What a long, strange trip…

I cleaned my office today. I mean cleaned! I went through every file and purged. Because, really, who needs those meeting notes from March 2, 2003?

Since I moved here about a year and a half ago, you’d think the files wouldn’t be too bad. But you’d be wrong. My office was last on the packing list and I ended up packing them as is. Which, admittedly, is pretty good compared to a lot of people.

I don’t have Anal Retentive and Proud file folders for nothing.

But back to my story.

While I was going through old files, I came across an old atlas. It’s looking a little worse for the wear. A bunch of pages are not connected, the cover is long gone. But I remember this atlas. It’s the one I tracked my after college cross-country journey in. I traced the roads we followed. And yup. There it was.

Oh the memories. It was 1983. The bliss of heading out with a guy friend for a couple of months of exploration and adventure. We took turns driving my 1978 white Celica GT (with blue leather seats, I might add.) We turned each other on to new music. (It had a tape deck, after all!)

We chatted and planned.

And had a good old time.

Quick pitstop in Nashville for a root canal. Okay, this is a great story. I had a toothache in the smokey mountains. Not a little toothache. A big toothache.

A family friend had given me a list of people around the country that she knew. Sweet, huh? (If you’re reading this, Marcia, thanks!) Okay, so there was a sorority sister in Nashville. SCORE!

I called the house. Well, the next door neighbor answered. Turns out, they were on vacation but wait! Her husband is a dentist and he’d be happy to fit me in tomorrow.

I am not kidding.

So the next morning, in my smelly camping clothes, I went to a friend of a friend of a friend’s office and had a root canal. And he didn’t charge me a dime. (I guess I looked like I couldn’t afford it – which I couldn’t.) My mom was grateful (of course) and sent something. I can’t remember what. But this has always stuck in my mind of what community is. And mind you, this is long before social networking but I see some corollaries. Don’t you?

Okay, back to the trip.

Tooth healing and Rx in hand, we headed toward New Orleans. Still, life was grand. In fact, life was pretty great until close to Minnesota, which as you can see was after Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

By the time we reached our friend’s home in St. Cloud, we were pretty much hating each other. And by the time we hit Chicago? We were regularly in shouting matches. Even in public. Even at Uno’s.

I think that all that time in a 1978 Celica GT was just too…confining. Either that or his box score obsession, or my nagging about the speed limit, or the All-Star Game (tix were over MY budget) or a host of other things that it’s probably best if I just skip.

Needless to say, the 698 miles from downtown Chicago until the drop-off in Randallstown was quiet. Very quiet. And we didn’t talk for a year.

Truth be told, we’d talked enough that summer to last that year.

Crazy as it might sound, we’re great friends today and have been since we recovered from that trip. He and my husband are close. And we do business together.

So this is a long way around to get here, but I’m sharing and posting this map so I can remember that trip. I saw places I’d never seen, met people I’d never have met. It was an adventure of a lifetime. And fortunately, no friendships were permanently harmed in the making of these memories.

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