“I feel like a tent that wants to be a kite, tugging at my stakes.” -Rich Thomas, A Three Dog Life
I can never hang around the house for too long. I get this nagging feeling that the world is just pulsing with potential life, waiting to be lived, and all I have to do is open my door and chase after it.
When the weather is pleasant (or at least tolerable), I’m always out on the trails hiking or biking- wandering and exploring any way that I can. When the weather is intolerable or it’s too late at night to be out gallivanting, I frequently go for drives. I apologize to the environment for the emissions, but I just love driving aimlessly. It’s so freeing to turn down random roads without a glance at the street signs- to wind through the city and eventually out into the countryside. One of the beauties of Columbia is the surrounding nothingness of tiny towns, ancient trees, and sprawling farm fields.
Cru was wonderful tonight, and the evening wrapped up nicely sharing drinks at the Artisan with Meredith, Becca, and David. Eventually, the Artisan was closing and David headed home. Becca and I sat in my room chatting, looking at pictures from our freshman year, reminiscing about our time as dorm roommates. After Meredith headed for bed, Becca and I decided to hit the road for a little adventuring. Neither of us have Friday classes, so we weren’t daunted by the notion of starting our adventure at 1 am.
I’m not sure exactly where we went- and that’s kind of the point. Geographic destination is irrelevant on an aimless drive. We started on Rangeline and eventually turned around somewhere outside of Harrisburg after winding and wandering all over. We were virtually alone, save for the sky full of stars, a deer, some horses, and a raccoon who owes his life to the fine performance of my brakes.
We talked about relationships, how hard it can be to understand other people, how life is always changing and unpredictable. We marveled at how the tiniest little seemingly random chance details end up changing our lives, and how we never realize our lives are changing as it is happening. We talked about a lot of things. Eventually, the conversation turned to food and we realized a simple fact: We needed McDonalds. Now, I hardly ever eat fast food, but sometimes you just gotta go for grease, and it would be one of the only places open.
With a newfound goal in mind, we set out to find our way back to Columbia. After a false start and a fair amount of travel in the wrong direction, we discovered that E becomes Stadium Blvd, and my tires eventually rolled onto an entirely deserted stretch of Hwy 63. Of course, we should have stayed on Stadium to get to McDonalds, but by 3:30 we were gleefully ordering a Happy Meal and a Number 2 through the drive-thru at Providence and Nifong. We sat in the parking lot outside Becca’s house munching away at our little slices of heart attack and chatted some more.
My car’s clock glowed 4:00 AM at me as I put it in park and crunched across the snow to unlock the door. I entered my silent house stealthily, trying not to disturb my slumbering roommates. A sliver of faint gold light peeked from under Natalie’s door, behind which there was a noise more like an old-fashioned typewriter than a computer keyboard. “Guess she’s still up. Wonder what she’s up to?” I slid into my own room, still restless and antsy. But soon the McDonald’s set in and time began to catch up with me. My eyelids are growing heavier as they watch these words appear at the beckoning of my fingertips. And so, at 4:40 AM, I’ve said all I will say for now.
“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” -Homer, The Odyssey