Fishtrap: Week 18 Reflections
Life on the road has produced numerous interesting side effects, one of which is the tendency to forget where I am. Walking into Safeway the other day, I saw a red Ford F150 with that special side step like Dad’s and thought, Dad’s here! Checking out with my bag of produce, I handed the clerk my discount grocery card for a store in Michigan. Pulling onto Highway 82, I saw a Toyota that looked like the one Karen and I borrowed in Fairbanks last fall and thought, for a moment, I still had six hours of daylight left to get a hike in after suppertime.
The confusion doesn’t just stop with “recognizing” friends’ vehicles. I constantly start to dial home back in NC, then hang up just in time to remember that I’m dialing the East Coast Time Zone at an hour way past sleep, not Portland, OR—where my parents and I lived throughout my upbringing. Subbing at Arrowhead Chocoaltes today, I ran into a young couple from St. Louis, MS and the guy called me “M’am.” I could have hugged him for sounding a teensy bit like Appalachia but since he was a stranger, I just put bluegrass music on and hoped he caught the vibe.
At the post office, I’m constantly appalled that my priority mail packages are ringing up at ten and twelve dollars. Then I remember I’m shipping across multiple zones, since I’m on the West Coast now, and that almost all of my mail goes over the Rockies and then some. Likewise, we’ll still have salt-shaker snow here in the Wallowas one morning, and I start to think I’m starting winter all over again. I get my sweater out, wonder where I put my long underwear. Then I remember Spring’s arriving and soon enough I’ll be headed to humid Michigan.
It’s a good thing I’m driving to my next destination, as they say it’s easier to “catch up” with yourself when you travel by car than when you travel by plane. Slow and steady over the Rockies and toward the Great Lakes region until I get to those ever-reflective sand dunes and the mind-boggling blue shores of Lake Michigan. At least for my next stop on the tour I’ll be returning to a place I know…and this time when I see that schnazzy Honda Civic or that bright blue sporty vehicle, I’ll know just who I’m waving to!