That's Something You Don't See Every Day, Chauncey

Watch me pull a rabbit outta my hat!

Gone Walkabout, Day Six: In Which Precious Little Actually Happens

Posted by kozemp on December 16, 2009

Once I had made the plans to head back home through Chicago, I always knew that this was going to be an easy day. Chicago to Cleveland is only 350 miles, and when you’ve routinely been clocking 450-500 miles a day a quick little 5-hour shot like that is chump change.

So, then, the very few interesting things that happened on the road yesterday were:

– I mentioned that my uncle lives off of US30 in Indiana. He does, out near Valparaiso, but from there he commutes to Chicago. After making that drive in the outbound direction yesterday morning I do not envy him his morning commute of 40 miles into the frankly baffling Chicago interstate system. My GPS spoke more in the first half hour trying to get out of Chicago (“keep right,” “keep left,” “bear right,” etc) than it did on any entire day the  rest of the trip. The Byzantine system of highway interchanges would test even the toughest driver, but to do it in rush hour traffic twice a day, great gods. The man is made of sterner stuff than I, though inasmuch as he hunts spies for a living that was sort of a given anyway.

– Since my driving day was reasonably short, I made the one and only sightseeing stop of the entire trip when I went to the University of Notre Dame. It was 35 degrees and pouring when I was there, so I didn’t really get to DO anything other than drive around and look at how pretty everything was, but suffice it to say I have now seen yet another college campus that assures me that I was utterly, totally robbed at LaSalle (on the campus front). Notre Dame isn’t THE nicest campus I’ve ever seen – that’s still, and likely always will be, UCLA – but I’d wager it’s probably #2 on the list, even in a depressing December rain.

– On a related note, deserted college campuses are kinda creepy. Even the nice ones. Anyplace that is SUPPOSED to have lots of people in it is always weird and uncomfortable when there aren’t people, and being dark and rainy in the middle of the day does not alleviate that weirdness any. (And, before you ask, I never loved rehearsing in empty theatres, either.)

– The drive across Indiana and Ohio on I-80 is only slightly less boring than the same stretch on I-70, and only there by virtue of the fact that things resembling civilization occur a little more frequently along the way.

– This does assume that we include Toledo in our definition of “civilization,” which I am frankly not 100% sold on.

– Important safety tip #3: If you find yourself driving cross-country on a Midwestern interstate on a dark, rainy, and otherwise unpleasant day, and you find yourself at a point in your life where you have a thing for someone, and your iPod serves up “Tunnel of Love,” unplug your iPod from whatever is broadcasting it to your stereo and throw it out your car window. You may want to increase your speed a little before you do this so that you guarantee it will shatter into unrecoverable pieces when it hits the ground.

You must throw it out the window because if this confluence of circumstances takes place it means that not only has your iPod inadvertently gained sentience a la Wintermute, it has also become manipulative and psychotic like Wintermute and it knows that the combination of a seemingly-unending Midwestern winter and a 45-minute folk opera about the birth and death of a marriage will convince you that the pursuit of relationships is an inherently and absolutely doomed endeavor.

– Actually, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, if you are on a long drive with your iPod set to album shuffle you should probably avoid Bruce altogether. Song shuffle, fine, go for it, but when you listen to entire albums straight through… suffice it to say that no matter how bright things seem at the start, Springsteen albums never end happily.

Tomorrow: the story of the final push home (and oh boy do things happen).



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: