Sunday, April 25, 2010

On The Road

So tomorrow's Moth theme is "On The Road" and I am trying to give myself assignments and the Moth themes always seem interesting or challenging. I have so many road stories but I couldn't think of any that weren't your typical "tying to find yourself 20s" stories or ones that did not have ani difranco and dar williams as the soundtrack. but then as i thought some many came to mind. the truth is i have the ultimate road story-8 weeks in a toyota traveling around the country interviewing strangers with carmen. or how about the bus trip i took from san fernando to berkeley where i met mike and his brother dave who were driving from jersey (the first time mike and i dated)? or the road trip i took with my brother who had a mohawk at the time and as we sped through texas were pulled over and I accidentally handed the cop my brother's fake id? or the 24 hour trip to vegas where i took a packet of no dose to stay awake? the blizzard from maryland to new york in a soft cover jeep after a night of partying? the trip from la to santa barbara in tara's car where she forgot the face to her radio so we, relatively new friends, were forced to spend the entire trip getting to know each other? or the trip from LA to jersey with mike, my stuff all sealed in vacume bags including my temperpedic mattress-the one vacume bag with a debilitating leak? but if i think about the scariest or the one that captures my truest sense of adventure it might be my first visit to dc. my roommate at the time cashed a hot check, unbeknown to her, given to her by her boyfriend for a screenplay she wrote for him. when the bank informed her she owed them 7 grand and her boyfriend had stopped returning her calls, she went to the police. after turning down a date/plea bargain with the detective he informed her he should arrest her right now since there was a warrant for her arrest. she left the police station, got drunk (the only time i ever saw her drunk, perhaps one of the few times she drank) and came home to our NYU dorm. she told me the whole story and in our nineteen year old minds, we decide she needs to flee new york. so we call up our friend paul, who at this point, we didn't know just how rich he was, but had a clue. we knew he had a car in connecticut. so the three of us hop a train to a little town called greenwich. we get to the biggest and fanciest piece of property alma or i have ever seen. at this point, alma and i are both vegetarians and we walk into a room covered with heads from animals we have only ever seen in the zoo. we drink a beer, play a game of pool while paul's mother offers to make us buckwheat pancakes. alma and i both look at each other and at the same time mouth "what the fuck is buckwheat?" paul offers to show us around his house but refuses to let us see his room. he acts so strangely about it that we become very interested thinking there must be awkward high school prom pictures or some poster of a boy band. but paul's brother wants to show us the room. now here's where it gets murky. i don't remember us seeing the room that night, but weeks later when alma was back in connecticut, paul's brother showed her the room. alma, a black woman from the roughest part of dc, walked into paul's greenwich connecticut room to find it covered in white supremacist posters and graffiti. When Paul found alma he broke down and told her he was no longer this person and explained his angry youth in a most humble and humiliated way. but i digress... after our buckwheat pancakes we took paul's' pimped out cadillac escalade to DC. Since I was the only one with a valid drivers license I drove. As we were driving through the night, paul put in "eddie murphy raw," the first time i ever heard it, and we laughed the entire way...until i hit trenton, new jersey. being from california, i've never heard of a jug handle. so i find myself circling trenton in the middle of the night in a pimped out escalade with connecticut license plates and a nyc fugitive in the back seat. i finally try to make a left turn, something you can't do in jersey, and a cop pulls me over. i begin to sweat and imagine us all in handcuffs and who my only call will be to, but when i roll down the window the cop says, "you're not from around here." when i show him my california license and spill out some sob story the three of us conjured up about needing to get to DC for a sick grandmother, the cop lets us go, without asking for alma's or paul's id and even shows us how to get to DC. we hit the road again, feeling invincible! we bump ludacris's "roll out" and outkast's "the whole world." then we head into dc and the car goes quiet and paul and i know its time to turn down the music. as we cross Martin Luther King drive into Alma's hometown, she leans in and tells me, "Lindsey, anywhere in this country where there's a street named Martin Luther King, don't go there." we dropped alma off at her parent's apartment. her mom talked to the plants and her father had been gone for a couple days. alma, who i never saw cry once or even get too excited told me not to worry. she would figure it out. and by the looks of things, alma had already figured everything out. she had figured how to get herself out of the dc ghetto, out of her parents' home and pay her way through nyu. and here paul and i were dropping her right back in it because a boy had lied to her.  i knew alma would figure it out because she was a survivor, but my perception of the world got a little bit bigger that day. paul and i left alma sitting on a mattress on the floor in her home and got back into his car. we tried to listen to eddie murphy again, but neither one of us laughed.

1 comment:

Carmen said...

great story. how was it?!!!!