WHEREIN THE STATES I DROVE THROUGH ARE GRADED FOR EFFORT AND THE REPORT CARDS ARE SENT TO THEIR PARENTS
So right off the bat here, I knew this trip wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, but circumstances truly made this journey about as horrible as possible, and so some states might be graded rather harshly. However, I am only evaluating their performance, so maybe they can learn from their mistakes and do a little better next time.
PENNSYLVANIA: A lovely state. Full of green grass, blue skies, and quiet history. And water parasites that destroyed my internal organs within mere moments. So much of my time in Pennsylvania was spent in stomach-clenching pain, so that I thought maybe there were live lobsters inside me pinching me.
Pros: Rob lives there, and is fun to visit.
Cons: Stomach lobsters.
Super-cons: The port-a-potty with the defective lock near the rest stop by the i-80.
OHIO: Ohio is a state that is funded entirely on the purchase of liquor and fireworks. Oh, and freeways. They charge you to use their freeways. In Ohio, I awoke to a man going through my wallet in my hotel room. In Ohio, the only recognizable buildings are churches, strip clubs, and liquor stores. There were deer on the side of the road with their heads missing. Like, roadkill, but someone hacked off the heads. At one point, I saw one of the heads, also by the side of the road. What. The. Fuck is going on, Ohio? Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten a speeding ticket if I weren’t trying to get the hell out of your state so hard!
Indiana: This was surprising to me, but there actually is no Indiana. Indiana is a myth. There is just empty white space for a while, and no discernible distance.
Illinois: Illinois is under construction. There are cones everywhere, and signs warning you that killing state workers comes with additional penalties, due to being in construction zones. So no one gets to put their murder hat on? Awww. Overall, things slow to a crawl in Illinois. It was there that a man who looked like Dick Cheney refused to let me merge in front of him. Instead he thought he might see if ramming my car with his truck would change my mind about being so greedy as to share a lane when necessary. Or he at least came within inches of that, so that I waved him by with a courteous gesture. Be on the lookout for an angry Republican man in his 60s if you are driving around in Illinois (and haven’t yet been arrested for killing a construction person). He’s very angry at the youth.
Iowa: Iowa is an 8-bit sidescrolling game where you go from left to right until you get to Nebraska, which was disconcerting because I was going west at the time.
GRADE: Nintendo Seal of Approval
ACTUAL GRADE: C-
Nebraska: Nebraska is the only state that attacked me with tornadoes and God-lightning. At one point it was a nice sunny day, and before I knew it I found myself driving into a black cloud of hail while the man screamed on the radio about where the tornadoes were. But I didn’t know where he was talking about because I don’t live in Nebraska. But as he screamed about the doom to befall us all and which counties would be sacrificed first I found myself outrunning the storm and finally seeing a hotel to pull off to, and drank beer and watched “The Hollow Man” until it got too weird.
Wyoming: Did I drive through Wyoming too? Good God, how many states are there?
Utah: Utah is a very empty place, except for a lake and some hills, and a city right by the hills with too many one-way streets in it. True, Salt Lake City seemed like it could be an all right place, with fun-loving people and good times, but my version of Salt Lake City was just being lost for hours in a bright, concrete landscape that kept flashing the sun in my eyes and missing out on my only chance for good food, and realizing one day too late just how screwed over for time I was with school. A night of being too tired to not weep into a box of McDonald’s. The kind of day where there is a chihuahua in a pink dress in your hotel room for some reason, only that is a dream and then you wake up and you just keep driving.
GRADE: Too tired to grade. You get a check… minus.
Nevada: Nevada was too big and too hot, right off the bat. Even with air conditioning on I knew there was something wrong, what with all the animals running around on fire. And Nevada’s big. Way bigger than it looks on a map. And there is nothing around for miles except dead, flaming squirrel skeletons. Yet this heart-breakingly large and hot state is also full of mean cops who will treat you like a criminal and search your car for drugs on blind, dumb guesswork while you stand in the Nevada sun for an hour or so, right when you are almost to the California state line, and you just want to get home.
California: I thought crossing the border would feel like angels and kitten fluff but it was more like the lanes got narrower and all the drivers got more terrible. The traffic slowed to a stop for what seemed like forever on multiple occasions and by the time I made it home, I think I was more zombie than man. However, being home means finally being able to not worry about police busting open my port-a-potty, for drugs. This positive change of pace is reflected in my grade.
GRADE: A Glass of Beer.
There were a few great billboards I saw along the way that I will attempt to draw now.
If this looks like the attempt of somebody to sabotage their own photography business, well, that’s what it looked like to me too. I only had a couple of precious seconds to take in the scene of the balding father and his kids in the rain, the terrible, changing-from-word-to-word font, and worst part: the fact that the billboard was advertising this photo as being a result of their business. It wasn’t like “Don’t take more bad photos like these!” It was more “Behold our professional photography.” I really wish I would’ve had the time to actually photograph this one.
The text “Crazy Eddie’s Fireworks” should appear in the drawing, as well, but I shouldn’t have to include every stupid detail. Anyhow, Crazy Eddie apparently owns a sizable swatch of land in Ohio where he has erected thousands of these billboards, back-to-back as you drive past them for hundreds of miles. After a while, they start to affect you and you really want to buy fireworks, and I almost did, and wouldn’t that have been fun for the police to find? Thanks, but no thanks, Crazy Eddie.
Finally, we come to an advertisement that is less of a billboard, and well, more of a sheet of paper taped to a barrel. If you guessed that we were still in Ohio, you would be right. In Ohio’s defense, this advertisement actually made me wonder whether or not I should attend this event. It gave me a moment’s pause. I ended up deciding “Definitely, no.”
Thus concludes my Worst States Driven Through Roundup. Hooray! Um. I will never do anything like this again without a friend. I feel like most this stuff would never have happened with a buddy around. Also, I just found out today from my mom that some of the stuff I was hauling in the trunk of the car was (and I quote) “Haunted doll furniture.” So that explains a lot.
Wish me luck getting rid of haunted furniture/purifying my car/not succumbing to demonic possession at this time. Dear God I’m glad I’m back home. That’s all for now.