I was rather sad to have missed the redneck rodeo. My only question: were the rednecks riding or being rode? I’ve noticed that I’m more nervous and feel more vulnerable when traveling by myself, as opposed to when I’m traveling with the spud. I don’t know why that is – it’s not as if the spud will jump up and break out with the Tae Kwon Do if someone attacks us. Maybe it’s that if I’m concentrating on her, I’m not so worried about myself. Of course, after I made the observation to myself that I’m more nervous while traveling alone, I opened the Jeep door and scampered to a nearby receptacle to toss my breakfast trash, leaving the driver’s side door wide open. There could, in fact, be a serial killer in the back of my Jeep this very moment, snuggled up in the quilt I threw back there to cover the computer I’m hauling to Maine for Debbie. Of course, I didn’t look to make sure no one was back there, because I’m too lazy. Newspaper headline: Woman’s death due to own laziness. 55 miles before Bristol, on a corner across from the Citgo where I filled the gas tank and the McDonald’s where I got my egg mcmuffin, there’s a white cross with Jimmy Stubblefield’s name on it. I found myself absorbed with wondering how Jimmy Stubblefield had died. Was it a car accident? Was he driving drunk, or hit by a drunk driver? Did he turn left in front of an 18 wheeler? Was he walking home by the road, or perhaps hitchhiking and hit by a motorist who didn’t see him? It’s a very innocuous, innocent-looking corner, in front of a McDonald’s which could be anywhere. I wonder whose son, whose brother, whose husband he might have been. On A&E as I type this, there’s a show about Susan Smith. I remember how much I hated her when it happened, how angry I became thinking about a mother who thought the easiest way out of what she saw as her personal prison was to kill her child. Now I feel almost sorry for her. Okay, let me change the channel to MTV. I spent my first four hours of traveling this morning listening to Blood and Smoke, Stephen King’s book on cd, as read by Stephen King. Fred hates Stephen King’s voice, finds it absolutely loathsome. I, on the other hand, find it oddly soothing. Why is it that I only have to catch sight of a cop car to feel panicked? I was driving along at 5 miles per hour over the speed limit and caught sight of a cop car nestled in the grass by the side of the road like a cat stalking a rabbit, and immediately hit the brakes, hard. Could I look any guiltier? If I were a cop, I’d pull me over and toss the car for drugs and hooch. "Pardon me, ma’am (they’ve been calling me "ma’am" since I was 19), why exactly is it that you’ve got a computer, a laptop, a digital camera, and a big-ass box of fruit in the back of your vehicle?" For the first time ever in my life, I actually saw a blowout on the highway. I was driving along and suddenly a spray of tire pieces were flying in the air, and the guy in front of me (it was the guy in front of him who had the blowout) went swerving to the left, and I followed him. The guy whose tire blew pulled to the side of the road immediately with no problems, so I kept on going, without pulling over to make sure he was okay (he looked okay) or to see if he wanted a ride to the next exit or to use my cellphone. I felt guilty for not stopping, but not THAT guilty. I can’t always be the good guy, people! That was apparently a bad stretch of road, though, ’cause there were tire pieces for the next several miles from other blowouts. They’re advertising the "Wal-Mart Grille" alongside McDonald’s and Wendy’s on signs on the highway now. I find that rather amusing. Because I’m a dumbass, I guzzled down three very large caffeine-laden diet cokes this morning, and thus had to stop every 45 seconds (exaggeration) to pee. Signs seen on the highway: Speed limit enforced by aircraft. Are they going to shoot me down if I’m speeding? Route 666, Hogwash Road. It’s possible my eyes were playing tricks on me – I only saw it for a split second, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it said. Side by side: 81 North. 77 South. I’m curious as to how the exact same road can be both 81 North and 77 South. According to the compass in the Jeep, I was going East at the time. Jesus is coming soon. Y’all put your nice clothes on, he’ll be here soon! Warning: Pornography picketed here! I saw no picketers, else I would have stopped to take their picture. In fact, I saw no cars by the adult book store, and maybe three cars under the GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! sign. (Note to self: check it out on the way back through next week. It’s the exit after mile 25 in Pennsylvania) Slow down, my Daddy works here! (in faux childish handwriting before forty-five thousand miles of road construction) "Oh yeah? Why don’t you point him out to me, kid, so I can aim for him?" Popped into my head for no particular reason: Know what I’d love to see? I’d absolutely love it if, when a reporter asked the wife of a presidential nominee what her stand on abortion is, the wife turned, looked the reporter in the eye and said "That’s none of your fucking business." Yeah, I know, it’ll never happen. Tubby is the red-headed stepchild of our family. And where the hell did that saying come from, anyone? Why a red-headed stepchild and not a blond stepchild or brunette stepchild? How ’bout blue-eyed stepchild? Anyone? How do we really know that there’s no pain after death? Has anyone come back from the dead and said "Hey, guys, no pain! Come on over!" I find it ironic that while I’m driving down Virginia’s "Technology Corridor", the only thing I can get on my digital cellphone is "no network." Hey, I think I just saw Dawber from Coach driving a piece of shit blue truck down interstate 81 in Virginia. Hi Dawber! Dawber’s picking his nose. Why do people pick their nose while driving down the road in broad daylight? Hi! I can see you! For god’s sake, pull over to the McDonald’s and hide in the bathroom to pick your nose like everyone else does. Tumbleweeds is the movie that Anywhere But Here wanted to be. I am SO going to grow little bitty sunflowers next year. They’re so CUTE. I see by the previews for next week’s Sex and the City that Big is going to leave his wife. I sure as shit hope Carrie makes him SQUIRM. Note to self: Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania fucking sucks. I felt like I was in a boat on rough waters, hitting those small, choppy waves head-on. "I FUCKING hate FUCKING Pennsylvania. Does it EVER fucking do ANYTHING but FUCKING rain here?!" Check out my digs for tonight: hotel room All crappy hotel rooms look alike, don’t they? I normally require much more luxurious digs than these.]]>