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Wednesday, September 15, 2010  

Road Trip Day 11: Illinoise

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Trash and I have both noticed a sharp increase in the quality, vividness, and detail of our dreams on this trip. Maybe it's all the new sensory input, maybe it's just sleeping in strange beds, maybe the water south of the Mason-Dixon line is just drugged, but whatever the case I've got some great story ideas if I ever get back into writing fiction. Like the dream I had about going to visit a brilliant psychiatrist at a mental institution, only to discover he's not on the staff, but one of the patients! Wooo, booga booga!

We've been on the road eleven days, which is still no excuse for what happens next. We're in a hurry to get going; one of the nicest places we're staying at this whole trip is our destination for the night, and it's about six hours away so we're eager to get going. I pack the truck in a hurry, and am still carrying stuff down from the room when Trash and M. Edium pass me on their way out to the parking lot. I realize, oh, I'd better hurry, and make one last run up to the room to grab the last few things. We're on the road a few minutes later.

The route we'd normally take through Indianapolis is under construction, according to the DOT's website (this is the kind of thing we research the night before), so we take a more circuitous route. We stop at a gas station for a crap breakfast and head west, toward the Illinois state line. We plan to make a stop in Champagne-Urbana to visit Trash's grad school and then turn north to Starved Rock. After about two hours, M. Edium complains about the air conditioning being too high. He gets cooler back there, shaded by the roof and the tinted back windows, than we do. Trash turns around to deal with the situation. A moment later she turns back to me and says, under her breath, "Fuck!"

Trash had intended to spread M. Edium's blanket over his legs. Although this blanket looks like a full-sized comforter that Trash and I quit using on our beds, it is in fact one of M. Edium's most treasured possessions. It is a friend, and it has a name. And it is not in the back seat.

At the next exit, I pull off the freeway to check the truck bed. It's not there either. It can only be in Room 205 of the Holiday Inn in southern Indiana, two hours behind us.

"Fuck!" I agree.

We have two choices. We can turn around right now and head back to the hotel and retrieve the blanket. Or we can call the hotel and offer to pay to have them FedEx it to our house. You might think we have a third option, but you would be wrong, as you are about to see.

I park the truck in an empty parking lot, get out, and get the hotel desk clerk on the phone. She says yes, a housekeeper found it and some stuffed animals, we can ship it to you, we have your credit card number, no problem. It'll get home before you do. Thank you, happy to help.

Meanwhile, Trash is informing M. Edium of the situation, and before the sentence is even out of her mouth, he's wailing in grief -- no delay, no artifice, just a plea -- a demand -- that we turn around and go get it right now.

By the time I wrap up the phone call, Trash has calmed M. Edium down a bit, and even convinced him that it'll be better if his blanket is waiting for him at home, rather than adding four hours onto today's drive time. M. Edium, after all, has a limited tolerance for how long he can deal with being in the car for one day. Adding four hours would cause us to exceed that tolerance by about four hours.

He's still pretty pissed at both of us, but he manages to see that we've done what we can to remedy the situation. He even enjoys the little driving tour we take of Trash's alma mater. Certainly more so than Trash, who can't help noticing that almost every business in town she remembers is gone or closed down. The one familiar commercial landmark is the running robot in the window of the campus bookstore, but that's the campus bookstore and thus can't close down. Only…it has. Looks like both of them lost something today.

After we go through town and head north, Trash suggests that at the next rest stop, I should call the hotel and make sure everything is cool. It is at this point that things go from as-good-as-can-be-expected to worse-than-before.

posted by M. Giant 9:50 PM 0 comments


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