As a small percentage of you may be aware, I was on vacation for the previous two weeks. I drove (using a not-even-close-to-direct route with as many side-trips and diversions as possible) to Glacier National Park in Montana. In 14 days, I:
Drove 6113 miles. In a rented vehicle. That's right, Budget Rent-a-Car. I said "Suck it."
Did not sleep indoors. And let's not talk about how much I bathed. It's best left unsaid.
Lost 5 of the 20 pounds I gained this semester while studying for exams.
Used the elderly to shield myself from curious grizzly bears. If your childhood Brookfield Zoo experiences are hazy, let me be emphatic: grizzly bears are fucking enormous. They look like minivans with fur. I am not ashamed of having diverted said bears' attention to old people.
Killed at least one animal from every phylum, including about 30% of the nation's insect population. To wit:
That bird had to go. Yeah, that bird died. I killed that bird.
Took several hundred pictures. The essence of some natural features can't be captured with a camera. Others can.
Not pictured: humanity
Passed through Manly, IA and Cooter, MO. And some small town in North Dakota with an enormous 10 Commandments tablet as a "welcome" sign. Ever notice how you only see that kind of stuff in the most depressing, decrepit, run-down backwaters in the country? Yeah, me too.
Became one with a colony of prarie dogs, earning their trust through an hour of careful approaching…..only to have some jackass woman come barging out of her Ford Expedition with a handful of Wonder Bread, whistling and yelling for them to "do tricks." Of course they all immediately disappeared. I wanted to stab her. Such desires usually fade, but in this case I find myself wishing I had done so more and more as time passes.
Received a speeding ticket on an Indian Reservation for going 34 in a 25. It was all I could do to refrain from saying "This is complete bullshit, but I guess we have it comin'."
Received a speeding ticket in Hutchinson, KS for 75 in a 65. Refrained from saying "Hell, I was doing 90 a minute ago. I slowed down to 75 because I was reading a guide book."
Drove across the entirety of 12 states and portions of 4 others. American politics make sense after doing so. America is not Chicago or the pretty college town in which you currently live. No, America is fat white women with black eyes, hundred-mile stretches of vacant land, the smell of Busch Beer wafting from ramshackle houses, towns with no library (but 3 Baptist churches and 5 bars), and mulleted retards driving pre-fuel injection Ford trucks.
All in all, I learned a few things about this land. It is beautiful and it is ugly. It is depressing and it is encouraging. It is rewarding and it is frustrating. Part of me finds America and its people deeply inspirational, yet that part must constantly fend off the desire to see a massive comet hit the Earth and end humanity as we know it. It's such a promising country. If only it were full of people who aren't proud of how stupid they are – people who aren't trying to replicate the foundational sociopolitical ideas of the Dark Ages.
In short, it's a great country as long as you don't have to talk to most of the people who live in it.