25 September 2011

Once More with Feeling

In a few days I'll be embarking on my first cross country driving trip, from San Francisco to New York. Twenty year old me would have been mighty disappointed that he had failed to make such a journey during his reign. Thirtysomething me is mostly concerned with amenities along the way. Mainly which diners I'll be able to eat sandwiches and drink coffee in.

There's been plenty of opportunities for me to drive cross country before this but I never jumped on any of them. I guess I was just waiting for the perfect situation. Apparently that perfect situation consists of driving in a dying car with no AC, no stereo system, and a friend who comes self-advertised as "not the greatest driver." The good news is that I hate driving long distances. Like going from San Diego to Los Angeles is about my max. The longest drive I've ever participated in was post-9/11, from Manhattan to Ann Arbor in one ten hour burst. Going 3000+ miles will probably take much longer.

The idea of this particular friend and I setting off across the country has raised some alarm in our social circle. "Wait, are you sure? Just you two? Seriously? But you guys got lost going to Napa." We tried to recruit a third person but who has the time nowadays to just set off across the country on a whim? Nobody, that's who. So basically this trip is going to be a misadventure. That's what I'm hoping anyway.

For example, my friend also wants to go camping in Zion. Neither of us know anything about camping. In a pinch I could probably zip/unzip things and tap out some vowels in Morse code but that's about it. I'm leaving my friend in charge of planning this particular excursion. I mean, I already volunteered to bring a flashlight.

Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty went cross country fueled by adrenaline and drugs. Leslie and I will be fueled by the Janet Jackson discography and fear of flying off the road. It should be exciting. In order to prevent total catastrophe, I'm going to tweet prolifically so people can keep track of our progress and possibly pinpoint our location for the authorities or the tow truck, whichever is needed first.

I have no idea when the term "bucket list" became so ubiquitous but I sort of hate it because not only was the movie terrible -- not that I've ever watched it -- but the term just sounds kind of stupid. A bucket list consists of things you want to do before you die right? Why not just say that? Anyway, since I'm possibly putting my life on the line with this drive, I'll allow myself the use of "bucket list" just once.

Driving cross country is one of the few things that's always been on my bucket list and after accomplishing this fancy feat, there won't be many more items left. Which means I've either achieved it all and can just wallow in my accomplishments, or more likely, I need to aspire to more.