March 4th, 2010
I just drove the southwest route down highway 81 from New York to Charlotte, North Carolina. I know what you’re thinking, “Jax can type and drive...at the same time!?” She is so capable, committed and is probably working on tomorrow’s blog entry entitled, “Death on the Highway – A Girl and Her Laptop’s Erotic Journey from New York to Charlotte.” Despite my (real or perceived) attempts at badassness, I am not putting my life on the line in the name of multitasking. It’s my grandmother’s 90th birthday and I’m participating in a 10 ½ road trip with my father and stepmother to get to this celebration. And to the 60 steaks Grandma bought for the weekend.
Don’t be jealous that I’ve seen more Cracker Barrels in the last few hours than you might ever see in your lifetime. We are in this together. Yes indeed. Memories in the making. Readers, we’ve become so close and I want my memories to be your memories. I will share with you the highlights of each state that we passed through.
I stayed at my father’s in Westchester, New York last night so we could get an early start at 7:30am. Although there was a little disappointment around leaving fifteen minutes late, we persevered and entered the car equipped with determination, granola and eco-friendly water bottles. Team Kabat could have been a promising contender in the “Cannonball Run.” Two. I was a little thrown off when I realized that the female GPS voice had a disturbing audio resemblance to the faux Madonna British accent. My dad told my stepmother that we weren’t stopping and then asked her, “Did you put on your diaper?”
Not too much to say about New Jersey except that it’s a good place to pass through. In the dark. It was here that we decided to begin our 16 disc book on tape, Pat Conroy's “South of Broad.” Although we are nowhere near the end, I am picking up that the overall message is that tragedy hurls into all our lives and that sinking to our lower depths allows us redemption and a significant soul cleansing. A light read.
(More specifically…Western Pennsylvania)
Although there were some notable scenic views, it was the exaggeration of the industrial way of life that caught my attention. I would imagine this would be a suitable locale for truckers and strippers to retire. Our voyage’s rising action really kicked in when a light indicating a flat tire came on and the OnStar customer service woman directed us to the closest BMW dealership in….Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Mechanicsburg? You can’t write this shit. You can find it right between Plumbersburg and Marinebiologistburg. After an inspection, we were informed that the one tire was fine. It was the other three that were punctured. While the car was getting surgery, we ended up eating a lunch of Sun Chips and pretzels from the waiting area’s vending machines. My blood sugar gave me the finger.
We only passed through Maryland for five minutes and that’s when I received a text from my brother in San Francisco that said, "Flight canceled. Looking for options. Not good.” He and his wife were trying to reschedule in the midst of airport chaos with their three year old. And one year old. Injured tires didn’t seem too bad.
Our drive through West Virginia was also very brief but it was nice to be greeted with a sign that said, “West Virginia, Wild and Wonderful.” This was good to know because I always thought it was just one of the two. Dad says, “West Virginia, 5 million people. 3 last names.”
To our dismay, the tire light went on again so we called the dealership in Mechanicsburg. We were assured that the light is a frequent glitch after changing tires. Oh BMW…you really keep us on our toes. Unfortunately my brother wasn't able to rebook until tomorrow. Feeling a little bummed, I decided to read a few pages in my book, “Awakening Intuition.” Then my intuition told me to go back to the book on tape.We passed through the Shenandoah Valley that is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains. I started humming John Denver songs and got sad thinking about the Halloween after he died when I saw people dressed up as him wearing a guitar. And seaweed. That was wrong.
We finally made it to my home state. North Carol-tucky might have low SAT scores…but according to our license plate, we are “First in Flight.” We got to my cousin’s house, drank some scotch and were talking about what an amazing tribute it is to my grandmother that 35 relatives are coming in from all over the country to celebrate her strength. And her heart. Harriet Kabat. There can be only one. Like Mechanicsburg.