Idaho. At 7:21pm, I was driving through Idaho. I wasn't picking my nose, but I was doing the next best thing. I'm driving along and making faces into the plastic cover over my speedometer. I'm puffing out my bottom lip with air and smiling. I'm thinking about quitting for the day. I'm 500 miles from Eugene and I have all weekend to screw around getting there. I want to be there by Monday so I can trot around at this job and try to present myself in some kind of friendly reasonable fashion. Right now my thoughts are with cheap beer and good parking.
This potential job made me take a hateful test. I called up to 'check status' or whatever. You know jobs: you gotta keep calling. That's what they say. That's what I've seen. So I called, and I got to the next level. The online assessment test. It had two parts. The first part was all about physics, mechanics, weights and measures. I did fine. The second part was all about making you trip over your shoelaces and cry. You had to choose whether to "strongly disagree, disagree, agree, strongly agree" to 86 questions about your feelings on jobs, co-workers, and work environments. The questions are repeated with different wording throughout the test. You don't want to agree with something, then end up disagreeing with the same thing ten questions later. I'm really good at fucking that up. I get caught up in the specific wording, and try to answer honestly based on specific examples that come to mind. I over think it. I try to locate my true feelings, and I fuck it all up. Years ago, I took a similar test which determined that I am not fit to work at Blockbuster. These tests can be very humbling.
Time zones! At today's second 7:21pm I'm rolling along with three clinking bottles of $.99 22oz Cobra in a plastic bag to my side. I'm in Oregon! I'm in Oregon! This state is beautiful, and I am joyful. I'm rolling through the big, bare, empty mountains along I-84, listening to the Foo Fighters first CD.
I found my parking. I pulled off at a rest area, surrounded by tall heaps of mountain. There were no signs to tell me that I couldn't park overnight. I usually view these rest areas as sketchy, but this one really seemed alright. I got slightly sketched at my first parking choice, so I followed my heart and moved on. Now my heart is telling me to stop, and my heart don't lie. Much. Usually.
I'm loving the return to van life. I pop open my side doors and enjoy excruciatingly beautiful scenery from my life-is-easy chair. I cook up a heap of pasta. I let that sit in my little yellow colander while I finish a couple Cobras. Cobra's drink like dinner. I haven't eaten since banana-lunch, and a Cobra seemed to fill the void. I wait another halfa Cobra, then swiss-army can-opener a Whole Foods chili, and heat it up. I add a couple handfuls of spiral pasta and mix it all in. I eat. I'm hungry after all. I eat the chili-covered pasta until there's enough room in my little cooking pot for another handful of pasta. I clean off the pasta and have a little bit of chili by itself. That's a hell of a cheap and easy van meal. I won't forget that.
I sit and relax. The sunset was beautiful. I curtain up my house and sleep. The sun doesn't get me up for a long time, because it needs to stretch all the way over the mountains before it can sneak down to me. I wake up and read Bicycle Quarterly with the doors open to a gorgeous day. If anyone says that van people are all sad, destitute, homeless or similar: let them know about the Cobras in the mountains. If life was ever sweeter, it happened when I wasn't looking.