Sunday, May 10, 2009

travelogue, part II

I am sitting by my window in my papasan chair, listening to music and smelling the rain. It's only in the last few days that I've gotten this window and this chair, and the music and the rain came together only just now, so I'm feeling very blessed.

To continue where I left off last post: I got to Chicago on a very cold and rainy Sunday afternoon, exactly two weeks ago now. I got myself quite horribly lost, right after telling Philip how pleased I was that I knew Chicago well enough to pick an alternate route when the traffic on the highway became unbearable. So it goes. I made it to the house where Dan was staying eventually, and we decided the first order of business was figuring out how to get the bike racks on the car. That was a fun game: Dad had bought them with the car but never used them, and the previous owner didn't have the manual. We did a dry run in the house, then proceeded to Vladimir for what may very appropriately be called the wet run. Wet, and cold, but successful-- that is to say, we drove the bikes from Chicago to Atlanta and they didn't fly off of the roof, which is all the success you can ask for.

Dan wanted one last Chicago pizza, so we had a quick but delicious bite on the way to see the play he'd been directing. It was very good, two one-acts that, in different ways, looked at the way people try to project an ideal image of themselves, and the ways that image breaks down. I enjoyed it a lot: kudos to everybody involved.

After the play I headed back up to spend the night with my cousin Carrie, whom I haven't seen for a couple of years. We chatted on the couch until quite late, and in the morning she made pancakes (third great breakfast in a row! I was so spoiled.) I got to see her family and meet her youngest daughter, who hadn't been born yet last time we saw each other. They're absolutely precious and I hope it isn't so long again next time.

I went back to Dan's and we loaded his stuff into Vladimir. He wasn't expecting to be able to pack everything in, so he'd set out one suitcase to be shipped, but as we got farther along it looked like we might be able to fit everything.

Hum. I have just realized that there is no way to make the packing of a car exciting in prose. I'll skip the attempt: let me just say that it was an epic struggle, a progression of hope, anxiety, despair, resurging confidence, and ultimate triumph. We got everything into the car and gave each other high fives and slaps on the back for like five minutes. Then we packed ourselves into the car, and started down the long road.

We decided to start the trip off with some Barenaked Ladies, and in lieu of picking an album we just put my entire BNL collection on shuffle. Turns out I have five hours of Barenaked Ladies songs (and I got another CD for Christmas, so now I have six.) We listened through every single one, some of them twice because of the live album, and the only one we skipped was the second round of "Break Your Heart," because that one takes a lot of energy and we agreed it's too much to sing it twice in one road trip. By the time that was done we were driving through Kentucky, so we put on Blues Traveler; I hadn't heard much of them before, but I liked them.

It was a fun but long trip, and we both tried very hard not to think about the fact that we'd be doing the same thing again twice more next week.

We finally arrived in Atlanta around ten-thirty at night, and staggered gratefully into Philip's apartment. Neither of us could believe that we were really there or that this was where we lived now, but then that's not unexpected. Transitions always take some time to sink in. For me, it felt more or less exactly like the two or three other trips to Atlanta I'd taken since January: long drive, hey, it's Atlanta! hey, it's Philip! toss my stuff down on his floor and thank God I'm not in the car any more. The back of my brain was convinced that this was another weekend trip, and there wasn't really any way to convince it otherwise, so I just let it think what it wanted.

Next up: the interim week!