(This is a repost from an old blog dated August 17, 2007. It feels like cheating, but heavens to Murgatroyd, daily blog posts are tough to keep up with!)
As the first real vacation in almost two years, I decided that the trip to Turkey via California and Belgium should be a good one filled with transportational question marks and as many random experiences as possible.
And what better way to begin than a rideshare to LA through Craigslist, amalgam of all that is random and strange? All the more ironic to begin a journey to a carfree conference in a car.
I had started looking a couple of weeks beforehand and responded to two ads before getting a response from one fellow traveling from Seattle to LA. As soon as he said his name was Brian, I knew it was all going to be okay; my dad, brother, and former roommate are all named Brian, and all of them are luminous fellas. This particular Brian was going down to LA to do Cate Blanchett’s face for Curious Case of Benjamin Button (his team won an Academy Award that year! Go Team!).
Brian picked me up from work in Portland, and we started south. I was wondering how a long drive with a new acquaintance would be. How was it, you may well ask? A 15-hour conversation blitz! Topics: what is it about our fellow Americans that promulgates celebrities and reality TV shows? What IS scary, and how does one depict, say, a monster, in makeup? How is it that one can point to something in China, ask about it in Chinese, and not be understood? What does one do for fun in Mozambique?
And not only was the company sparkling, but it was, remarkably, a great prologue to the Carfree Conference. When one’s primary transportation is a bicycle, one forgets certain conventions such as, say, the highway clover leaf. Hypnotic, unyielding, monomodal clover leafs. The ballet of cars and trucks between lanes. Lack of turn signal use in California. The complete absence of bikes or peds along stretches of road. Drive-thrus. I TOTALLY forgot about drive-thrus. Gas stations with adjacent motels.
So at the end of a long drive, we wound up on Jan, Ed and Kevin’s doorstep. Thanks for driving, Brian! You’re fabulous.
What I learned at life that day: Sometimes, leaning into the unknown adventure pays off.
Featured image credit: Jacopo Werther