travel tales

remind me never to drink an entire bottle of water with dinner. ouch. but it was such delicious water, and I was so very thirsty after driving from Dallas to Marfa. So I’m a bit behind here. It’s been a whirlwind of traveling, with nothing terribly interesting to report. Except what happened yesterday. Nervous about the long and lonely drive ahead, I did my best to prepare. I actually meditated Sunday morning, which was lovely and must happen more often. It’s likely to, now that I’ve also realized I’m ready to more actively pursue my interest in Buddhism.

So, I then stopped at the awesome food coop across from the Vortex in Little Five Points (We’re in Atlanta now, do try to keep up) and loaded up on all the agave-sweetened chocolate they had (so why the chocolate souffle at the restaurant tonight???). So I’m ready for a day of my absolute least favorite activity- driving a car in the USA, particularly in the South, where everyone just wants to mosey along enjoying the scenery. Well, imagine my delight when I spy a group of hitchikers with a very slick sign proclaiming "Dallas" only an hour outside Atlanta. I was like "Wait a minute…. I’m going to Dallas, too…!" They looked like harmless hippie kids so I safely pulled over about a mile down the road and walked back to let them know they had a ride (OK, not that far, but walking along the highway sure made it feel like a long way). They met me halfway and Aaron told me they were returning home after competing in the great hitchiking race.

My intuition told me they were legit, so they piled in and I continued to drive at first, to better get acquainted with my new chauffeurs before putting them to work. Soon after, I felt comfortable enough putting them in control and did not drive again until I dropped Pinkston off in Dallas the next morning. Aaron’s mom put us all up for the night in Van. A town named Van, not the vehicle. She lives next to some farm animals and an oil rig. Which remind me of the negotiations assignment where I was supposed to be representing an oil company that wanted to buy someone’s land without paying them what it could be worth. Judging by the quality of the homes in the area, nobody was getting cut into this deal. As a representative of the fictitious oil company, I could not lie or even withhold the truth, and let slip that we suspected there was something of value, so wound up giving the seller 10% of whatever we happened to sell that came out of the ground. Which was still below the max $ amount I was allowed to give up, as long as I didn’t give him 10% in perpetuity. I suspect the oil company that bought this patch of land had a much slicker negotiator on their staff.

In any case, the hitchikers were good kids, Emily is working on a master’s in geology, Pinkston is finishing his BA in film, and Aaron has a degree in communication and persuasion, which I’m sure is what’s facilitated his career as a professional hitchiker. I gave them my cards and told them to stay in touch. Then I drove to Marfa without incident. I love driving across Texas. The speed limit is 80 and there’s no traffic.