Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Manifest Destiny of Tom and Z (an odyssey told in the form of a telegraph).

West Virginia: Farewell! (stop)

Ohio: Uneventful (stop)  Left arm begins turning red (stop)

Indiana: Hot (stop)  Boring (stop)  Will not revisit (stop)

Illinois: Greeted immediately by series of billboards reading 'TOM RAPER RV'S (stop)  Frightening (stop)  Wow (stop) That left arm is really getting very red (stop)

Wisconsin: Car refuses to start back up in Motel 6 parking lot (stop)  Falling asleep to the sound of bilingual baby-mama drama outside the door (stop)  In the morning we confirm the belief that all McDonalds nationwide are filled with elderly men before 9am (stop) Lindsey prevents me from turning left at a red light, only after I get stuck in the middle of the lane (stop)

Minnesota: We cross the Mississppi (stop)  For lunch: ramen noodles cooked on top of the car (stop)  

South Dakota: Farms and tourist attractions ONLY (stop)  No evidence of actual places to live (stop)  Corn Palace is not made entirely of corn (stop)  It is made of lies (stop)  Lies! (stop)  Michael Jackson is dead (stop)  It costs ten dollars to see Mount Rushmore (stop)  Car protests at ignition again but is coerced into cooperation by Lindsey's 'stern' voice (stop) 

Wyoming: Shrubberies (stop) More ramen (stop)

Montana: All exits no services (stop)  Stop at a gas station at the Crow Indian res and feel bad about life in general for a minute (stop)  See some elk (stop)  

Idaho: Steep and short (stop)

Washington: Hot and flat (stop) Discover the 'unflushable legend' at a gas station (stop)  OMG My brother is having a baby!!! (stop)  Hit the mountains and love the smell (stop) Arrive in Sumner around six pm (stop) Trip over (stop)

Seattle: saved for tomorrow (stop)





Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rules of blast-off.

It is 5:32am on a Wednesday morning at my parents house. Everyone else is asleep: said parents, over-medicated dogs, best friend. But people are going to wake up, things are going into my car, and away we go. Soon.

I feel slightly sick.

But otherwise, I'm fine! There are a trillion little things I feel I'm leavning undone, and I know that a solid half of them will not simply go away. I'll deal with them, but to quote Ben Iver the Great on his soul-seeking sojourn: "Today is Kumran. Everything that happens is from now on." The hard part, the tough plastic surface, is nearly over --the switching of bank accounts and state licenses, the cramming of things into my little car. The easy part --the highly anticipated, sweet, nougaty fun part-- begins now. And it begins with a little thing Lindsey and I liket to call The Manifest Destiny of Tom and Z.

MDTZ Rules of the Road, revised:
  1. We will stretch. Every morning. Every evening. Every 2 or 3 hours on the road.
  2. The passenger is responsible at all times for knowing the status of the right lane.
  3. We will play our music loudly. We shall not sing to excess, but we must tolerate one anothers' singing whenever 'the fever' hits.
  4. Any argument may not last longer than the song presently playing.
  5. We will be fashionable. Vacations are for comfort. Road trips are for making statements. We shall not suffer ourselves to wear sweatpants. We shall not, for frumpy t-shirts and sensible shoes, sacrifice our capacity to shine. We will look excessively awesome.
    - Amendment to MDTZ Rule #5: At no time shall Tom make fun of Z's attire.
  6. There is to be no bitching at the expense of the other party's delight.
  7. There is to be much "What's their favorite _________?". (Sorry folks, private joke.)
  8. We will not contact our significant others, mothers, and loved ones more than twice daily, individually.
  9. There will be no crisis or concern that cannot end in laughter.

And blast-off, people. Coming up: a giant building made entirely of corn, motels, many 89 cent burritos, possible bear-related perils, and lots and lots of Tom Petty. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Your love will be my rocket fuel.

Someone near n' dear said this to me recently: "We're just parts of people that we meet mostly. I like that. I like recognizing in myself the things I've picked up from other people. It creates a connection."

I like it, too. The way I tend to say certain words, cook my eggs, kiss, and even laugh. The slow death of my original accent, my eventual acceptance of skinny-jeans, hyper-femme-alertness, it's all you. All of you. Bubbly and loud, that's mom. Every time I click the high-beams, Lois, that's you. Anything remotely qualified as snuggling, it's Melissa. Evan is excitement...over anything. Steve is self-acceptance mingled with lazing, responsibility, and liquor. Stephanie, debates dissolving into giggles, and every single 'fuck' I let slip, I'll have you know. I owe Carey for child-like ferocity, and I owe a handful of middle-aged women for hope in things to come. Russell Brand is my spirit animal, Kristin, my peace and patience, and Lindsey, the unparalleled security and sobering knowledge that my every cell is numbered, known, accepted, and loved, if not understood.

So thank you. I love you. In great big neon letters, with explosions and flying doves and painted dancers, I love you.

FAQ #4, the fourth and final:

Q: When will you be taking off?
A: Next Thursday, I'll leave for Poca, WV, to see my family and wrap things up. And then, on the 24th, Lindsey and I will embark on the much anticipated "Manifest Destiny of Tom and Z", which will take us through Chicago, Minneapolis, Fargo, North Dakota, Montana, that skinny bit of Idaho, and finally, Seattle. Along the way: the world's largest horseshoe crab, Taco Bell, and much bitching from Lindsey about my tendency to drive like an old woman.

And if I haven't seen you yet, I will before I leave. Just remind me, please. Pre-Life-Transplant Time is a hectic, giddy, terrifying time, and I don't want it to stand in the way of any and all last-second hugs. It's important that I get those. This little ship won't make it far without them.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Room with a Cockeyed View, a'la Meatloaf's Disapproval

I am scooting along the edge of the precipice! Spending hours pacing, sorting, needlessly packing things into tidy little boxes. I wish these next three weeks were dust already. There is nothing to fill them but goodbyes, and I'm just no good with those. Got a delayed sense of sentiment and a blockage in my consequence detector, so I come off as insincere, but it'll come. It'll be a month, maybe two, before I'm balled up on the floor of my closet-sized apartment, blubbering over pictures and trying to rub scratched CDs back to life. It'll come, it'll pass. If I know one thing, it's myself.

My apartment? My apartment! Meet the Seward. As of July 1, I'll be the proud new tenant of Room 303. And if I lean far enough out the window and face the extreme left, I'll be able to see the Space Needle, city lights, and mountains!

And how will I fund my own 48o square foot habitat? Sounds like FAQ #3

Q: What are you going to do out there?

A: Lots of things. Principle among them: I am going to complete a book out there. That is number one on the list, my highest priority, the light at the end of my tunnel vision. All else is second banana. I want it. I want it in tactile print with a slick, shiny cover. I want advances and screenplays and yaoi fanfiction and rock star heights, and I will get it. I have to, because I can't imagine being content with anything else, knowing the way I feel now. So I'll get it. I'll do all the edits and groveling it takes. That thing Meatloaf wouldn't do for love? I would do that. I would eat green eggs and ham. I would push a little old lady down the stairs if I had to, to make this work. Fortunately, I don't climb a lot of stairs while googling around for agent preferences, so the little old ladies of the world need not beware.

Second, I'm going to enjoy myself. And Seattle looks like a mighty fine place to do just that.

Last and entirely least, I'll get a job. It'll be several months before Vessel earns me a single penny, and something has to sustain me until then. I'll make this part easy: NO MORE DESIGN. I'm keeping the business, and I'll take on projects as they come. But I'm burnt out, folks. And I'm not going to stare at Adobe programs all day and then stare at a blinking cursor all night, because that's what I'm doing now and it's not working. I just want to clock in, clock out, and get paid to do anything, anything else. I'll let you know when I figure out what that is.