This time, I am blogging while in motion. It will only be August for another half hour, and I have neglected this blog most of the summer. Tonight, I am riding on the upper level of a Megabus heading west toward Cincinnati and Indianapolis. My final destination will be St. Louis, arriving there about 2:15 p.m. Central Daylight Savings Time. This being Megabus, I will not be going the direct route, down Interstate 70. I will be on this coach all the way to Chicago, due to arrive there at 6:45 a.m. local time. Once the bus leaves Indianapolis, it will turn north and head up Interstate 65.
Just like I did when I made this trek in 2011, I will have an hour or so to wait at Union Station near Jackson Blvd., and then I’ll be southbound through Illinois on Interstate 55. (I wish I could throw in an allusion about rolling up the Interstate “like a rocket sled on rails,” but C.W. McCall’s immortal song refers to Interstate 44, which does go through St. Louis, but mostly crosses Texas and Oklahoma.) I guess I could throw in a line from Edward Albee’s Zoo Story: “Sometimes a person has to go a very long distance out of his way in order to come back a short distance correctly.”
And my mission is the same. I am visiting my friend John, whom I met 34 years ago this month at Circle Pines Center in Delton, Mich. John is in a wheelchair and requires full-time care because of his multiple sclerosis, and is in an assisted living facility near the Delmar Loop. We communicate by text messages and Skype calls, but this time it is different. John will soon be moving to Madison to live closer to his brother, so the next time I visit him it will be in Madison.
I am also reuniting with a mutual friend of John’s and mine, Alex, whom I also meet at Circle Pines. We were there for OPIK ’79, a Midwestern get-together of members of Liberal Religious Youth, which was the Unitarian Universalist church’s youth group at the time. OPIK (rhymes with topic) was an acronym for Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Kentucky. The reason it took place in Michigan in 1979 is a long story that will only further bore the reader.
I am also making my first visit to the Gateway Arch since 1993. On that trip, the Mississippi River was running wild as part of the Great Flood of 1993, and from the Arch I could see Laclede’s Landing completely underwater, and the whole area around the Arch looking like Venice.
I am also celebrating the end of another semester of moonlighting at the Columbus State bookstore, which was 2½ hours per night four nights a week, and eight-hour Saturdays. I will receive a decent paycheck on the 13th, but I was coming home, eating not very well or healthily, and then falling into bed, only to repeat the cycle the next day.
Right now, it’s time for a confession: Writing in the blog tonight was Plan B. I don’t want to overextend this laptop, because I left the power cord in Columbus. I put it on the coffee table where I wouldn’t forget it, walked by, looked at it, and proceeded out the front door. I remembered it when I unzipped my knapsack.
My first plan was to write in my diary, but the driver has disabled all the reading lights, so I can’t see the page (at least not until after daybreak) to write in there. Right now, we are on Interstate 71, headed toward Cincinnati, where this coach will make its first stop. Odd to be going to Cincinnati and not ending the journey there.
This blog is beginning to sound like the “traveling tapes” I used to make whenever my parents and I took a road trip–even if it was only the 11 miles to Belpre. (I made longer tapes–on multiple cassettes–when we went to Richmond, Va.)
I’ll log off for now.