"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 4, 2009

9/4/09: Boise, ID-Colliding Bullets

Chris had left Denver on Monday afternoon and I had heard little about his progress, other than sporadic Facebook updates. As we learned in Maryland in April, he and I choose to travel in different ways. While technically hitching, he prefers to take less traveled roads, drawing from his walk when people would often just randomly stop and offer rides. I was curious as to how this would work for him, especially in the barrenness of western Colorado and Wyoming.

When I learned that by Wednesday, he was already in eastern Idaho, I was both astounded and happy for him. Since the Iowa 80, he had felt all along that we would meet in Boise. Now that I was encamped at Lynette's, this suddenly became an impending reality rather than an abstract thought. I began knocking on the metaphorical doors on Thursday evening, asking Lynette if he could stay for a night if/when he made it. She needed to discuss it with Dave, but thought it would be fine. But, as we then went about our nightly routine of Rumrunner chats, we both put it out of mind. I didn't think it would become pressing before Friday. I was wrong.

An hour after they went to bed, I received a call from an odd Utah number. It was Chris. He was in Mountain Home riding with a trucker...and an hour from Boise. This put me in a moderate bind. It was my own fault for not addressing this with Dave personally, and I didn't feel I could leave Chris to just sleep behind a strip mall. There was room on the sectional couch where they had set me up, and since it was off the garage, he wouldn't actually set foot in the house until someone knew he was there. Plus, he wasn't a complete stranger. He had spent most of June at Shelly's, and both Ben and Brad had met him in Michigan. I debated waking up Lynette and Dave to clear things, but decided against it. Their mad schedule and obvious fatigue made sleep a valuable commodity. I'd guide Chris in by phone, put him in the X-Box room off the garage with me, and pray that on Friday no one was too upset.

The boys had no school Friday due to Labor Day,
so I was frantically trying to figure out how to explain Chris' midnight appearance. I had told the boys on Thursday that he was nearby, so when Brad unexpectedly walked in to say good morning, he wasn't taken by complete surprise. It was more of a reunion than a shock. Brad suggested that Chris shower immediately; Dave would be more understanding of another stranger if he didn't bring the smell of road with him!

Chris and I then settled in on the back porch and chatted while awaiting Dave or Lynette's return. I was feeling like a nervous teenager when Dave got home from picking his youngest kids up at the airport.
He was of course surprised to see another vagabond at his home, but after a stuttering explanation, I believe he took a measure of amusement in my pain as I feebly assured him that I was not trying to turn his home into Hotel Fogg! Dave then agreed, enthusiastically, that I was right NOT to wake them up, and all was well. He even offered Chris a place to stay if he needed one. Chris, however, had made arrangements to stay at a hotel that his friend managed, so Dave instead played taxi driver and dropped him off there for the night. I initially thought Chris and I would set off together the next morning, with visions of Portland dancing in our heads. But, he had an opportunity to meet up with his friend's father on Saturday afternoon, and I wanted to try spend at least another day, since everyone would be there. Sunday, we decided, would be the day we set off continuing west.

Friday evening was spent doing the new-usual: chatting while getting ripped on Dave's Rumrunners. Our conversations continued to get a bit more intimate, as Lynette and I shared more about our pasts.
I had at some point finally identified that familiar "smell." It was anger. I then began to approach what appeared to be its source, thus further understanding the semi-estrangement from her family while also feeling like a protective brother! Furthermore, the idea that I had indeed been "the lucky one" cemented in my mind. My life wasn't perfect, but no one's is, and I had dodged much larger-caliber emotional mortars. I was glad to see that we were forging a growing bond. We were alot alike, and as the weekend commenced, I could not imagine not having ever met her, but was still nagged by that frustrating question: Why so long? That question will burn in my belly for a long time.