“Okay, number 1, I’m not a three hour, once a month brunch friend, I’m your fucking roommate. Be honest with me. And Number 2, do I look like Richard Simons in this skirt and red lipstick?” Carly, my blonde, double-d roommate asks me.
“Bitch, we’re driving to the Dirty T for the next 8 hours – in the middle of the night. Why do you care how you look?” I snap back, stressed as I just came from a full day at the office. I want to get on the road because I know Carly will be no help in driving. Every hour not on the road is an hour later I have to stay up.
I also won’t let Carly drive because I don’t think our friendship can survive her crashing my car.
“You’re right – this is too dressy. I’m going to change.” Carly says, dismissing my diatribe. “How are these boots?”
The gay boy in me is drawn inward, “Those are amazing! They’re perfect for driving, you’ll be totally horse girl vogue riding in my mustang.”
“You always do that!” Kelly wines, “You’ll say oh you look so good! Then pause and say something stupid like, that dress is totally Flinstones chic! Or ‘how artsy - you totally look like you’re wearing a Picasso!’ They’re the worst compliments.”
“Should I have used Equestrian instead?” I reply and continue, “Anyway I mean horse girl in the best possible way.”
“The word horse and girl together are never good. In any way. Ever.” Carly says dryly.
Our road trip begins two hours later than I plan/hope for. Can someone say hashtag single white female roommate problems?
I also have forgotten that the week prior to this trip marked the annual daylight savings switch – where for six months Tucson (and Arizona) is an hour ahead of Pacific Standard Time – because they think they’re special enough to warrant an Arizona time zone. (ummm irrelevant, anyone? – unless you live or are from there, in which case, totally kidding…)
I plan on arriving at 3 a.m. to the home of Toby, my best mate during college. At the current rate, and because of my miscalculation, we are slated to arrive at 6 a.m.
After excreting ourselves from the crowded bowels of Los Angeles and the greater Inland Empire, we enter full road trip mode and the tension in my neck abates. Lady Gaga’s latest masterpiece, Artpop, blasts through the sound system while my headlights slice through the dark, derelict I-10 in front of us.
“Holy Shit!!” I scream randomly into the night while swerving on the highway–abruptly waking a lulled Carly. “I just saw a ghost.”
Carly snarls, “Shut up, no you didn’t.”
I defend my remark, “Yes I did!”
Carly asks, “Oh really? What did it look like?”
I describe the phenomena, “It was a cowboy on a horse and he galloped right into my lane! Oh my gosh…what could it mean…”
Carly analyzes me for a moment; one eyebrow rises “Do you need me to drive?”
I shake my head. “No just help keep me awake by talking.”
“Fine, why are we still listening to Lady Gaga?” Carly drawls as she commandeers my iPhone to play a ragout of slow alternative rock to tickle her fancy. Does she want us to drive to a slumber-y grave?
The desolate highway guides our conversations to deeper possibilities of human language – a nice vacation from the monotonous discussions I frequently hear in LA regarding likes and followers.
“Scientists don’t know shit.” Carly says. “Like music- how the fuck does one explain music?”
I interject energetically – these amateur philosophy discussions really get me off – and I DO mean that in a totally sexual sense.
I interject energetically, “I hear what you’re saying and you’re totally right. I mean, sure we understand the mechanics, but what makes the essence? Why do all these organ systems work together to create a human – a being of great potential who must rise above his or her physical or personality flaws? (too bleak?)”
Carly is awake and engaged at this point, “Exactly, and why art or dancing. Have you ever thought about how strange dancing is?”
I go on, “It all roots itself down to the existential question of whether existence precedes essence – or the obverse. We are distinguished, at least for now, from machines because we are sentient creatures. As such, we should elevate our race through innovation, art, business, science, as gratitude to whatever hand of fate strung our DNA along to exist; “in fashioning ourselves we fashion man.” I worry about the current and future generations because our values have shifted to the carnal, hedonistic. We are effectively seeing anti-evolution in large populations of society where the superficial is revered – especially in my community – the gays. West Hollywood is full of a bunch of dumb jocks sharing gym photos for likes and orgy requests. Naturally in a world of 6 billion, there will be a community of thinkers, doers, and therefore there is more of a divide. Although, if competition is the key to success, I guess I don’t mind competing against a bunch of beautiful, but stupid, walking social media profiles.”
I don’t often monologue like this because I feel uncomfortable doing so, and because people generally tune me out. Being a glutton for attention, I don’t want this at all.
At four am, around the time of Phoenix, Kelly falls asleep. I have ninety miles left to travel before reaching Tucson, but my energy levels are quickly depleting. Instead of seeing just one ghost, I see Zombies, aliens, and then I don’t see at all.
Luckily, by 6 a.m. I’m in Toby’s bed sleeping. Arriving is a bit of a blur – at this point I’m up for 24 hours straight.
It’s official, my first ever college homecoming weekend begins.
Part 2 forthcoming….