Sunday, March 16, 2014

Travels with Brent

Welcome to the blog.  In this post you'll be whisked away to "the first state"!  That's right!  We're going to Delaware!

STOP!  DON'T LEAVE!  The post will not be that boring.  I promise.  Please.  Don't leave...

The trip has some back story involved so kick your feet up, get cozy in your snuggie, and travel with me back to 2005!

I was a year removed from high school and I owned life.  I was livin' with my mom, wasn't going to college, had hair down to my shoulders, and I was working at Hollywood Video.  I basically had life figured out.

I was hanging out with some high school chums and we went over to their friend's apartment (which was amazing because I knew someone who knew someone who didn't live with their parents).  We were sitting there on the couch of his cozy one bedroom apartment, feeling all adult like, looking around at the tenant's drawrings taped up on the walls.  Sitting across from us was a quiet guy named Brent.  It took a while to get his name out because he had an accent where the end of his name vanished (we thought his name was Brin (which in hindsight makes me look like an idiot)).  He had followed love all the way to from Donaldsonville, Louisiana to Canton, Ohio.  The friend of a friend who let Brent live in his apartment (we'll call him Alex) did not know Brent.  Alex knew Brent's girlfriend.  Brent was a nice guy and for the next couple weeks I would hang out with my friends and Brent, minus Alex.

One night we went to get Brent and he was having a discussion with his roommate.  He was getting the boot.  I'm fairly certain that there was no good reason why he was being kicked out, or else I'd probably remember.  Brent's girlfriend also gave him the preemptive boot by letting him know that her parents would not allow him to live with them.  So now there's a guy thrown out to live on his own, half a country away from his homeland.  What do you do?

Without consulting my landlord (mom) I asked him to live with me.  We spent a lot of time together over the next few weeks and our friendship blossomed.

Fast forward to last Wednesday (I would need more blog posts to fill you in on the time in between).  Brent was to start a new job on March 17th in Canton, Ohio, and he was living with his dad and step mother (a year and a half ago he was brought from Ohio to his dad's, in Delaware).  He did not have a car so I was going to be driving him to Ohio on March 14th.  We were texting back and forth, about our upcoming adventures, and he let me know that his step mother told him, his sister, and his sister's fiancé that not only are they not allowed to shower, they would have to clean themselves in the sink...

I don't know if I just have a hero complex but I that angered me a bit.  I consulted with my beautifully understanding wife and she was ok with us bumping the trip up a week.  Two days later I would be on my way to Delaware and then the heart of it all, Ohio!  ROAD TRIP!!

Friday at 4:30 p.m. came and I was on the road.  Straight up US interstate 95.  Travels were smooth until I hit Washington D.C. and Baltimore traffic.  I'm not a perfect man.  Never claim to be!  There is just something about traffic that brings out the worst in me.  I got through the traffic, without any arrest warrants filed, and arrived in Delaware.  Another minor beef about the first leg of the trip: $14.00 in tolls.  Four dollars of that came directly after crossing into Delaware.  NOT a great first impression.  Just sayin..

Since Delaware is about 20 ft in surface area, I soon arrived at Brent's dad's and boy was it awkward!  Brent's dad was fine.  He even thanked me for driving his son, which I appreciated.  It was more with his step mom..

Me: Hi, my name is Thomas *start to extend out hand for handshake*

SM: hi *arms crossed with a flick of the wrist as a wave*

We had a rough plan for time at his dad's: I would sleep a few hours then we'd hit the road.  I don't know if it was the red hot traffic blood flowing through my veins, seeing Brent for the first time in over a year, or the dangerously high levels of awkwardness and tension, but I didn't want to sleep.  We ride for Canton!

We got some unhealthy fast food for dinner and off we went through the back highways of Pennsylvania (not a single toll).  The two of us caught up, listened to some podcasts, stopped for gas and snacks, made obscure pop culture references (it's kind of our thing) and covered a lot of ground.

Side note: we drove through Harrisburg, PA.  If you don't remember, I almost interviewed for an Underwriter position in a service center in Harrisburg.  Leading up to the potential interview, Aimee and I took a virtual tour of the city online and didn't give us the warm and fuzzies.  The drive through was definitely confirmation that we made the right choice.

We were outside of Pittsburgh when I made the first rest stop.  I was able to get an hour of sleep then we were back on the road!  Kinda..  I couldn't drive too much longer without sleepiness taking control of me, so we stopped for another hour...  Once the sun came up I was feeling good.  It just so happened that it started coming up soon after hitting the Ohio border.  Just kidding.  It just got brighter when we hit Ohio.  The sun comes out about 10 times a year in Northeast Ohio.  I didn't notice this till I moved to Virginia, where I see is most days of the week.

The two of us finally got to Canton and our logical stop was Dennys.  The same Dennys I had frequented when I was the master of my own destiny was the welcome to Ohio I had been looking for.  We marveled at the flat screen TVs installed.  The future had hit Canton but some things never change.  For instance, a booth of drunk guys with neck tattoos getting up every 5 minutes to go outside and smoke (Ohio does not allow any indoor smoking in restaurants/bars/etc).  Ahh yes.  Home!

During my one day in Ohio I was able to see friends and family.  My time was bitter sweet knowing my wife and girls were at home.  My wife probably would have switched places with me if she could (not knowing what I was typing she LITERALLY just said "I can't wait for my sister to get hereeeee")  I was fairly certain that my mom didn't even want me there without her granddaughters...  That is definitely a joke because she hugged me so hard I'm sure something inside me came loose.  She also sent me home with a roast, a Mountain Dew energy drink, multiple bottles of water, a jar of Mids spaghetti sauce, a package of spaghetti, a bag of Gold'n Krisp potato chips (for my wife), and a chunk of cheese (also a big shout out to my in-laws for giving me work books and stickers to bring home to the girls).

Between Delaware and Ohio I asked Brent about how it felt when he had gone back home.  He said the feeling is weird and indescribable and that fits.  It's not a bad weird.  It's just weird..  The world you left continues on without you.

Ok well maybe that road trip wasn't as exciting as I promised...  Watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles if you want a real road trip.

Thanks for reading.

Oh wait!  This is an active/running/triathlon themed(ish) blog...  I brought my bike home!  Wooo!

Ok.  Thanks again for reading!  My next post will be about my plans when my wife and girls are away from me for three weeks.  Or it'll be about being content.  I don't know.  Maybe it'll be about both or about none of those topics.

You'll have to wait and see won't you!?!

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