It’s my year, the year of Leigh. Well, it all started over 2 months ago really, that time when I was going to start blogging more, reading more, exercising more, drinking less, sleeping less, lazing less, but here I am. No one would deny that it seems like I have taken myself at my word in terms of life enjoyment. Social media weaves a story of leisure and adventure that is, more or less true. I left Bloomington the day after my 33rd birthday with a car packed to the gills with shit, except, of course, my wallet. I had emptied my room, leaving my remaining possessions on a pallet in a leaky basement: freedom is the willingness to let your shit get moldy.
I got about 15 hours down the road before sleeping along the highway in the lovely “town” of Kanorado and, after a day’s rest, found myself stranded and out of gas in a stretch of blackness halfway into Arizona. In addition to forever failing my parents expectations of me, these are the things that make traveling alone so lovely and serendipitous.
In a matter of moments a truck rolled up beside me and rolled down the window. “Outta gas?”
I climbed into the back of Monty’s F450 (or WTF ever), I started to collect the details of a long family history that starts with wayward nesting bees and a math teacher. By the time I am dropped back off at my car I have a fresh piece of banana bread from Mrs. Monty, an Odwalla and a free jug of gas. I’ve learned that the gas station attendant is taking some time off, and her husband is doing fine, that Monty has lived here his whole life and that his beautiful home comes from years of living with a family in a trailer. The next morning, I arise from the camping spot I’ve been so kindly guided to the night before and leave some local Indiana honey at the gas station where the new attendant tells me he’s known Monty his whole life and yes, of course he can get the note and honey to him.
A short ride to Mom and Dad’s and all is well…until the next day when I discover my completely drained the car battery. Ah, how much do I miss that look on Dad’s face? Don’t think I’ve seen it since he saw my first tattoo actually.
One more day and I land on the cliffs of the west coast with a drink in my hand and my father’s best friend singing the songs his past shenanigans. He is possibly my father’s precise opposite. I try to imagine this time, when his two best friends were encouraging him to ditch class and catch rattle snakes, but all I have are pictures of a man in military garb with a solemn face. It will be 3 more days until I see them interact and my mind becomes more imaginative.