"The world does not reward honesty and independence, it rewards obedience and service. It’s a world of concentrated power, and those who have power are not going to reward people who question that power."-Chomsky

"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management." -J.H. Kunstler

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."-Dylan

Friday, September 18, 2009

9/18/09: Port Townsend- "And... Scene"

Chris started his new temp-job at the coffee shop Friday, while Daniel and Wendy were both gone for the day. So, I was left alone with the computer and spent most of the day editing pictures, then scouring Craigslist's Rideshare, Amtrak, and Greyhound for destination ideas/prices. Laina let me know that the house-sitting job was a go, and with that I officially decided to return home since the heel still smarted, and there was no place beckoning anyhow.

This didn't sit well with me. I felt like I was quitting too soon after so much had happened in just the previous month. What was waiting for me along the Pacific Coast? What was I sacrificing? I thought back to similar times, such as San Francisco in June of '08 and Pocatello the following month where I had been tempted to cut things short. In both instances, I had reflected back and been VERY glad that I didn't. This was a bit different. Both of these examples had to do with money. This time, I was mentally tired and more significantly, preoccupied with something else. It reminded me a great deal of Omaha in July where I was overwhelmed and needed time to decompress. The house-sitting gig had come along at the perfect time to nudge me over decision's edge, and I began to wonder, aloud, if the heel pain was a sign of some kind, or even possibly psychosomatic! Every indicator pointed to a return to New Mexico, despite my ego's protests!

All that was left was, "When am I leaving?" An 11pm bus left Seattle that night and I had ample time to make it, but this would essentially return me to Billings and thru Denver...again! I couldn't stomach another bus ride from Denver to Santa Fe. If I was spending two days on a bus, I wanted to see something fresh. I found a different, albeit longer route that would take me back to Portland for a bit, then thru Sacramento, LA, all the way to San Diego before finally turning east via the extreme southern parts of Arizona and New Mexico. This appealed much more since I had never been to San Diego, yet this schedule departed at 1pm Saturday, meaning I would need to stay another night. However, this seemed to work. Wendie, Daniel, and Chris planned to cross the sound into Seattle the next morning, too. I could camp out another night, ride to the ferry with them early in the morning, then Chris and I could spend an hour or two futzing around Seattle until I checked in.

I detested the idea of spending my birthday on the bus, but I don't usually celebrate my birthday. Setting a goal to spend it on the coast would have been more of the exception than NOT celebrating it! I relayed my intentions to Laina, but decided to wait until I was aboard the ferry to Seattle to purchase the ticket. The plan seemed fail-safe, but depended on pretty precise timing as far as catching ferries and such. There was a bit of urgency however. I needed to meet with the home owners Monday night after my bus arrived on Monday afternoon. Missing this 1pm bus would cause a world of complications.

When Chris returned home, he had a fine idea. Since I was staying one last night then heading home, and since we had begun the western swing of this trip by stopping at a random drive-in in upstate New York, he thought it would be fitting to go see a Friday night double feature at the drive-in near Port Townsend. "Inglorious Basterds" and "District 9" were featured and it would also give Wendie and Daniel a night without Chris & Todd, which they would no-doubt appreciate. Late in the afternoon, we were off to Subway for my dinner, and on the way to the drive-in for some entertainment. But not without some Chris-induced comedy first.

He had originally suggested that we actually walk to the drive-in, saying it was just a few miles away but not remembering exactly where. In character, I didn't see the point of walking when we could use Wendie's car, but that's just Chris being Chris. However, his ambiguity about the drive-in's location set off warning bells in my head. I have been here before; Magellan Chris is NOT! I've learned to pay special attention when Chris is navigating anywhere, and he hates that I often point this out. Thankfully, it took longer at Subway than expected causing us to run late and making the car our only viable option. I say thankfully because, not only did Chris fail to remember exactly how to get there, it was 10-15 miles down the road! Of course, being the great friend that I am, I took great joy in this and even more at the sign once we arrived that read, "No Walk- Ins!" I'm really glad I craved that 12" Subway tuna sub, and may I suggest a battery powered GPS as Christopher Magellan's Christmas gift?

The movies were great, particularly "Inglorious Basterds," and the setting created very nice bookends for our westward odyssey that began just after Memorial Day in Springfield, Mass. This naturally put the two of us in a reflective mood. During intermission and on the ride home, I began to appreciate a bit more the grand scope of all that has happened since then. We got to reminiscing on how we had expected our "plans" (ha!) to look in February and particularly March. And, how little our expectations resembled the actual events! However, from a general overview we had done exactly what we said we would do. The East Coast, then Michigan to Seattle. My Adventure Ego didn't like the fact that I had taken 5-weeks off, and bused from Omaha to Santa Fe, but later on I realized that Leslie had dropped me off pretty much ON the Missouri River, in Sioux Falls, SD: nearly due north and on the same river as Omaha. I'm OK with that.

Through reminiscing over this 2009 Adventure, Chris and I began to look forward. We had both had a distinct "blind spot" after Seattle, and now after Seattle, it was as uncertain than ever! Portland's draw had proved accurate, but now there was... nothing. Nothing drawing me anywhere. I had done everything I had concretely set out to do. Even if I were to continue now, what would I be chasing? Accomplishment. If I continued on, I could tell myself and those reading the blog, "I slept on both oceans this year!" That's pure ego. On a subconscious level, I knew this and only later did I accept it fully. As we lie in the bivies chatting, I was still haunted by that persistent, nagging voice saying, "You can do more!" when in reality it was again time to sit down & shut the hell up. Just as it had been in July.