Sunday, April 1, 2007

Road Trip!

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted, but I've been doing a lot of traveling lately. Thank God, a lot of relatives and friends of mine are getting married, so I've been attending weddings for the past week or so. I flew into New York this past Friday for my cousin's impending marriage the following sunday. We ( my parents and I ) stayed at my sister's in- law's house in Riverdale for shabbos, where I shared a room with a non religious young Israeli guy, who was in the U.S. for the summer.
The family that my sister married into is very involved with the terrorism situation in Eretz Yisroel. Her brother and sister in law started the One Family Fund, which gives aid to victims of terrorism and their families. In any case, this Israeli guy had just gotten out of the army, and his brother was killed in a suicide bombing. Now that he's in the states, the family was more than happy to give him a place to stay. So, the guy was very polite and respectful, and he didn't do anything in the room over shabbos while I was there. We ended up shmoozing quite a bit, and chilled out together on motzei shabbos. In all, I think I made a good impression, and certainly hope I made a friend.
The wedding was on Sunday night. Now, I'm very close with this cousin, as I've written before. Before the chuppa, she called for me, and when I came over to her, she gave me the most beautiful bracha, and I was really touched. Although I don't think that our relationship is the same as it used to be, and won't ever be the same, now that she's married, that blessing of hers meant a lot to me, and really made all the difference towards my enjoyment of the wedding.
Moving along......
My parents decided that they were going to stay in the tri-state area so as to make sheva brachos along with the other aunts and uncles. I, having things I needed to take care of in Cleveland, opted to leave earlier. A cousin of mine from Cleveland who recently got engaged was moving back from New York to Cleveland, and he was driving. He asked if I'd mind, and since this fitted perfectly with what I needed, we made up that we'd head out on monday afternoon.
Easier said than done.
First of all, his apartment was a mess. A freakin' pigsty. I loved it! Still, he hadn't packed, and had no idea where most of the things he needed most were. Once he was finished with that, we were left with the task of emptying his fish tank out, since he needed to take it to Cleveland. This posed another problem: what to do with the fish.
We ended up filling a Hefty garbage bag with water and dumping the smelly cratures inside. There's a "whole technique" my cousin keeps telling me, as we sweat and slave over this stupid time wasting excuse for a hobby. How to pour the water, how to take the fish out, etc., etc., blah blah blah. We finally hit the road at about six in the evening.
First Stop: Nowheresville, New York; 13 miles from Pennysylvania state line.
We pull into a little gas station. My cuz goes to fill up the car, I step inside to use the john. One of the things I enjoy about rest stops in the middle of nowhere is reading the colorful graffiti on the walls in the bathrooms. It gives an insight into the minds of weary travelers in this great country, as they trek through the countryside. It tells us amazing things about the traveler. It lets us in on things we wouldn't otherwise know: people are bored. And horny. And can't spell all that well, either.
So, I'm taking care of business while I'm studying the creative expression in this porcelain gallery. It seems there was a Jackson Pollack student in the third stall; nothing else of real consideration, and then I notice it: the classifieds of the bathroom, where you can leave a number; the redneck's Craigslist. Except this time, there are two messages, the likes I've never seen before: there, written in childlike scrawls, were two messages.
The first: Yoel was here!
The second: Call Moshe for a good time! and then a 718 number.
I have pictures on a camera phone, and when I can, I will upload them so all can see.
Second stop: Kissingcusins, Pennysylvania; 115 miles left until Ohio state line.
I'd been driving for the past few hours, and I started getting drowsy. We pulled into another little gas station, and I went in to get a coffee while my cousin went to the bathroom. I get into the line to pay, and the cashier tells me it's gonna be a while, because they just decided to empty their cash drawer. So I tell her that's okay, and I turn to the guy in front of me, who happens to be around 6'2" (not including the mullet), and shrug my shoulders.
Me: Patience is a virtue, man...( the big guy looks at me, and gives me a big grin)
Him: You ain't from around here, are ya?
Me: Nope, Ohio.
Him: Ah....
Me: Born and bred.
Him: well, I pity you that, son.
Me: Is that right?
Him: Yep.
Me: You from Pennysylvania?
Him: Yep.
Me: And what, exactly, is the difference between Ohio and Pennysylvania?
Him: Less people.
Me: So?
Him: More quieter. Peaceful, like.
Me: Okay....( then he turns to me, and gives me a creepy look)
Him: and, with less people, less worry about getting killed. Where I'm from, you don't have to lock the door.
Me:... ( that's because every house is insured by Smith and Wesson, I think to myself) Well, Ohio's not all that bad.
Him: You don't leave your house too often, do ya?
Me: Actually, I go to school in Jersey. It's much worse there, and I walk around all the time.
Him: Well, then, I reckon you're just a brave fella, aren't ya?
By that time, we had paid for our stuff, so I broke off the conversation politely, and headed back to my car before our little chat went in the "Shoot, but you got a purty bottom, son..." direction.....
The rest of the trip was basically uneventful. It took about 8 hours, and was pretty enjoyable. Just chilling with my cousin, swapping music, talking about what's gonna was fun.

Originally posted Wednesday, 24 August 2005

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