passenger side of the Ozarks

by Berck

After driving a full tank of gas from West Memphis, AR to Ozark, AR, I was getting a bit sleepy. Joanna wanted to sit on the south side of the car which is quite a bit warmer than the pax seat. And she’s right, even my toes get cold on this side. Since there’s no sun shining on them on either side, I’m not sure why they don’t get so cold on the driver’s side.

Since Joanna’s driving, I get to journal now. I think she’s better at it than I am, so it’s probably fortunate she’s been doing it lately.

I tend to do most of the driving. Joanna doesn’t really care if she drives or not usually. She almost never asks to drive but is always willing. I, on the other hand, prefer to drive for several reasons. I’m a much better driver than I am a passenger. I tend to get rather uncomfortable with someone else driving. Joanna is a better driver than most people I’ve ridden with, but she still bothers me from time to time. It has something to do with the fact that she takes risks where I wouldn’t, though she’s a more cautious driver overall. Another reason I tend to drive is that the passenger seat of the miata is significantly more cramped than the driver’s seat. This situation isn’t helped by the fact that Joanna tends to nest, stashing things everywhere. Generally it’s stuff we both use, but she’s more tolerant of things in her space than I am. So we have to find a place to put it all when we switch drivers. If she’s got sunflower seeds (one of her fondest road-trip habits) then she’s sure to scatter whole seeds around the car and shells around the world.

It looks like classes just let out of Sallisaw High School. Interstate driving is generally pretty boring, but when you’re just trying to get across the southwest, or the midwest or southmidwest whatever Oklahoma is, there’s no other way that much makes sense. We’ll abandon interstates once we start heading down to Big Bend, TX, and we’ll probably avoid them for most of the rest of the trip. We’ve got a pretty good idea of what we’re going to do on the way out west and north but not on the way back. Most of the things that I think I want to do are probably a bad idea in the winter in a miata without snow tires.

I’m moving to Oklahoma. As we cross the state at 79mph the idea is just starting to settle in my head. I certainly never would have picked Oklahoma as the place to live, but hopefully it won’t be very long. I’ve wanted to go to flight school for so long now that I have a hard time believing that I’ll actually pull it off this time around. The only piece of the puzzle that strikes me as difficult at this point is how long it will take Joanna to find a job. She’s convinced that it won’t be a problem, but I’m not nearly as optimistic. Job hunting has got to be one of the worst parts of living in our society. It’s time consuming, exhausting, degrading, and often not very rewarding. The present economical situation won’t make it any easier.

I hope we’re not too terribly cold trying to camp out west. I really need some warmer clothes. Thermal underwear, more layers… A sweatshirt or something might be nice too. Boots will be important. Boots. Boots were an ordeal.

I thought I would go to REI in Atlanta and buy a pair of the boots that I wore across Europe in 2000. When we got there, we discovered that they were, surprisingly enough, still making that specific boot. Delighted, I asked for a pair in 10-1/2 Wide. They didn’t have that size. Nor did the other REI in Atlanta. Nor did REI’s mail order warehouse. They were, however, able to tell me that the boots I wanted did exist in the size I wanted in Dallas. I called the store in Dallas, and while they wouldn’t hold them for more than 3 days, they were willing to let me buy them over the phone and wait for me to pick them up. I hope they’re the right size… I tried to find out what size I ordered in 2000, and it seems that REI does actually retain this information. Unfortunately, it requires someone digging through the archives in Seattle, and that would take a couple of weeks. By which time I hope to already be in possession of the boots.

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