I’M HOME. IN PORTLAND. I never want to leave (the pacific northwest) again. I never want to go anywhere, ever again. I never want to breathe someone else’s second-hand cigarette smoke and have to hold my pee so they can make better time across some empty desert again. And that, my friends, is how you feel after you set out to ride freight trains, realize it’s winter and also that you don’t want to go to jail in Arizona (where you have a bench warrant) (like last time) and so you hitch-hike across the country by yourself in order to get home (it makes sense at the time), even though you like to tell yourself that you don’t hardly every hitch-hike alone, because it’s dangerous.
And it turns out it’s not dangerous. People, after all, are not dangerous. People are just people. And admitting that, they can be many things- irritating, inspiring, racist, inappropriate, bored, awkward. And sure, they can be dangerous. But so can driving a car. Or eating french fries. If anything, more than ever, I’m not, and never will be, afraid of other human beings.
I just got into town, it’s late. The final leg of my random-stranger relay-race was facilitated by a nice japanese man in the most expensive car I have ever ridden in, from central oregon all the way home. This man had a boring job which required him to travel all over the world, but, maddeningly, only to the airports and hotels. This man accelerated very quickly, in his low soundless car. There was GPS built into the dash and in the GPS sky, there were GPS stars. Beside a GPS highway flowed a GPS river. As we got closer to town a GPS cityscape broke the splattering of GPS stars, brightening the GPS sky with simulated GPS light pollution. He dropped me off at the MAX (lightrail) station and in my excitement I got on the MAX going the wrong way, and had to get out at the airport (end of the line!) and get back on the train going the other way. I called Paula. She and Madeline (Madeline’s in town! !) were at a kareoke bar- could I make it? I got to my friends’ house and threw my pack down in the spare room and realized that no, I could not. I was exhausted. Not as exhausted as I might be, thanks to the zen-travelling skills I’ve been cultivating for the last two months. But pretty damn exhausted.
And with this I say goodnight. I can’t wait to tell you all about my trip. But first- sleep.