Traveling with Shanda and Tina Fey, Part 3

If you're just joining us... Welcome!  Catch up on this Road Trip series in... 
Part 1, Keturah's Fast and My Unexpected Road Trip
Part 2, Leaf Lard and the Woven Basket. 

Every road trip comes with an inherent romanticism, a keen sense of possibility as constant movement breeds unpredictability. Who you will meet, what you will see, where you will eat - it's all in constant flux. And the truth is... I’m a romantic deep down. Although previously the movement, of clock hands and cars headed east, felt ominous, something had shifted in Fort Worth. 
I began to feel the possibilities again.

In Fort Worth, my mother added to my woven basket - granola, cookies, cinnamon rolls wrapped in foil and smelling like Christmas. To the car I added my best friend Shanda, who had from flown in from Fargo, North Dakota with the sole purpose of sitting beside me in a car for 17 hours.
Fort Worth to Atlanta, with a two day stop in New Orleans. 

A George Strait spotting at the necessary western-wear stop in Cowtown!

With Shanda there, the possibilities felt endless. For this particular adventure, Shanda had made 10 mix cds to act as our soundtrack. So we set off on a Sunday morning, and popped in Road Trip Music, Part One which started off with a bang... "None of Your Business" by Salt-N-Pepa.  

There were four categories to this set of 10 cds.
1    1. Texas Travellin’ Tunes
2    2. Moving Forward! 
3    3. Road Trip Music
4    4. Break-ups Suck

She’d also brought a gift - wrapped in a colorful scarf, she called it my “Congrats on Not Marrying That Guy!” gift. (Not because she didn’t like the guy… It’s not always about him. Sheesh.) I reluctantly decided to wait to open the gift, delaying gratification so as to cushion a future hard moment I was sure would come. So I placed the gift in the backseat next to the cooler, grinned at Shanda, and drove on.

Riding shotgun, Shanda planted her feet on the dash and her pink sunglasses on her face. 
Volume up. Windows down, we sang and played air piano to "Anthony’s Song" by Billy Joel from Moving Forward, part 2, "Idiot Wind" by Bob Dylan from Break Ups Suck, part 1, and "Africa" by Toto - Road Trip, part 3. I could feel the clocks turning back.

Back to moments in college where we had embarked in cars with similar senses of playfulness. Back to junior year of college as our group of women drove 24 hours straight from Goshen, Indiana to southern Florida in my tan Buick Century, equipped with a boombox powered by D batteries. Shanda and I improvising songs about passing scenery when the batteries died. I owned a video camera at the time, which would get promptly propped on the enormous dashboard when we hit a lull. We recorded such traveling classics as "Hello, I'm a Truck". (Of note, all these tapes got stolen in our Goshen House Robbery 2005. So if you're out there putting our "music" on the internet... Well... please don't.)

In the blue Subaru we considered the way we and our lives have evolved, how lucky we were that our clocks were still coordinated. We have gone through the celebrations and devastations with each other long enough to know what questions needed asking and which ones were answered long ago.

Me: “How is your brother doing? How are you feeling about God in the midst of the healing process?”.
And how is your mother holding up? How is her garden?
What’s happening with your thesis?  

We talk of her wonderfully solid marriage to a fantastic man, what shade of pink is her favorite at the moment, and how shockingly - her best time of day is now morning.

Shanda: “What hobbies will you take up in Charleston?”
“Where do you envision working?”
“What was your favorite thing about Santa Fe?”

I talk about how much I loved the coffee shop in Santa Fe, and decide on paddleboarding as well as becoming best friends with Sean Brock, considering our mutual love of pork.

At some point (because dietary precepts don’t count in the car) I realize I’m literally pouring Cheetos into my mouth. Pouring. I decided this was actually not a low point, rather it's just what you do when you’re driving cross country pretending to be 20 again: you pour Cheetos, chew endlessly on Twizzlers, and drink way too much fountain Pepsi.

Somewhere else in East Texas we decide on fried okra, BBQ chicken, and a disappointing taco from the taco joint welded to the Shell station. 
Shanda (with a tone of sarcasm and sorority girl foodie): "Do you like think this like local, organic, free range beef?"
Me: "Oh Yes. Definitely yes."  

We listened to Tina Fey talk about breastfeeding, laughing the way we did in Goshen when we would go Baggin’. Baggin’ involves duct taping a fast food to-go bag on top of your car and then driving around town with the radio blaring.
Well-intentioned folks at stoplights then try to alert you to this fast food catastrophe,
“There's a bag on your car!”
You reply, with a confused expression,
“I’m sorry, what? I can’t hear you over the music!”
They yell, they scream, they point, they lean out their car window, they get out of their car,
You then erupt in juvenile laughter. Because, like Tina Fey on breastfeeding, this is always funny.

Driving into New Orleans on the highway surrounded by water, the skyline of the beautiful city emerged, punctured with the Superdome. We discuss the trauma of Katrina that engulfed the space, curious of what the space held for us. 

I can smell the sea. 
I can feel our freedom and our excitement. 
I can taste the imminence of oysters. 
My gratitude for the depth of these simple, timeless things with me in this car is palpable.

Stay tuned for Part 4... Oysters and Beignets in New Orleans! 

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