Open Road, Old Friend

(The Only Thing You Cannot Cure is This Stomach Ache)

I have been living in my car for three months. The first two weeks, my luggage was kept neatly in bags. Besides opening a trunk instead of a closet, a string of awkward sleeping positions, and the consequences of eating highway food, I feel that I have successfully adapted to road life. I accept the fact that my clothes will always feel wrinkled and wet, my digestive system is perpetually “off” and no simple conversation derives from the confession, “I am living in my car.”

Advice for lonesome lady road travelers:

1)     Try to blend in. I woke up and brushed my teeth on a dirt road on the fringes of the French Quarter using the leftover cup of Jack, Coke and melted ice to rinse (yes, like Ke$ha). With no time to shower, I was wearing the same clothes and back on the road. Even after convincing myself that this was a totally average Thursday morning, I learned an important lesson: try to blend in, even at the gas station. Without preparation, you may find yourself approached by a local who suspects that you are not just an innocent traveler. You may think that spraying perfume helps, but in this case, you are probably exacerbating the primary issue, being, party shoes in the morning, at a gas station off I-10 = the wrong kind of attention.

2)     Remember, sanity and health are relative. Driving long hours can be therapeutic and when lost in thought, it is easy to forget that essentially, you have been contained in a 6 x 5 moving box. You have spent hours, days, and weeks consuming ungodly amounts of sugar, fat, and caffeine. The music you think that has been in a steadily changing and random is actually on repeat. You have engaged a philosophical debate with the GPS girl. The voices in your head are no longer ponderous road thoughts, they are actually the sound of you losing your shit.

3)      Don’t tell people you live in a car. This may seem obvious, but I made the mistake of letting it be known that my address is actually my license plate.  The first and most common reaction is pity: “Oh no, are you okay?” People have started to believe that I am unintentionally homeless . When I start talking, the Christians are disappointed to find out that I don’t really need to be saved. Then there are the questions, “What are you doing? Don’t you need to work? Why did you leave?” All questions with a series of generic answers that smell spoiled, like the leftovers in my backseat. None invoke any pride. I have also been asked if I need a roommate. All awkward conversations that are best avoided by not making this seemingly simple confession.

waywardbetty

Author, ex-pat, mother, traveler, artist

One thought on “Open Road, Old Friend

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