We flew to Italy out of New York a few days ago. The approximately 135-mile drive from Wilmington, Delaware to NYC took two hours. The last ten miles of New York traffic lasted three.
Half-an-hour worth of NYC traffic was within olfactory range of a truckload of spilled chicken that had obviously been rotting in the street for awhile. As Bryan said, only in New York does a pile of raw meat remain in the road long enough to make you dry heave as you pass.
The rental car, oddly, was infested with spiders. I realize this sounds like a detail from a drug-induced haze, but I have the bites to prove it. What’s more, my attempts to procure drugs in Keller, Virginia were surprisingly fruitless.
We’re in Milan now for the Adaptive Path Workshop. According to my guidebook, Italian men should have leapt at me as I got off the plane and refused to stop grabbing at my ass until I batted at them with rolled newspapers. I dutifully learned the suggested phrases to ward off unwanted advances:
At the cafe, where I’d like to read as I sip my wine, “Mi lasci en pace, per favore.” (Please leave me alone, in peace.)
On the train, where someone is bound to grope me, a loud, “Que schifo!” (How disgusting!)
And the charmingly all-purpose, “Adesso, basta!” (Enough already, buck-o.)
Sadly, I’ve yet to have a single Milanese man make an inappropriate advance. What’s more, all of them dress better than me. Italy is doing nothing for my self-esteem.
We just left North Carolina. I’ve never been in the South before. It’s prettier over here, and the barbeque is better.
As you might expect, I’m eating a lot of fried stuff. Also, I don’t know what anything is. The waitress looked confused when I asked her what hush puppies were. The girl at the coffee shop was amazed when I asked what was in a moon pie. The girl at the breakfast place heartily recommended that I have the cheese grits instead of the regular grits. I can’t imagine that the cheese made much of a difference.
We crossed the border into Virginia late last night and spent two hours this morning trying to find a place to get an Internet connection. Finally we found WebCity. I’m currently sitting in a dark room with five guys who’ve been talking about how much ammo they have stored, how much they got paid for not killing that one guy, and so on, for the last hour.
Driving through Union Square, we see a sign:
Wash and dry
Me: Which way should we go?
Ali: Let me check the map.
(Older male jogger appears on the trail.)
Me: Excuse me. Which trail leads back to the trailhead?
Him: Heh. You ever seen Deliverance?
Him: “You’re a long ways from home son.”
Him: I’m thinking of that toothless guy.
(Ali and I exchange glances.)
Me: Do you know which way leads to the trailhead?
Him: Yep. You take the trail on the left, cross a bridge, it’ll fork off to the right, but you don’t wanna go that way. Just keep going straight.
Him: No problem.
(He hesitates, then jogs off.)
Me: Yeah. Word to the wise, fella. When you come across two women alone in the woods, the Deliverance jokes aren’t gonna make an entirely favorable impression.
Me: Is my pocketknife in the pack?
Ali: I think so.
Me: I’m just gonna grab that.