometime in the first half of October, so if you’re into celebrating the holidays in a vaguely subversive way, I’ll have just the cards for you to send out. Here’s a sneak peak…
Bon Voyage, all!