Pop Culture Gadabout
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
      ( 10/17/2007 06:00:00 PM ) Bill S.  

THE WAY WEST- I: (Being A Belated Series of Notes And Impressions from Our Move to Arizona)

Tuesday (9/25): We're in Joplin, Missouri, a little less than a third of the way from our destination in Arizona. Despite our initial hopes of getting out early Tuesday a.m., the process of loading the last bit of home onto our Budget rental truck took longer than we'd planned. We left at 7:00 that evening but were so tired from the last day's frantic loading that we didn't get far that night. Crashed at an EconoLodge outside of St. Louis: a dump, but it had a bed.

I'm having to grow accustomed to driving a mid-sized rental truck, and lemme tell you, my admiration for real-life truckers has increased considerably. I'm basically a spoiled Midwestern geezer, used to compact cars and cruise control. It takes me a day to develop the performance memory to drive a truck over terrain that isn't as flat and safely boring as Central Illinois. Wife Becky's driving point in the PT Cruiser, and more than once I curse as she effortlessly zips way ahead of me. Each time I do, Ziggy Stardust, the Australian Shepherd mix who's riding shotgun looking up as if I'm yelling at him.

The trip didn’t start out encouragingly. As I drove away from our former home, I hear a clunking sound indicating that the loading ramp hadn't been properly latched into the truck. I drove for a block with it dragging on the street until I could turn off and properly reseat it. A real Jay & Silent Bob moment. ("What the fuck do I know about truck drivin'?") Too, in an attempt at avoiding the City of St. Louis, we initially missed the I-44 exit. But everybody gets lost around St. Louis, right?

Being a behind-the-wheel trucking greenhorn, I have a heck of a time negotiating the growing inclines on the highway: at times, struggling to make it to the crest of a particularly steep 'un, I feel like a roadway version of The Little Engine That Could. If you were on the highway during this week, and you came upon an idiot in a rental truck who acted like he'd just gotten his driving license for the first time, that was probably me . . .

(To Be Continued)
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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