This is post number 1000 since we switched "Something I learned today" over to Blogger. That's like 997 posts more than any high school English teacher would have ever predicted. Fortunately for us, this isn't Gilgamesh. I can much better handle stream of consciousness.
Before I get started on the "journey" theme, let me first tell you something I actually learned. Last night I sat down to eat a very late dinner. As I was taking that first scrumscious bite into my burger, I thought I felt the apartment move. Ever since I moved to California I'll freak out when the ground shakes. 999 times out of 1000, it's a plane overhead or a big truck driving by or a neighbor slamming a door shut. (The one time happened to be a 5.0 type earthquake a few years back. I noticed it was coming when my water bottle went all concentric water circles, Jurassic Park moments before the building shook.) After I grabbed the couch like a scared little girl, I heard a door slam upstairs, so I got mad at myself for freaking out. A half hour later, I get a call from my neighbor. She asks, "Did you feel the earthquake?" She was watching the news and they confirmed there was an earthquake. Immediately, I check online, wanting to know the magnitude and epicenter. It was one of those good news / bad news situations. The good news? It was only a 3.0 magnitude. The bad news (and what I learned)? The epicenter was essentially under my feet. I was under the impression that there were no fault lines for at least 50 miles. If by "miles" you mean "feet", then you're not too far off.
In recent days I drove back and forth through the Mojave Desert on I-15. So, in keeping with the idea of a "journey" (it's a stretch, I know), here are some stories from the road in no particular order.
On the drive back, I had an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach. I probably shouldn't admit this in such a public forum, but it almost feel premonition-like. For example, a few days before I got pulled over for no front license plate, I had a strange sinking feeling that I needed to put one on, after a year and a half of not having one. Lo and behold, I get pulled over for the first time ever. With that uneasy feeling, I pass a giant sign that says, "California Desert Conservation Area". Now, I've been misled and mistaken many times before. But, uh, aren't we more generally concerned with conserving arable land?
According to the local radio station (which for some reason is on both FM 98 and 99) the winds were gusting at 30 to 35 miles per hour. Tomorrow the gusts were predicted to be 60 miles per hour. Yikes. These wind gusts were helping my already shaky confidence. It was to the point where I was even ready to go "The Secret" on the universe and start thinking positive thoughts and all that quacky, pseudo science stuff. I can't tell you why I was feeling so uneasy. I just was and couldn't shake it. Initially the plan was to stop at the first of two Oregon Trail-ish outposts for gas. The first stop would have been Baker. I kept checking my odometer and gas gauge and decided that I could make it another 60 miles to Barstow before making my stop. I figured that would shake up whatever goofy karma was floating around. (Doesn't Barstow sound very Oregon Trail?)
Only 11 miles from Baker (the first outpost), I felt a giant rumble in my tummy. Over the next 10 minutes, it became clear that I wasn't going to make it to Barstow without a bathroom stop. I pull into Baker and fill up at a Shell. (At $3.72 for regular, no less). I hardly finish filling up when I make a B-line for their bathroom. Now, I won't go into bathroom details, but at some point during my dookie, the guy in the next stall starts tapping his foot. Now, I don't know about you, but if it wasn't for that Congressman (I forget his name), I wouldn't have thought twice about the foot tapping. Instead I laughed to myself and somehow found myself wiping a little quicker.
Here's the crazy part. We're going to need a visual here for accuracy. My car is facing to the right and is in front of the gas pump, just like it would be if you were filling up. You know how there are metal barriers shaped like upside down U's protecting the gas pumps? As I walk in front of my car to get to the driver's side, there's a giant black bird on that upside down U. And by giant, I mean, the biggest bird I've ever seen up close. Like, a foot and half big. It had one good foot and one that was mangled and curled under that it sort of just used for balance. Given my prior uneasiness, this bird kind of Edgar Allen Poe-d me. He looked directly at me as I stopped short of making it to entirely around my hood. I froze for a second and decided to continue walking. The bird made eye contact with me the entire time. We were no more than 3 feet apart, and the bird was silently telling me that I was on his turf and to just go on my way. So I did.
Nothing bad ending up happening on that drive back. I got home safe. Due to the winds and the spring weather, my windshield somehow massacred hundreds of bugs along the way. It's gross and I have no idea how to get the guts off.
In the year 2012 when I write post number 2000, I will fondly look back at today for some odd reason. Because I'll do that, I leave myself a time capsule video that will more than likely not exist in four years. Even so, I feel obligated to remind my future self of my current inexplicable desire to hear Rihanna's "Umbrella".