Three weeks and a day of traveling all over the east coast. I went from Philly to Allentown, PA, from there a quick trip up to Albany for a concert, then back to Allentown, then Boston, then Baltimore, then back to Allentown, then to NYC, then to Philly (with a trip from NYC out to Long Island to meet my ride back to Philly). Then yesterday morning, I left Philly for my trek back to Orcas Island, which, all told, took 18 hours.
In a way it was a rock star kind of trip, waking up in all these different cities. So many nights, I had the sensation of coming in or out of sleep and being disoriented, wondering where I was. It was great. Throughout the trip, I slept on couches, in two hotels, in a basement spare room, in a shared twin bed in a dorm room and on a pullout couch. I saw so many friends it was amazing. Not just the ones I stayed with, but friends I saw at concerts, friends who came to my reading in New York City, a friend who I rarely get to see and who is going to Iraq in January. We met for two hours, went out to eat at a brewery, it was the fourth time I’ve seen in the last seven years. I get a little choked up sometimes, just thinking about how precious it is to have these short encounters with people who matter.
The crazy part was how much of this trip and the people I saw centered around the internet. I met the aforementioned friend years ago online, as well as most of the people I stayed with. I hung out with Linda in Baltimore, and we met in an online writing class. We’d never met in real life before my trip. The connection was so there, it was incredible. It always amazes me how accurate the internet connections are. I met some online friends at shows, people I’d never met before, and felt instantly comfortable. Also met one friend while about to leave Philly, another great connection.
I also saw friends I’ve had forever, especially in NYC at my reading. Afterwards, a bunch of us went out to eat, and even though it was bringing together different groups of friends from varied locations, backgrounds, ages, and from different places or periods in my life, it all went smoothly.
Even more amazingly, so did all the transportation. The trip was like a marathon of getting up at god-awful early hours to travel from one city to another. I rode all kinds of buses, made all kinds of connections, took the T in Boston, the subway in NYC and the Baltimore metro (whatever they call it), the LIRR, Greyhound, shuttles, and probably modes of transportation I can’t remember at this point. It’s all sort of a blur. And somehow, I always made my connection and got where I was going. Really, if I think about it, it seems like a miracle. I can’t believe it all fit, it all worked how it was supposed to. I didn’t want to say it at thanksgiving because I was afraid I would jinx it, but man, I am so thankful for TIMING, above all. Even last night, my flight was a little late, and then on the shuttle to the ferry, there was traffic. I was really worried I wouldn’t make the ferry, and I had to make that ferry because I was meeting a friend on the boat and we were riding home together. Somehow, the shuttle got there just in time, the ferry left the dock about five seconds after I stepped on board. We had to have someone else take my suitcase because it wouldn’t fit in my friend’s car, and just as she dropped me off at my apartment, the car with my suitcase arrived, like it had been choreographed or something. Really, I feel blessed in the timing department.
Basically what I’m trying to say is, my trip was incredibly awesome. Great timing, great friends, great food, great music, great wine, great conversations. Hugged some good-looking guys, too. I even got hit on during my trip home, and loved the ego boost. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip, really. From start to finish, it was great. When I first landed in Philly, on a shuttle from there to my friend Leo’s, (which got me to my stop just in time for Leo to take me to her house on her lunch break, like I said, timing was like, divinely ordained here or something), during the ride, as I gushed inside over the foliage, something clicked. It felt immediately and undeniably SO RIGHT to be on the east coast.
It’s funny, when I first moved out to WA, I used to get really internally confused by the water. I’d see it from buses through Seattle out to my left and it felt like we were going South. I kept having to correct myself. It’s strange because most of my time on the east coast, pretty much all of it, was spent without water in seeing distance, but I guess intrinsically, my sense of direction and where the ocean was, was instinctual. It used to mess me up constantly in Seattle, because I relied a lot on cardinal directions to determine where I was going. On the island, it’s a bit irrelevant, since water’s in every direction. On that shuttle ride from the airport to Leo’s house, though, it was like that internal sense of direction and water fell back into place completely, even though, again, I couldn’t see the water. Somehow though, I knew we were going North. I can’t explain it, sort of like a biological compass had clicked back into place.
And the verdict about the college thing is….
I LOVED Emerson. To me, it’s a done deal that I’ll be going there this Fall. Before I went to my visit, I told myself, okay, don’t expect too much, don’t expect that any school will feel like the absolute and only school, basically, the most likely result would be that no one place would be the be-all end-all perfect place. I’d never felt that about any school I’d visited before, including Emerson the first time when I was seventeen, and I’ve visited a lot of schools over the years. Well, it totally did feel terribly, disgustingly, amazingly perfect. I have no doubt I’ll go there. That’s assuming I get in, I guess, but I do assume that.
So I’ve got about nine months to save up as much money as possible, look for scholarships every day, and get ready to move my life from one coast to another.
In the meantime, I gotta go make some pasta for dinner.
“Peeping Tommi” – Tori Amos
- Writing from the Road – Allentown, PA