I woke up the other day with the total intention of driving north. That’s what made sense, to go where the money is, if not good, at least consistent. But Helga didn’t want to go north. She wanted to go west. I stood in the sand and spun in circles until I got dizzy and fell down giggling, facing west. Life is so ridiculously beautiful sometimes. I was still going to do the practical thing and drive north, though. Bro and I climbed into the van, battened down the water jars and other potential flying objects, and took off. Just one last time, I stopped in a hotel parking lot to check my email and mapquest it to the club I wanted to work at that night. Seven hours. No way I would be there in time…
There was an email from someone in Utah, extolling the many virtues of her city. Cheap but good student massages and a cool cafe that feeds the world. So I went to Utah. On the way I pulled over and emailed and called everyone I could think of in Utah, which wasn’t many. I had a massage that was excellent even if it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, and I met a group of random strippers and van dwellers for dinner.
I’m learning to love random groups of strippers and van dwellers. I think sex workers, van dwellers, and gamblers have a lot in common. So we ate multi-fish gruel and quinoa salad, and a random psychotic guy joined us. First he walked up to this very cool van dwelling woman, who had printed me out all these google maps of good places to night park in the city, and he said hi. She said hi back, and he just became absorbed in our group. At first I thought he was pushing boundaries on purpose, but then he started talking to people who weren’t there, and I’m totally cool with that. I’ll take psychosis over creepiness any day. And how awesome is it that people in this city have no boundaries and just absorb crazy people, right? But when we sat back down he pulled up a chair and sat six inches from a hot strippers chest. She leaned away, uncomfortably, and I started to see that it wasn’t so awesome that people didn’t have boundaries.
I leaned forward and smiled, asked his name.
â€œOh, I’m Mike,â€ he said.
â€œMike, we’ve been enjoying your company, but we’re having some girl’s only time now and we’d like you to leave us alone.â€
â€œOh.â€ He zero’d in on the stripper next to him again. â€œDo you work at the nude club?â€
â€œDo you work at the club down the street?â€
â€œNo.â€ She was making her voice all cold and looking away from him, but of course if you keep answering he’ll keep answering.
â€œMike,â€ a woman called from inside the cafe. â€œCome over here with me.â€
Mike scratched his head and looked up at us. â€œI like strippers.â€ It was cute, like we were puppies, and I wanted to laugh, but I didn’t.
â€œMike,â€ I stared at him, â€œplease leave now.
The woman came down from the cafe and told him that we’d enjoyed his company and now we’d asked him to leave and he had to leave. After she repeated herself a few times he got up and left.
â€œWow, Tara, do crazy people always follow you around?â€ someone asked.
It was such a fitting way to pass through that city.
By the time we were done eating I figured it made sense to keep going west, instead of driving north, so I did.
Today I woke up and kept driving west. At first I was driving through pretty sparkling white sands, and then all of a sudden it was the ocean, with waves lapping at the freeway and telephone poles sticking up out of the water. I swear I wasn’t hallucinating. I have photographic evidence. Soon the water was gone and the sand was brown, and then suddenly there was dirt everywhere, the air was brown, I could barely breath and I couldn’t see the road in front of me. I slowed to an almost stop and turned the lights on, hoping no one would run into me. Thud! Something hit the side of the van, and scraped up it, materializing as a little tree as it passed the window.
Just then my phone rang. â€œKatie!â€ I answered it, â€œI’ve fallen into a faerie tale!â€
Instead of making it to the local club in time to work I folded laundry, sung songs, cleaned up the van, tried to sew t-shirts into a dress, and played with Bro. When I got hungry I found the towns little play ground/park with picnic tables and pulled out the stove, pressure cooker, and food. I made a yummy curry with lamb, onion, garlic, carrot, flax seeds, ginger, and curry powder.
I talked to Darcy while I cooked, and she explained the different types of omega 3’s, and how only eight percent of the omega 3’s in flax seeds were converted to a usable form of omega 3 by the body. Every time I talk to her I learn so much.
Curry lamb is so yummy. It got dark while I was eating, and the wind kept blowing leaves and tumbleweeds into my face, and it was so beautiful and I missed Alaska so much. After I packed up the stove I brought an armload of stuff back to the van, and on my way back for a second the sprinklers came on! I ran and saved stuff as quickly as I could, getting soaked in laughter and mystery.
And â€“ have I told you guys lately how awesome pressure cookers are? – I went to the gas station and got two little cups of ice, that I set inside the pressure cooker, turning it into a cooler so that the left over lamb will still be good in the morning.
I am so glad that I’ve given up on logic and gone back to living my own faery tale.