It is 2 a.m. and I am clutching a heaving labradoodle’s mouth shut on the side of a mountain somewhere in Tennessee.
We are halfway to Washington D.C. and my dog picks the most dangerous part of the trip to get car sick.
Ingrid quickly vomits over the dashboard and gear shift, so I put my hazard lights on and pull over. Semi-trucks zoom by as I use leftover Starbucks napkins to clean the car. Ingrid stares at the dark forest behind me, where some serial killer or black bear is surely lurking.
About 30 minutes later, I pull into an isolated gas station to refuel and buy proper cleaning supplies for the vomit. A young clerk with a neck tattoo is pretending to sweep in front of the gas station convenience store while eying a car parked nearby. A couple is sitting in the front of the car, having a full-blown screaming match with the windows down. It’s about 3 a.m.
The woman apparently breaks up with the man and gets out of the car while screaming uncharitable things about the man’s mother. He then peels out of the gas station lot without her.
She sits on the ground in front of the station and lights a cigarette.
Inside the convenience store, the clerk helps me search for wet wipes. Apparently they don’t sell any.
Our search is interrupted by a pair of new customers who enter the store. The man is a tall blonde with a pockmarked face and very few teeth. His clothes are dirty and his shirt is full of holes. The woman is large and squat with wild curly blonde hair. Her clothes are filthy and she isn’t wearing shoes.
She barks at the clerk about cigarette specials.
I quickly pay and exit.
I finish refueling and I am almost done cleaning up the dog vomit when the cops arrive. The clerk pretends to sweep outside of the store again while watching an officer quiz the newly-single woman who was abandoned in front of the gas station. She’s explaining to the cop that she doesn’t have any drugs as I get in my car and continue driving to D.C.
Our trip to Washington D.C. started the previous day in Dallas. We got up early on Saturday morning, crammed our cars, and threw out everything else that wouldnt fit.
Several people from our apartment complex hauled away our discarded belongings almost immediately after we set them by the dumpsters. This made me feel a little less guilty about failing to make donation arrangements. Continue reading “The road to D.C.” »