This post is best understood after listing to “Long White Line” by Sturgill Simpson. Long White Line
A few months ago I ripped up my shallow roots in Arizona to move to the majestic Pacific Northwest; Seattle specifically.
It was a rough move. I was on an island in Arizona having only moved there 8 months prior. It was an abrupt and arduous task with my only glimmer of hope was having a few close work friends help move a few heavy loads down and the selfless assistance of an Oklahomie (Oklahoma Homie) who flew out to Phoenix, loaded me up and took to the road with me.
What a beautiful thing. In many ways, this network of asphalt and paint is what literally holds this nation together. Moving product, services, families, friends, and dreams. Dreams of a new life, new friends, and old hopes. It’s the road that carries this for us all. That is what makes the road way more important than the destination.
Phoenix to Seattle along the Pacific Coast Highway. This was one HELL of a road trip. A desert exodus into the mist of crashing waves along the California coast. Rolling on true north through tall trees and winding ways we made our way to Ballard- Seattle, Washington.
Again, the destination isn’t as important and the road or the ride. I believe this trip was a symbiotic healing process. I was wound tight (who are we kidding, I always am,) stressed and scared. My Oklahomie deals with a lot of anxiety any worry. Like me, he finds himself often finds it hard to leave his apartment.
It all started with a text
I mentioned to some friends in a group chat that I had fooled my employer once again to get a promotion and was granted relocation to Seattle. My Oklahomie mentioned if I took the PCH up to Seattle he would join me. I held him to it.
It was a rough start but we made it out of Phoenix. Instantly I could feel the moving stress melt away. It was now time for the worry of starting over to bubble up. The mixture of feeling had become too much so I decided to let my friend take control- of the car. This is a rarity. But it served as the most meaningful action I had taken in a long time.
What did I do? I slept. Strung out and wasted I began to refuel. It was also nice that when I was awake I had the PCH as my gallery. It was nice letting go. I feel this was also something special for my friend. He was driving the PCH! Not very many Midwesterners can say they have done this. So it was special. He values these special moments amongst America’s splendor. This was the break we both needed.
We got to chatting about how crazy our friendship and our shared journey started. Two friends who met at a soccer bar; one an ADHD extrovert and the other a calm and collected introvert.
My version: (at the bar) I need players for my soccer team. There is an athletic dude, he is a ginger but F’it I’ll see if he is open to joining my team.
His version (my sarcasm): Man, I love soccer but my game isn’t on at home. It’s on at the bar, but there are people at the bar. Also, who drinks at 8am on a Sunday morning?! This drunk guy just came up and hugged and asked me to join his soccer team. I agreed, but I don’t know if it was to get him off me or because I was sold on the opportunity.
Here we are 4 years after the bar “hook up” and we are driving up the PCH. No way that could have been predicted. Through ups and downs for both of us and our mutual friends, we remain close. Up for adventures or a few beers.
I love that about life. we find friends or passengers along for the ride. A lot of them jump off at their stop, very few linger and refuse to get out. These ones are the types I set out for. They make MY trip worth it.
I am a passenger in life. Like an old dog, I want as many rides as I can get. I want feeling, adventure and a story to tell. I know it all won’t be sunshine on my shoulders (may he rest in peace) but that is the point. I love to drive and I am learning to be a great co-pilot. It isn’t easy but it is rewarding to see others take the wheel.
I am thankful for my drivers, and the passengers I pick along my way. I have learned so much from these people and I hope I can return the favor.
In reference to the featured photo, this is Walter. Walter is dying. His human; my friend has made sure he has had a great ride in life as well as continues to take him for rides.
I can only hope my human and pet friends know how much I love our rides as well.
He isn’t gone yet, so I am sure you will see more of Walter.
Find a friend, find a tune, and go for a road trip.