My adventures and mis-adventures as I travel here and there

Not a City Girl

I drove my lovely man friend to the airport yesterday. Today I am barely alive. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t had to get up at 6am. No, actually even that wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t gone to bed at an unmentionable time the night before. But what do you expect when you go on a carriage ride and a train ride and open presents and look at pictures and make hot chocolate from truffles and talk about everything- all in one night?! Opening presents was great fun and very lucrative for several members of my family, including me with a brand new (and badly needed) laptop from my dear dad!!! So exciting! Other big-news items were a GPS for my dad (cleverly wrapped so he had no idea it was in there) and a sewing machine for my mom.

So as it turned out, I got about 3 hours of sleep and then drove 3 hours to the Dallas airport. He nodded off while I fought sleep and a growing panic as I saw the gas gauge drop at least twice the normal rate. Would have been nice to know that the gas gauge has some serious malfunctions. Would have been nice to be able to practice unlocking the gas cap under conditions not hampered by time or finger-freezing temperatures and winds. We can’t always have our way. Thankfully (and shockingly), we found the airport without complications. There was a sad goodbye. Nine days is just too long to go without seeing someone you enjoy that much, not to mention the fact that he had been my source of sanity at home.

I was exhausted, but nevertheless I set off in search of friends in the area, friends I hadn’t seen in years. I confidently pulled out my Google Map of the route from the airport to the first friend’s house. …It was for the wrong airport. Bummer! Now I would have to wheedle my way through Dallas trying to reach Ft. Worth so I could reconnect with my map and it’s beautiful directions. It took hours. Ok, so it was only 2 hours, but still it took TWO HOURS for me to get from Dallas to Ft. Worth to a region I THOUGHT was close to my friend’s house. When I finally wearily stopped at a Taco Bell to ask for directions and a burrito, I only got a laugh. Apparently I was so far away from the street I was inquiring about that it was funny. Giving up for the time being, I crawled into the back seat of the car and fell asleep. Two or three hours later…

I woke up to the sound of boisterous Taco Bell patrons. Do burritos really give people that much energy?! Calling my friend to confirm her presence at home, I started off again on my search. Wow, I had been far away! After another hour (and many stops and turn-arounds and puzzled faces and frustrated words), I finally found my destination. Chatter, gossip, catching up- it was wonderful! I had been a full four years since I had seen the girl who’d been one of my closest friends through high school and the first part of college and it was magnificent to see her again! Guess what she had done since I’d seen her last: a) gotten married, b) moved three times, c) had a baby, or d) all of the above?! ALL OF THE ABOVE! Thankfully, her moves had finally brought her back to Texas where I could see her again. I felt so honored to meet her beautiful baby and friendly husband. And so much better now that I had reconnected to a friend that I never want to lose.

Long Lost Friend

I next had dinner with a friend I had gone to school with, oh, maybe six years ago, but had never really gotten to know. We had some wonderful vegan food before running around the frigid innards of Ft. Worth, bumping into female Santa Claus and reading random children’s books. It was a relief to have someone else drive me around. Getting lost is only fun for awhile. I tried to fool him, but I think he could tell that my energy was running low at that point (ok, I really didn’t try to pretend at all- oops!). After he dropped me off I went back and had another chat with the first friend (an hour before just wasn’t enough in which to fit two people’s last four years!).

At the last minute, I decided to drive down to Keene, another hour out of my way, to spend just a few minutes with a couple of friends whom I hadn’t seen since last Christmas. It was pretty late by the time I left Ft. Worth, but I knew that if I didn’t go I wouldn’t see them again until next Christmas and would probably regret missing my chance. I mean, sometimes people die. It’s morose but true and I don’t want to be haunted by the things I didn’t do when they were alive. Not that I thought they were going to die. Not that I thought about that at all, if we’re being honest. Truthfully, I think I just wanted to make the most out of my trip. I figured I might as well push to my limit. So I took off.

Miraculously, I got to Keene without getting lost (not counting the trouble I had getting out of Ft. Worth…)
Unfortunately, the directions I’d been given were missing at least three steps, so finding them once I was IN Keene was not so simple. Envy of my dad with his new GPS was growing. I spent only an hour with them, but it was a wonderful hour! Those people make me laugh so much. And they’re always on my side- how perfect! I was completely stressed over my family’s annoyance that I hadn’t come home early, but their hilarity relieved the tension for me. He is actually my sister’s ex-boyfriend and someone that I basically grew up with- have known him since I was fifteen. He’s been married now for three years and his wife is marvelous. I enjoy her more every time I see her. Their silliness (and a high-jumping dog) was the perfect ending to my hectic but wonderful day.

Oh, but it wasn’t over yet! I still had a three and a half hour drive home, which I started at 11PM. For a few hours, I was doing just fine- thinking about life, listening to Christmas music, talking out loud to myself. About an hour and a half before I got home, I started to get sleepy. I then embarked on a repertoire of stay-awake techniques that would surely impress the most creative trucker: talking on the phone, turning up the music, blasting the heat, blasting the air, pinching myself, slapping myself, country music, Spanish music, road rage, eating, drinking (juice, that is), screaming, singing, changing lanes, trying accents, car dancing…..

I finally made it home. It was so exciting for me to note that although I had driven from Jefferson to Dallas, to Ft. Worth, to Keene, to Jefferson, and gotten lost numerous times, making a total of 10 driving hours for the day, I had only spent about $35 on gas! I felt kind of like an adventurer who had conquered great things and made it home with virtually no losses. Not unlike the time I was lost hiking in the wilderness for hours in the total darkness without a flashlight…. heh… but that’s another story.

December 22, 2008 Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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