It turns out that “Six days, five bags of jerky, four suitcases, three people, two (thousand) miles, and one car” does not a good title make, but I bet you just tried to sing that to tune.
Another accurate title would be “Six days in America without vegetables”, because the only place we saw any (not deep-fried) between April 15th and 21st was in Chicago, which is also where I sent the bill back to the bar at a jazz club because I didn’t understand how two cocktails, a glass of wine, and a beer could total $33 and was sure that the bartender had forgotten to put something on the tab (he laughed at me and reminded me that Chicago prices are not New York prices).
Since we’ve last spoken, I’ve spent ten hours in Bangkok, six hours in Beijing, around 16 hours in London, and six days in New York, which I spent valiantly stuffing myself with pizza, cookie dō (ugh), and bagels, all the while attending both Passover seders and promptly passing out on the couch during dessert from a combination of jet lag and four glasses of wine. I have pleaded (successfully) with an Air India desk agent to let me check my massively overweight suitcase without any fees and have overcome a uniquely unpleasant case of jet lag. Oh, and my parents casually flew the Austrian into town to surprise me when I got home and somehow no one thought about convincing me to put makeup on before getting home. So, you know, I looked like I had been on four planes in three days (if the shoe fits, I suppose), but I also got to see my boyfriend for the first time in 3.5 months, so that was also kind of cool.
After six days of blasphemy (aka pigging out on carbs during the only holiday that forbids exactly that), we began the drive out to Denver. Other than Chicago, stops on the trip, as shown in the map above, included a town in Pennsylvania; one night in Cleveland, henceforth referred to as Zombieville and featuring approximately three people in the entire city; Des Moines, full of tornado warnings and corn; and a place in Nebraska called Ogallala (I am not joking), which is the proud home to a restaurant that boasts a cowboy shootout on Tuesdays in the summer (also not joking) and something called “chicken fried steak” (still not joking).
With nearly a week in Denver under my belt, it seems like driving across the country was a necessary way to see the non-coastal states, since Denver seems to be a very coastal-esque oasis in the middle of the wild west. It’s also a great way to (semi-)legally drive at 80 mph – the speed limit seems to be consistently 75 west of the Mississippi (I learned how to spell that word from watching Matilda, and yes, I did say semi-legally).
Now with a permanent mailing address, a dining table, a bed, a couch, and a cute little fig tree (necessary), I think I can comfortably say that I’ve settled into Denver. I have a constant dull headache, my skin is parched, and I get a hangover from a single beer, but you know, these things take care of themselves (attention body: please double red blood cell count ASAP). In the meantime, alcohol is cheap, rent is cheap, I have a view of the Rockies from the highway, and I’m a three hour flight from pizza, Rita, and my parents. What could be bad?