I’ve become pretty good at being a solo traveller.
I drive all day and arrive at my hotel just as the sun is setting.
The room has two queen beds; one bed remains made and proficient, with the dirty quilt still covering the pillows like Kanye compliments cover Beyonce. The other bed, the one closest to the door and the bathroom, becomes my kitchen table, my desk, and my bed.
I sit up with my computer in my lap and a baseball game on in the background and eat a sandwich. I scan Facebook, thinking sudden inspiration will strike me and I’ll write something comparable to The Iliad in a night. Eventually I give up, turn off the bedside lamp, and watch my obligatory episode of The Office before falling asleep to the moderate lullaby of the AC unit and the drunk guests in the hall.
The next morning I wake up, eat an apple, and watch husbands staring transfixed at the news lady as their kids run around playing with matches and used needles. I grab a cup of decaf coffee, check out of my room, and leave my two queens for the next solo traveller.
I hit the road in a car with my life in it (exactly one suitcase and trash bag of clothes and eight boxes of books). I feel like an explorer of old for the first five minutes, slaloming between semis and slow Priuses, making my way into new and unknown territory with my GPS as my Sacagawea, hoping I won’t end up dead or captured by locals. After the first five minutes I grow bored. Then, after another hour of listening to a David McCullough audiobook, I grow even more bored and start thinking about life and love and the pursuit of both; coming conspicuously close to that lady in the short story about the wallpaper who slowly goes crazy.
But I sit and I think about how excited I am to no longer move my life to a new place every six months. I think about how I’m excited to linger, to sit on my front porch and wave at my neighbors, even the one who mows his lawn at seven in the morning.
I’m excited to have friends who don’t have invisible expiration dates attached to their foreheads. For the past four years it was May, 2015. That date loomed in the back of my mind like sand castles during low-tide, knowing the high-tide would soon destroy them. Graduation was the natural disaster that flung my friends around the country and the world. It was my high-tide of erosion.
So yes, I’m excited to have friends that linger with me in coffee shops and ask me how my day was and eat dinner with me and join Parks and Rec softball leagues with me. I know life moves people, but I’m excited to see if it could possibly move them a little slower. Just let me enjoy them a little bit longer; linger with them as the sun sets, knowing I can still linger with them at the next sunrise.
I drive and I think and think and think until I have to pee, my bladder waking me up from my reverie. It always lingers with me. Thank you, friendly Bladder.