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Amy Attacks America

Hey, everybody! This will be a tremendously self-indulgent e-mail so do read at your own leisure/risk. Just to back everyone up here, I’ve been unemployed for 3 weeks now (got fired/quit- painful story involving an evil 62-year-old social worker as the villain and me, of course, as the heroine). After spending 2 and a half weeks engaging in debauchery (or as much as I could find), I’ve decided to take to the road with little cash (actually, all credit) and be adventurous and ballsy and all that good stuff. I knew it was a good idea because it satisfied, at least, one of the three tiers to a “good” experience (so eloquently pointed out in a voicemail from Scotty Farlinger). It may not be good for me nor entertaining but it ‘s entertaining to others, hence, this. Read on.

On the road at 5am, Tuesday, Feb 21 driving south on Pembina, everything is peachy-poo. I come across the odd congregation of rabbits on the side of the road which is wierd but I don’t hit any of them so life is good. Upon getting to the border, I automatically feel like I’ve done something wrong because I’m pretty sure the border guards are trained to make people feel that way (they must have spent some time with my mother). They ask me where I’m going and what I’m doing (yeah, they DEFINITELY spent some time with my mother), blah, blah, blah. They ask me what sex the person I’m staying with is. Not seeing any relevance to this, I tell them “male” and they look at me suspiciously almost certain, due to my unemployed status, I’ve gone there to work illegally and/or look into some convenient green card marriage action. They ask me to pull over so they can search my car. Twenty minutes later they’re still searching- what the hell is going on?? I told them I’m not looking for work there (as suggested by Sara) and just going for fun- what’s the deal??? They come in asking me again what I do. With an edge of humor, I say “Nothing.” They didn’t find this funny. They then asked, “And you’re not looking for work down here?” “No, sir, just for fun.” “Then why do you have copies of your resume and a suit in the trunk?” gulp I told him the whole thing was just a lark (not sure he’d know what that meant because he’s American) and then flashed him the cutest smile I could muster at 8 in the morning and he finally let me go. Phew.

Back on the road- North Dakota is North Dakota and Minnesota is…. I allow my bladder to dictate my gas stops. Stop right before Fargo, stop right before Minneapolis. I’m making good time- you’re allowed to go a lot freakin’ faster in the States although my numbers for miles on my odometer (right word?) are so small, I’m kind of winging the non-speeding thing. Nothing has intimidated me yet and this, being as neurotic as I am, makes me VERY nervous. I hit Wisconsin- what a wierd state. It seems so serene and picturesque and obsessed with cheese but it’s got the most anal road signs: “Emergency stopping on shoulder only”, “Hill” (like you couldn’t figure it out), and “Bump”. I stop at Shitsplat ,Wisconsin and the truck stop is something out of the Ozarks (Sara, I knew you’d appreciate that reference). No one is talking to each other, just grunting. I got the hell outta there as soon as I could.

Back in the car- Incidentally, I’m listening to one of those book tapes and have the made the mistake of putting in a tape called “Mind Mapping- How To Release the Genius Within” or something (NO comments from the peanut gallery). I listened to the whole tape annoyed because it kept toting itself as revolutionary and life-changing but all it was telling you was to brainstorm and make pretty lists before you do anything of importance. Suffice it to say, this portion of the drive through Wisconsin was very long. Life got much happier after I stuck in my Woody Allen biography book tape and hit Milwaukee.

A situation I never really thought I’d be in- rush hour in Milwaukee on Tuesday evening. Little bit nuts- marginally worse than the Minneapolis freeway. I DESPERATELY wanted to pull over and look for the “Laverne and Shirley” house but my responsible, adult side (yes, I DO have one) coaxed me to keep going so I would get to Cleveland as soon as possible.

Something disturbing- between Milwaukee and Ohio, I lost recollection of the journey. Either I was that bored, that I became a conscious sort of comatose (a state I think boys go into when they drive enabling them to drive ridiculously long distances- I like to call the term CSOC)or I was indeed asleep- hopefully the former. I certainly did pep up when I saw “Toll Road 1 mile” before hitting Ohio. I wasn’t able to get any cash my last pee/gas stop because the network was down so I didn’t have an American red cent on me. Uh-oh- I was coming to the Ohio border with not even 75cents for the toll. I had a feeling the toll worker and all the semi-drivers behind me were NOT going to be happy. They weren’t.

“What the fuck is going on??” is what I heard from the semi driver behind me when I was stopped at the toll explaining to the craggy old man that I had no money. It was mortifying but in a hysterically funny way. People were yelling and honking and I think one person even yelled, “Where the fuck you from, bitch?!” Anyway, the toll dude, swearing under his breath, shaking his head the whole time and literally cursing Canada like I represented the whole country, wrote down my license number on a pink envelope and patronizingly told me to mail 75cents when I get a hold of some money. I flashed that smile again- which softened him a bit and again, got the hell out of Dodge. Oopsie!!!

Chicago, here I come! I put on Moby’s “Play” and entered the Chicago freeway like a video game- a video game that lasted at least an hour. People go, on average, 150, there and everyone drives like it’s the Indy 500. The freeway takes you right through downtown and, with my penchant for huge cities, the Chicago skyline almost made me cry it was so beautiful. It was wierd to think that me and my car were in Winnipeg early that morning and now me and my car were driving past the Sears Tower at night. I thought that was a huge rush. I would recommend having that feeling to anyone.

What was very cool was seeing that first sign: Cleveland 154 And that’s just day one…. Read on and find out what happens when she reaches Mexico: will she let her [1]puppies free?

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