Bent Words

Bent Words

January 15, 2007

Approaching 28 and still no idea what I’m doing. I’m a senior at a 4-year college majoring in communication/journalism with a minor in creative writing. I’ve decided against working for a newspaper and I’m not sure what kind of magazine writing I would be interested in. I’m considering applying to a 2-year college to take medical coding – an 18-credit course which promises more money than any career in writing would.

My schooling expenses continue to pile up.

Because of my lack of direction, I decided that I might as well be warm. The Boy and I headed south for a week taking a 24-hour roady to Lake Worth, FLA. Yes, I still call it FLA.

It was a most suck-tac-ular experience – driving straight down to FLA (especially after having a few cocktails at our local hangout in Milwaukee), switching off now and then and only receiving 3 hours of mangled sleep along the way. The occasional chugging semi and The Boy’s steering wheel drum solos were enough to ensure spotty repose at best. The two out of six gas station bathrooms that were actually clean put a damper on my spirits (and my regularity) and what’s so damned special about a Waffle House, anyway? I don’t eat grits. Grits don’t even have a taste. Glue has more appeal to me than grits. Grits are like a big loogie on your plate, made to confuse the northern state’s breakfast crowd. Grits are like a bad joke that nobody I know gets.

But I was too tired to relate all of my personal feelings about grits to our waitress at the Waffle House in Georgia.

The condo that my father and his two brothers own is ¾ of the way down after you cross the Florida border. That, too, is like grits – a cruel joke when you think you’ve got something and all you really have is more driving (or a plate full of gooey grits). We saw palm trees in Lake City but it would take 5 more hours of frantic speeding before we actually made it to our destination.

By that time, I was truly irate that the construction work on I-95 was STILL exactly where it was in progress this same time last year (completely un-f’ing finished). We couldn’t exit at the most logical point to get to the condo – we had the pure joy of driving around in a huge circle before hitting the gate to the pool. I was driving and I was tired and grubby and frustrated and in desperate need of a cocktail.

When our bags hit a spot on the floor about three feet away from the front door late Wednesday night (and never moved until we left the following Monday), I immediately changed into a pair of short, my sandals and t-shirt. It was like escaping hell and finding heaven tied to the front of a long stick – we were following the humid air beyond the kitchen’s sliding door with noses raised high and a beer in each hand.

Beer bottle sweat is such sweet bliss.

It’s easy to wake up in the mornings when the 75-degree sun is beating at your opened windows. I tossed off the SHEET from my side of the king-size bed and headed downstairs early Thursday morning. Made crappy coffee for The Boy and sat outside. I did nothing after that. I just sat outside and enjoyed the reading on the thermometer – glancing at it every other five minutes to see the temperature rise another degree. When I was finished doing nothing, I would run upstairs and stare at The Boy, willing him to wake up so we could get going to the pool.

Twice a day, everyday, we hit the 86 degree warm pool.

We went out to eat and watched our sweating glasses glisten with perspiration as we sat outside under swaying umbrellas. We worried over the whiteness of our skin, laughed at the regular set of crazy drivers and then went back to the pool, bloody marys, RBVs or beers in hand.

The Boy grilled while I wrote in the condo’s travel journal. We drove past the ocean, hit a surf shop and basked in the sun all day. The weather never faltered from 82 or 83 and sun until we had to begin our journey home. Northern FLA was at least 20 degrees cooler and shocking, to say the last.

We stayed the night at a hotel north of Atlanta where the room was cheap and full of flies, cigarette holes and dried urine on the toilet seat. Enchanting, mostly. The bathroom was the size of a normal refrigerator and the mirror had actually rusted since its placement in 1905. I carefully check the bed sheets for bugs. Happy to report none were present. Anymore, at least.

A hotel employee peaked in at me from a slit in the curtains the next morning and there was, conveniently, no one to complain to at the front desk during checkout.

I got sick and The Boy drove the majority of the way home.

Now we’re back and I have a school newspaper meeting on Thursday. Classes resume on Monday, work is still in limbo and, without the excuse of another vacation, I still have to worry about what I’m going to do next.

C’est la vi.

Written at 8:07 p.m.