Sunday, January 09, 2011
Monument to October
When I learned, sometime in November, that I wouldn't be able to keep traveling, I was pretty much crushed. I'm not going to talk about it... there's nothing I could say that would do any justice to how I felt. But when I look back on what feels like the two lifetimes I already spent, in September and October, I realize that all the good memories are from October. I did many things in September, and it was all interesting, but they were just things I did. I camped by a field of sunflowers in Wyoming, I rounded a hill to find a herd of buffalo in the North Dakota wilderness, but these memories have no emotional component, no fondness attached to them. They simply happened. And yet everything from October is charged with fondness, down to the mundane minutes of doing laundry in the windowless little laundry room of an Idaho hotel.
I didn't completely appreciate how much my love for the land is really a love for my friends. All the places I love best are places I visited with good people. And it's not so much that doing laundry with Katie is enjoyable because we're such good friends, as that--and this is a fine distinction--she has become such a good friend because even doing laundry with her is enjoyable. And as I can't do that subject justice either, I'm going to stop talking about it, and present instead this monument I have to October.
Our first day on the road, I asked Katie to write down the name of every RV we saw. I can't remember why I wanted her to do this. I suppose I thought it would make an interesting anthropological study, or maybe I just wanted to give her something to do. I didn't know at that time whether the task I'd set would become annoying, or whether we might run out of names on the second day. What in fact happened is that it never got boring. We always had something to interest us on the road, and never found an end to the new names.
I have in front of me three notebook pages of RV brand and model names. So much a part of our daily life was writing these down that even after Katie left me, I could not stop looking at every RV I passed on the road, with that little flicker of excitement that it'd be something new. Something hilarious. I present now our list of RV names as a poem, because it might as well be. It is illustrated by a few photos I haven't yet shared. It is simultaneously boring and hysterical. When you read it, I invite you to imagine what these monsters look like. I invite you to imagine what their designers were thinking. I also invite you to imagine what kind of sick people Katie and I must be to be so fascinated by this for a whole month. This poem is about America and it is about us.
I also invite you to take a liking to the name that tickles you most, and leave a comment telling me which it is.
Poem of RV names of America
King of the Road
Ultra Super C
The end. Of the poem, and of my reminiscences of the trip. There are new adventures to write about as well as a change coming to the blog, but that will all have to wait until later this week.