I'm out of the office until August 25, 2008. Earlier this week, at 3:39 on a cool morning, I got in my car, and started driving. I drove through Maryland. I drove through Virginia. I drove through Tennessee. I drove through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and finally ended up in Houston, Texas.
It is a MUTHA to get out of Virginia, but it's one of the most beautiful drives I've ever taken. Driving through the mountains really helps put things in perspective in seeing how truly insignificant we are. Once I hit southern Virginia, I found myself amazed by the number of black people I DIDN'T see. I went to a Walmart, and I was the only black person in the store. THE ONLY NEGRO IN AN ENTIRE WALMART. I remember being a kid and wondering, "How are we minorities? There are black people everywhere I go." But I was only going to New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houston and a few heavily negroidian areas in Missippi. I think black people are in maybe ten other cities and that's a wrap. When I saw two separate trucks full of Mennonites pull up, I knew it was time to get the hell out of there. Nothing against the Mennonites; but I was still trying to adjust to the fact that there were no black folks in Walmart. That was as different as I was ready to handle after eight hours on the road.
Between Virginia and Tennessee, there are 6,845, 293, 957 Cracker Barrels at various exits. I began to opine that they were operated by the minions of Beelzebub, and would have no part of it somewhere early on in Virginia. However, by the time I hit CB 6 billion, my resolve had worn thin. I wanted a sit-down meal, and I vowed to avoid typical fast food fare, so I finally pulled into a Cracker Barrel, only to discover that it's not run by minions at all; but the food was delicately sprinkled with crack. It wasn't soul food, but it definitely did the trick.
After lunch, I decided I would drive for another hour. By then, I anticipated being attacked by the 'itis, and I could take a nap at a rest stop. Every rest stop I encountered during my post-CB exodus from Tennessee was closed. I finally pulled into a Kmart parking lot in Alabama to get a few zzz's. But honestly, how much rest can you expect to get in a Kmart parking lot in Alabama. So I drove into the Alabama night, where there was NO lights. I have never in my life been so afraid of the moon. And let me tell you, we're missing out on a lot of stars in the city.
It was midnight, and I still hadn't made it to Baton Rouge where I intended to bunk for the night. After seriously considering falling asleep in the parking lot of a busy gas station (I just didn't think I had twenty more miles in me) I decided that grabbing a motel was a much more reasonable, not to mention safer option. So I bunked in Meridian, MS. The prostitutes there are friendly. That's gotta count for something. The next morning (after briefly stopping to say hi to my sister in Baton Rouge) I headed to Houston.
*sigh* What can I say about Houston, Texas? Everything and nothing. As much as I love to share, this one just kind of ain't anybody's business. But I can say that I've never been happier to let go of fear and live in the moment. I can also say that no matter how tough I like to believe that I am (and I drove from MD to TX, so I think it's fair for me to label myself "Tougher Than Leather), there exists a person that makes my insides feel like one of those molten chocolate desserts simply by hugging me. No clue what that means for tomorrow, next month - or even five minutes from now for that matter - but in this moment, I have yet to stop grinning.
Before I left Texas, I got to spend some time with the Creole Queen and her family. They have basically given me a time limit as to how much longer I am allowed to live in Maryland before I move to Texas. I love when people love me.
At this moment, I'm sitting in my sister's house (she's still in Baton Rouge) at her computer, still on a high from the last few days. I'm sure there are more stories to come. Stay tuned.