Here’s my latest real journal entry. (Real as in, on paper, about real things.)
I decided that my cross country drive is like a large coffee. It has three distinct stages.
The first part is when the coffee is piping hot. Not too hot, but perfect. It surprises your mouth with the bitter refreshment. Your first gulp is almost startled, unintentional. That’s the part where you’re first on the road. Sensory perceptions on overdrive. Every gas station sign, every car is a distraction. You take things in hurriedly, abruptly. Everything is fresh and new. Your heart jumps at the opportunities stretched in the miles ahead. I stood on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean this morning. Breathing deeply salt and sand mixed with pavement and cigarettes and the smell of a city. The sound of constructions mixed with God’s ocean’s rumbling. Virginia Beach. A place of oxymorons.
The middle of a coffee is lukewarm. It’s boring, no longer edgy. It’s still good, but you have to remind yourself to keep drinking. The tast is pleasant, yet a little on your nerves at theh same time. You remember and hold onto that first sip’s flavor but settle for what you have. The middle of a road is unexciting. The stimulants are fading. The excitement is still there, but everything is driven by the mileposts. 112 miles to Charleston; 104 miles . . . 97 . . . You want to be excited, but your back is sore, it’s raining, or your eyes are sore because the sun is in them. Or you’re thirsty. The middle of my trip is the Appalachians. One of the most breathtaking sights, and granted there were moments when I felt that. But I was mostly just driving. Enjoying 70 mph, yet contstantly watching for red and blue cop lights to overcome me. Just me and my car . . . the exhilaration of that, the loneliness, the cross-my-eyes-boredom. All of this rolled into one.
The last bit of coffee is nearly impossible to swallow. You’re sated, satisfied. you want to finish it, but the taste entirely fails to interest you. The flavor is boring. The last part of a trip is like this. Interminable. You don’t really care that you’re speeding. You’re only interested in the destination. You drive. Your eyes glaze over. You’re no longer a defensive driver. You just drive. I hit Kentucky in the dark and rain. I was exhausted. And for two hours I switched radio stations, focusing on the yellow line on the roadand praying for Lexington.
You know, there is that last gulp of coffee, though. The one that’s all sugar. The very end of a journey. You reach home. The smell of my dorm.