four things i know for sure:
- keep your expectations low when buying diet coke at a remote outpost in far west texas. i’m in this little trading post with no civilization around for a hundred miles. an old guy sits behind the counter. he looks like he’s lived here his entire life. he may have been behind this counter his entire life. i like him. a Big City Woman comes charging in. do you have latte, she asks him. he looks at her with the sort of curiosity a javelina might give me as i strolled past. the counters are dusty; a no-longer used row of what would now be antique postal boxes sits in the corner. spam is a delicacy here, not an email annoyance. what does she not understand about this? do you have starbucks bottles, she follows up. he has NO idea what she’s talking about. she lowers her expectations. what about iced coffee? his eyes brighten. I could make a pot of coffee, he offers. she turns around and leaves. he looks sad. my turn. i ask him if he has a bag of ice. Yes! he exclaims. i buy my ice and a six-pack of diet coke made during the presidency of a clinton who didn’t have issues with private email. i sit in the car and contentedly pop the top on the first one. it tastes pretty damn great, in an antiquated sort of way. better than a latte. for sure.
- when the last thing you think at night is “i wonder if i should stick the rest of this beer outside rather than propping it up in the tent pocket where it has an 80 percent chance of spilling into mo’s incredibly expensive sleeping bag overnight,” the answer is YES. when driving through the border checkpoint reeking of beer with a mountain of camping stuff piled up in back and the guy with the dog asks if there’s anyone in the back of the car, the answer is NO.
- Never doubt uncle hal. i’m STILL feeling the ill effects of the weeklong mountain binge. I have religiously re-created the uncle hal plan and will resume tomorrow. tue-wed-thu friday off sat-sun monday off. repeat until mid-january. don’t be stupid and jackalope it up. i was showing progress. mustn’t give up. i really, really need something to go right. i may even buy one of those new-fangled gps watches. nah.
- if you’re driving around in the wilderness thinking about your ma and how much she would have loved to hear about your trip and just wishing she were there (yes, you’d even welcome that lee greenwood cd on the dirt road from hell), she’ll always figure out a way to let you know she is. because that’s what moms do. thanks, ma. sorry it wasn’t a dr pepper …