Travel Log 191025 (Redacted Version)

Start: Parked on a public street outside Walmart, West Houston, TX 

End: Parked on the corner of Marias & Governor Nicholls St, in the Tremé district of New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Exciting Events: 

  • Went to a vampire masquerade party, last minute, on a whim. 
    • Carried a mermaid, because it was having trouble traveling on its own (the feet-together tail-hop was ineffective). 

  • [Redacted]
    • [Redacted]
  • [Redacted], Smidge used her pee pad! Yay! No pee on my bed! 

Real Realizations: 

  • Partiers go [redacted] HARD here. 
  • People in New Orleans put serious effort into their costumes. 

Quotent Quotables: 

  • “It is moister than an oyster.” – partygoer, on the copious amounts of rain. 

Commonplace occurrences:

  • Worked for two hours. [Redacted]. Yay! 
  • Phone calls with lotsa friends.
  • Watched the first four episodes of the final season of Bojack Horseman. 
  • Floofed Smidge in delight. 

Delicious Delectables: 

  • A brisket-stuffed burger. Yum! 
    • The Louisianan cashier asked where I was from. I told him to guess. He guessed Australia. 
  • A [redacted] 4am slice of cheese pizza. SO GOOD. 

[Redacted]


Alluring Activities: 

  • Crazy New Orleans happenings! 
  • Letter to [redacted]. 
  • Outline to the [redacted] guys. 

New Orleans Would Agree If It Ever Came Home

On a cold Sunday night with my van heater blasting and a bit of white wine still seeping from my blood, I don’t feel misplaced. Not in the wrong place. Just alone, lonely, sad, and wanting. Maybe that’s this place.

The thing about travel? They don’t tell you it’s lonely. “An adventure of excitement and eye-opening growth.”

Yes, that’s travel. But it’s lonely, too.

It’s me and my dog, one month in our roadtrip. Atlanta, then Texas, now in New Orleans. Friends—some great friends—we met along the way. Yet still it’s just us— me and my dog.

Last night, out til 5, surrounded by parties, I made two new friends that I’m now gonna see. Interesting people with lives and opinions. Better than that, unique, fun, funny, too.

But now, when it’s late, and my sleep schedule’s fucked, I see why someone would get drunk again. Then it’s tomorrow. Who knows what could happen? Who wouldn’t have fun at a New Orleans club?

That’s not a solution. That’s open containers. Vessels transporting liquid from one place to place. People vibrating where they stand, moving forward only in time. Bleary, wide-eyed blobs drink to replace their cold sweat.

Why has this city not changed since Katrina? Why did my cabbie say there’s really no dif?

If you spend your life dancing, you’ve nothing to celebrate. That’s what this is: just an empty, wet kiss. But not one from your grandma or a dog or a lover. Just tongue from someone who, right now, like you, feels alone. Together will be great for the time that it’s lasting, but morning will come and you’ll have to go home.

My Dog Gets Catcalled

“Little boy or little girl?” yelled the toothless man from his garage across the street.

“She’s a little girl,” I hollered back. It’s 9:30am on a Thursday as I walk Smidge, my 5lb chihuahua.

“Well, I got a little boy about the same size. Does she wanna be a momma?”

“I don’t think she can.”

“Well, thought I might give it a try.”

My thoughts, in retrospect: 

  • What?
  • What?!
  • WHAT?!?!

If I die Monday, may my tombstone read,“Died doing what he loves.”

On Monday I go in for Jaw Surgery. If I die, I want my tombstone to read, “Died doing what he loves.[1]

I’ve never seen a footnote on a tombstone. Nor ellipses. I’m updating the medium. The joke makes it more palatable.

I joke because I’m afraid. I’m afraid because it’s frightening. I’ve never been closer to death than I will be on Monday.

I’ve always mused on death. I wrote my first auto-obituary at 13. The same way some people use the largesse of space to decrease their anxiety; I use death to accept depression. When I wake up late enough that I feel grumpy, the phrase “death and taxes” echoes in my mind. It reminds me of two crucial elements – timeliness and humor. One makes today matter and the other makes life worth living.

I’m spending tomorrow and Sunday advising a local high school youth group, and Saturday with my dad. If I die, let it be known I went out doing what I loved.

 

[1] Self improvement.

Okay, cocaine.

A Mattress.

For three months, You’ve driven around with a twin-sized mattress, originally acquired as a gift from a friend. You thought you might use it in your #VanLife #Van. After a week’s trial, however, you elect to use your previous queen-sized foam squishies instead. What to do with this large nuisance?

Option 1: Give it away.

  • You posted on facebook–one nibble but no bites.

Option 2: Donate it.

  • Goodwill doesn’t take mattresses. They’ll accept it for disposal, however… if you pay them $20.

Option 3: Discard it.

  • You can’t just put it in a dumpster. Grrrrrr.

Option 4: Ask that homeless man steering his bicycle up the hill, “Hey – would you like a twin-sized mattress?”

  • “Yeah!” he’ll say, and a huge weight will lift as you drive up to the gate of the forest where he lives.
  • His name is Pete. He has rough hands and a nice smile. You feel giddy that you made him smile.
  • You park your van on the street near his place.
  • As the rain begins to plink, you feel a kinship with the misfit.

Then I guess you won’t be pulling the plug? 

As my sister drives to Reno, I explain to her and my mother that I don’t want to be resuscitated. Nor ventilated. Nor any other life-preserving “–ated” with a low forecasted-quality-of-life.

They reject my request, which Mom communicates by saying, “I didn’t hear you…” as though pretending not to hear it will avoid it happening. I hadn’t expected that response.

Why would I rather have my plug pulled?

  1. Low quality of life for those in such a state?
  2. Comfort with the idea of death?
  3. Existence as a societal detriment?

The first and second seem unlikely: In most cases, humans adjust to our circumstances, and comfort with the idea still doesn’t make it desirable. The third seems reasonable, but assumes a low likelihood on me becoming a high-positive force again.

Perhaps the gruesome images of end-of-life patients that I saw earlier today impacted me. Perhaps in a soberer state, I’d rather live as long as possible in case medical science improves sufficiently to salvage me. If I prioritize my life, this seems the most reasonable conclusion.

In any case, my sister feels uncomfortable talking about these plans, but they’re valuable plans to have.

I was trying to prioritize them. I’ve heard tell of family members being in difficult situations because they didn’t know the patient’s wishes. A large part of this explanation was to spare them that difficulty, but they’d apparently rather have that situation than this conversation. And I don’t actually care enough to press the issue or put a legal solution in place. In case it ever comes up, whatever they choose is fine by me.

We did, however, agree on one thing: after we’re dead, dispose of us in the cheapest way possible. Now, I’d also like to add: dispose of me in a funny way. I’d like to go out doing what I love.