She’d always been a planner. Never could do anything without spending hours upon hours researching first. So the decision to up and move without seeing where she was moving to (except in pictures online) was a bit extreme. There was something equal parts thrilling and anxiety inducing about it. Would she like the house? Would it be big enough? Too big? Would it feel like everything had a place that fit it perfectly? Would she fit perfectly?
The idea was to create something self-sustaining. A farm, but not exactly a farm. How much farming can one person do? No, this would be a not-a-farm, a hobby farm, a way to prove to herself that she could survive the zombie apocalypse she felt sure would never come but that it was interesting to imagine.
She already knew some basic gardening and how to care for chickens. She’d read extensively on how to care for goats but had yet to care for one. She’d also read up on pigs and while she was anxious to try her hand the idea of pigs also scared her a bit…a holdover from watching Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels perhaps?
At any rate, she had packed up her belongings, selling a few things she couldn’t bear to pack and unpack for the hundredth time and that were much more a part of her old life than the new life she was heading to. Everything fit perfectly in her little hardbody pickup truck. It was a bit of a Tetris game to get it all in there in such a way that it would travel without moving, but she’d done it, and she’d done it on her own.
She’d debated about the best time to leave more as a reflection of the best time to arrive than anything else and had decided that if she left after lunch on Saturday she’d arrive by lunch on Sunday with a short rest stop break Saturday night for a nap. With all that in mind she headed out Saturday after a lunch of tuna salad that she barely tasted, her stomach all aflutter with the adventure before her. She took one last pee break, locked the door on her old life, dropped the key in the mailbox, and made her way toward the future.
The drive was less than idyllic. Mostly cities and the craziness of the Interstate for hours on end. In fact it wasn’t until her first stop for fuel that she realized she’d left the cities behind and was now in desolate country. Nothing but dirt in every direction with the occasional off-ramp offering fast food and fueling stations. When she realized the cities were all behind her she began to relax. And sometime into the eighth hour of her drive she heard a loud pop and the tension between her shoulders disappeared.
She alternately filled the time with music and silence. The silences just as loud in her head as the music had been in the cab. Her head was awash with possibilities, questions, ideas, and the things she tried to ignore: her fears. She told herself she wasn’t scared, that there was nothing to fear, failure would simply mean another change of direction. But she was scared. She was afraid of something she couldn’t name.
She drove as long as she could and finally near eleven that night she was too tired to continue. She pulled into the next rest stop she found, checking for other vehicles as she drove in and parked. The stop seemed empty with the exception of one big rig, lights off, the driver likely sleeping just as she hoped to now. She jumped out and used the restroom, brushing her teeth quickly in the cold, and rushing back to the warm cab of her truck.
She considered leaving the truck running to keep the cab warm, but decided against it. She pulled her Carhartt jacket off and draped it over herself. It would be good to sleep as long as possible, the cold would wake her up in a few hours and she could continue her journey. A perfect little ninja nap.
She slept hard at first, then fitfully, the sounds of the highway and the occasional semi truck pulling in and out of the rest stop keeping her from any sort of restorative sleep. When the cold finally became too much to ignore she opened her eyes and checked the time. 4am. She’d slept less than she thought. But she felt good enough to continue.
Once again she checked her surroundings before jumping out and using the restroom to pee and brush her teeth. She also splashed some cold water on her face. Before rushing back to the truck she checked the vending machines hoping for one that offered coffee. Sadly the only options were soda and candy. She decided to look for coffee on her route and jumped back in the truck, ready to get where she was going.
She turned on some music and cracked her knuckles, a habit she hated and still couldn’t seem to break, and headed on her way. She sang along to the songs she knew, and hummed along to the ones she didn’t. She found a coffee place, drive thru no less, and was happily zipping along when she realized she was being pulled over, and that she had to pee.
She considered pulling off at the next off ramp instead of pulling over on the highway, but couldn’t see an off ramp up ahead and didn’t want to risk angering the cop. She pulled over as far as she could, rolled down her window, and turned off the engine. She sighed and watched in the side mirror as the cop rummaged around in the cop car before exiting.
She put on a tentative smile and answered the cops question with, “I didn’t notice. Was I over the speed limit?”
Twenty minutes later she was not only so desperate to pee that she considered jumping out and peeing right there in front of the cop, but she also had a hefty little ticket in her hands. She decided not to risk further ire and started up the truck, continuing on her way and hoping the cop would pass her so she could pull back over and relieve herself or that she’d see a restroom in less than two minutes.
~~~That’s one hour~~~