Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hitting the Road

Well, the Holiday weekend is over and it's time to get back to my regular life. Leaving the parents house today and venturing into the great wide open. Today the plan is to go from Silver City NM, to Fort Stockton, TX and then tomorrow will find me (hopefully) at Canyon Lake in Texas. Tuesday is the boyfriend's birthday so I'm taking him fishing. 
He is a little obsessed. This morning he spent over two hours figuring out the best bait to use to catch black bass. I have never been very interested in fishing. My mom and I went a few times when I was a kid, we never caught anything but that was probably because we were using cherry flavored fruit snacks and raisins. Last May the boyfriend and I went fishing in Idaho and we caught 10 trout. So clearly he knows a little more about fishing than my mom and I did. Admittedly, it's much more fun to actually catch something.
Every time I leave a situation to embark on a new adventure I feel refreshed and excited about another round. A few months ago while spending time at a queer artist community I got some brilliant advice. She told me "Make sure to leave before you're over it, leave while you're still in love with it." She meant that particular community but that advice works everywhere, and I believe it works for any situation. 
Before I get into the vehicle for extended periods of time I like to do some stretching and get a little exercise, this morning I found what may be the creepiest exercise video of all time and I wanted to share it. 

The shiny crotch of the grown-up makes me almost as uncomfortable as when Barbie comes to join them at seemingly random intervals.

So, now it's time to get everything together and get on my way. Wish me luck as I, Zia Sophia take on the open road yet again. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

On the Prowl.

I'm looking for a job. The hunt for a job seems fruitless during this time of economic recession, all those news sources say that the recession is over, but they know it's a lie.
When looking at job descriptions I generally have the same feelings about them.
* I could totally do this job, I don't really know what at least fourteen of those words mean, but I'm sure there is a training program.
* Wow, they want me to do a lot of things for five dollars an hour.
* I would probably be ready to quit before they found out that I didn't really have an MD.
* Medical testing is probably not as bad as it sounds, and it really does pay a lot.

So the hunt continues.

I started early yesterday and was absolutely certain that it would only take about ten minutes. Then, though I got distracted thinking about toys. When I was a kid my next door neighbor had a magical catalog with every toy available encased within the shiny, silky pages. I was an impoverished child with no such catalog delivered to my house. I didn't even have television so I didn't get toy commercials delivered to my house either. It's hard to remember how I made my Christmas list every year, but even with those hurdles I knew about cabbage patch kids and Popples.

One year for Christmas all I wanted was a purple Popple. I wish that I could go back to the time in my life when a stuffed creature that is able to fold in on itself was the best thing I could imagine.

Around the same time that Popples were the craze, Tom Hanks starred in a movie called Big, where he got the world's best job. So,  my job search made me think of toys which led me back to thinking about jobs. Yesterday was a very productive day.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanks for the beer.

There are a million things to be thankful for this year. I am living the dream, on the road with my boyfriend and currently at my parents house watching an Australian comedy. I am filled with love and abundance, and I even have a new bike. 
On days like this though I like to think about the other people who are living their dream, so today's post is devoted to Steven Slater, a real American hero.
For those of you who were under a rock here's some of the media coverage.

So Steven Slater realized that his dream was not taking orders from grumpy passengers on an airplane. It seems that he also dreamed of leaving his place of employment with a theatrical exit, I relate. I have spent many early mornings, while trying to push myself to go to the job I hate, fantasizing about announcing my departure from the company in a way that guarantees I will never be allowed to come back. Even in my wildest, most amazing fantasies though, it never occurred to me to take some beer and slide down an inflatable slide to freedom.
Steven Slater has found a new job. He is a travel correspondent for CNBC, People look to him for guidance in what to pack and how to avoid stress at the airport. His job s especially important during the holiday season. Only in America, land of reality television can one man's temper tantrum make him famous. 

This Thanksgiving I would like to say thank you to Steven Slater and to all the other people out there courageous enough to throw caution to the wind and slide down that inflatable slide with the knowledge that something will work out; it always does.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Writer's Block

Yesterday I had every intention of writing a new post. I thought and thought about what to write all day. The same thing started to happen today and I remembered why I started doubting my writing in the first place, his name is Ron Johnson. R.J. was my English professor in college. 

<I tried to post a picture but I think he's a vampire or something because it won't post>

He had a full beard that he stroked constantly. 
He yelled and slammed books on his desk and threw things for emphasis. 
According to good ol' R.J. there is one correct way to write, and even with opinion papers there is one correct opinion to have. 
He told the class that we were horrible, chastised and belittled us, both in class and with his fucking purple pen.
Somehow, I was one of his favorites. I think that it was because I was never supposed to be in his remedial English class anyway. 

**I took a placement test for Math and English and the scores must have been switched because the results made it seem as though I was an illiterate, math genius. Since I was studying nursing I decided that it would be good to start off with the ability to take more advanced math and science classes and just suck it up with remedial English. The plan failed miserably. I wasn't ready for upper division math and science so I flunked out of those classes and I was more than prepared for remedial English which made the class I was in feel redundant and condescending. As well as providing me with a four year complete writer's block.**

So, as one of Ron Johnson's favorites I was "allowed" to call him Ron <shudder>, and I was encouraged, no, more like expected to join him in chastising laughter directed pointedly and my classmates. When I did neither of those, I was yelled at, or worse... he would stroke his mustache and beard in my general direction <double shudder>.
In his class I wrote a total of four essays, ranging in length from three to twelve pages. Each time it was time to write one I would sit in front of my computer for HOURS, writing a sentence, reading it in his head and erasing it to avoid getting yelled at or having it covered in purple ink. 
--Even as I write this post I am thinking of all the things that he demanded in an essay and I am equally tempted to both incorporate his asinine rules and completely
blow     off. most, of the writing! rules their is just for the sake of Rebellion.--

I would painstakingly use a thesaurus in order to come up with different words for "but" or "and" or "to" or "for" because we were only allowed three of each per essay. That little rule was easy enough for the three page  essay but once I was on the twelve page essay that rule made me cry more than once, and made my essay seem disjointed and robotic. "Disjointed and Robotic" would have been welcome purple criticisms but instead I got ALL the "mis-used" conjunctions crossed out and "Without these words present the sentence no longer makes sense". Well, yeah Ron Johnson, that's why I put them in there in the first place, you were the one who took them out!
The day the papers were returned to us still has a reoccurring slot in my nightmares, here's how it would go:
He would walk in with a pile of papers and a wild look in his eye that seemed like he was looking for a fight.
He would saunter in and SLAM the papers on the desk. His speech changed slightly each time but it was generally something like this
"Well, these certainly were DISAPPOINTING and a FUCKING pain in my ASS to read. LUCKY for you I always read THESE at the coffee shop so that at least I can enjoy SOMETHING about my weekend."
There's nothing quite like the feeling both being a terrible disappointment to writing and of ruining the perfectly good weekend of a "writing genius".
I ended up with an A in the class even though I had a "dangerously low D" at mid-term, but that was of little value to me. I had been emotionally abused all semester. I abandoned the novel that I had already written ten chapters of and I even quit writing in my journal. 
Years have passed and I think I am ready to stop living under the victim umbrella that Ron Johnson and I created in my head. Ron Johnson was really just an old man who was saddened by his failure at being a published writer and having to work at a community college teaching remedial English. He no longer gets to have power over my life and anyway, I have my own blog now and at least 6 loyal followers. 
In your face Ron Johnson!! I have my own blog now!!! And I can write whatever I want! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Flashback Friday!! featuring May 19, 2010

It's Friday, and that means it's time to introduce you to Flashback Fridays with Zia Sophia. Each Friday I will go into a time machine, take you with me and tell you what's happening on the random date I pick. This should be really fun, and it saves me from having to tell about the 1 million things that have happened since I left all at once. 

So, strap on your safety belts and let's go back in time.

Friday, May 19, 2010

Last night I went to a very strange bar. Let me back up, so last month when I was in Huntington Beach I met some people at a party who went to high school with my boyfriend. We exchanged numbers and decided to meet up once I got to Portland, OR. So, last night I texted then and met up with two amazing new friends at a hole in the wall dive bar that is in a strip mall in Beaverton, OR. 
These women are teachers, one high school and one middle school and we chatted about their work/students for a while. I got stuck in the frame of mind thinking of them as my teachers and the whole night took on a different feeling. I was buying my teacher jello shots and talking about sex, drinking and music with  people who I (until that night) thought may not be able to leave school. 

-Embarrassing confession time- My mom was a high school teacher and I understood that she came home every night to cook dinner, watch tv and be a normal person. However, I was convinced (until I was a senior in high school) that teachers lived at school. I know there are probably others who thought that too, but I doubt there were others who had moms that taught and still thought that. I once saw my sophomore English teacher at the grocery store with her daughter, but I figured that she just wanted some snacks for her classroom so that didn't effect my theory.

So, back to the bar and my teachers who were suddenly talking about orgasms, what? Well, I kept having these moments of feeling like I may get in trouble for being at the bar and then remembering that I was with teachers so it was more like a field trip. Suffice to say, I got totally fucking wasted so that I could deal.

This morning, May 19th I woke up with the mother of all hangovers and called my teacher friend who told me the best place to get a mimosa. I ended up at Eastburn which turned out to be The Most Amazing Restaurant Ever! Boyfriend and I sat on the outdoor patio at a small two person table that had swings at the table! Not rubber bottomed playground swings, but delightfully charming personal porch swings with arm rests and backs. A-Mazing!!!
I ordered two mimosas, some overpriced food and sat swinging at the table in the sunshine for a couple hours. They even put little pads on the table legs so that one didn't bruise one's knees while swinging. 
Hangover cure from the gods. 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

When science fails.

Welcome back! 
Yesterday started out very lovely, I had coffee with a dear friend and we skipped down memory lane. Skipped is probably not the right verb, we more stumbled and limped down much of that lane.
After coffee I dropped him off at school so that I could use his car.

For those of you who have not had the experience of constantly driving a 24ft RV around small downtown streets in big cities, you may not be able to appreciate the beauty of being able to drive a small zippy sports car for a day. There was so much excitement and potential perfection wrapped up in my plan for the day. 
I got very clear and concise directions back to my friend's house and gleefully headed there.

I was driving for about 15 minutes when I realized that the abandoned lots and farm land that I was passing didn't look familiar. My friend lives in a pretty densely populated neighborhood in North Central Austin, so when I started passing livestock I realized I needed to turn around.
I took the first right I was able to because the street I was on had inexplicably become a one-way. The turn I took spun me around an industrial complex for about 15 minutes and dumped me back out on a fairly large, busy street, but by then I was completely turned around and couldn't tell if I was parallel to the street I wanted to be on. 

For those of you who are directionally challenged I'm sure that you are used to this sort of thing. You probably stay very calm, and have systems in place. I have always been unnaturally good at orientating myself and therefore have no such systems in place. The only other time I have ever been all the way lost is when I got off on the wrong bus stop when I was a nanny and led two young children on an "adventure walk" that lasted 2 hours. That time I didn't have any provisions and I think the children caught on that it wasn't a game when I made them pee on some lady's driveway and started quietly sobbing to myself as we walked. 

So, back to yesterday. I took a right and then a left and then another right, all the streets were relatively straight. Scientifically impossible as it seems, I ended up exactly where I started. I tried going left, right, left and again ended up at the exact same intersection. At that point I was near panic, not only was I lost, I was defying science. 
I tried mixing it up with a series of lefts and rights and straights in order to prove my hypothesis that science no longer existed. My hypothesis failed though and at the end of my experiment I couldn't even find the intersection that earlier I couldn't seem to escape. So once science failed, I panicked. 
I tried to soothe myself with the affirmation that no one has ever been lost enough to die cold and alone in a city, but I left my cell phone with my boyfriend so I couldn't say the affirmation with any real authority. I drove around hoping for something to look familiar in this city that I've only been in for two days, but shockingly, it all looked foreign. I started asking people at stoplights how to get to where I was going.
The first guy I asked told me it was behind me so I made an illegal U-turn. I asked a lady at another light just to confirm that I was going the right way and she told me it was the other way. This same scenario happened literally four times. 
The panic got worse when I realized I had to pee. I was sure that my friend would forgive me for having to pee in the car once they found me, dead three or four days later. I was just about to let go of my bladder when I remembered that I could just pull over and get out of the car. I asked the gas station attendant where to go and he gave me very detailed directions which I reconfirmed with him three times. 
I was significantly more calm, my bladder was empty and I had actual directions. Seven minutes later, I realized the directions were wrong and I was driving on a street whose name changed every other intersection. 
I found a 711 and tried to buy a map from a very itchy cashier who couldn't stop scratching, but they only had maps for Dallas/Ft.Worth. So I bought a phone card instead. I had been lost for about and hour and a half and thought that my boyfriend had probably already called all the local hospitals, found nothing, and was already in stage 2 of the mourning process. I called once, no answer... I called again, no answer. Great, he'd already finished the mourning and was at a bar trying to replace me. I tried calling again, but my entire $5.00 phone card had been used up. (That phone card company will be getting a strongly worded letter from me soon.)
So, I did the only logical thing. I sat in the car and cried. I sobbed violently actually. After that I dried my tears, told myself that everyone had to die sometime. I made myself feel even better when I remembered that my boyfriend had already found someone else and that at least I wouldn't leave him heartbroken and alone. I dried my tears and just started driving aimlessly. An hour later I found myself back where I dropped off my friend, followed the directions he gave me and was home in ten minutes.

My boyfriend was in the shower, barely noticed that I was two and a half hours late. At least I didn't have to learn to love his new girlfriend as my sister-wife.

The moral of this story is simple; when science fails, panic.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My First Post.

Hi There, 
Thank you for joining me on my journey through the United States. I left my semi-cozy, semi-ghetto apartment, packed a few bag and set out on the road with my boyfriend in a 24ft. RV named Dolly in February 2010. 

So far we've gone through
*New Mexico
And now we're back in Texas. I probably should have started this blog sooner because about 1 million things have happened since starting and to catch you up would be a ridiculous feat, but through the course of telling  all future events I'm sure the older stories will be brought up again. 

The first night back in Texas I was in the RV with the boyfriend, a friend we met at a queer artist commune in middle Tennessee and a man from Costa Rica that we found on Craigslist. It was about 11pm, we had been driving for about 14 hours and we found ourselves getting pulled over. 
Minutes later the four of us were sitting on the side of the highway having been mistaken for drug runners and the entire RV was being tossed by two Texas cops. 
Some highlights:

Cop: Do you have any weapons?
Me: On me or in the RV?
Cop: On you! Do you have any guns or hand grenades?
Me: (laughing) No, no hand grenades here. 
Cop: (angered at my laughter, had nothing to say)
Other cop: (clearly excited about his find) What's this?
fellow traveler: It's a smudge stick
Cop: A what?
traveler: A smudge stick, you know, made of sage. Used for purification and... 
Cop: (smells it) oh.
A list of things that made us seems sketchy:

-When asked what we do for work we all replied "odd jobs"
-When asked where we live, we all replied "we're traveling"
-When asked to provide an address, none of us had one.
-Each of us has a different name that we use than the one on our licenses and we didn't know each others legal names so we referred to each other as if we didn't know each others names.  For example, I called my boyfriend "the driver" and my good friend "the one in the green sweatshirt" or simply "green sweatshirt"
-When asked how we met, the stories were very long and convoluted, because most stories of meeting someone are, but by the time we were done telling the stories of how the four of us ended up together on the side of the highway in the middle of the night, well, it seemed very drug-runneresque.

There were 5 squad cars on scene and each one of them was very disappointed at having found nothing of black market street value in the RV. It seems like they could have at least thanked us for bringing them an adrenaline rush or something, but instead they "let us off" with a warning. The ticket said that it was because they ran the license plate it came back as not registered, but it really should have warned us against being out after dark with bored cops in rural Texas. Why isn't that an optional check box on the citation?

I guess that pretty well concludes my first post. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures as I, Zia Sophia take on the open road.