Friday, July 1, 2011

Relationships built through road trips

I believe that you really get to know a person when you're stuck together on a long road trip.

In the early summer of 1990, my boyfriend and I drove from Bowling Green, Ohio to Tallahassee, Florida to find an apartment for my next academic pursuit. We had been dating for two years by then. He was staying at BGSU to teach, I was starting my doctorate in bassoon performance at FSU.

It was a pretty non-eventful trip straight down interstate 75. We followed many car carriers originating from Detroit. Those drivers were my most regular customers at the hotel bar right off the highway. I felt an odd kinship with each driver I passed. Bikers, too.

We drove straight; fifteen hours with just a few rest stops. We stayed in a Red Roof Inn while we looked for a decent place close enough to campus so I could sell my car.

Settled on one in a day- 1 mile away from the music building. Cock roaches weren't too scary.

Signed the lease, paid the security deposit, gassed up, and headed west to Pensacola to stay with his cousin who was an Air Force pilot. He and his wife were stationed at Panama City base (I think). It had a beautiful beach access before Hurricane David (or whatever hurricane was after 1990). They were a young couple, married for a while; lived Germany for a few years before this assignment. She was expecting their first baby. We were wondering how babies would change her life style. She has a huge appetite for life.

The only weird thing about the visit was they offered us a full sized bed to share. We weren't married. She sensed our awkwardness and said, "Tell me you're not doing it." We laughed and got real.

We only stayed two days. We decided to take Interstate 65 north back to Ohio through Alabama-Indiana and over. When we got close to Birmingham, we decided to take the highwaynthroughh the city instead of the by-pass.

The closer we got to downtown Birmingham, we realized there was an event going on. When the road made its way in front of city hall, we saw a line of police protecting a line of KKK demonstrators from an angry mob In the park across the street. As we drove slowly beside the KKK, I flipped the bird to every one of them-vigorously.

My boyfriend threatened to shove me out of the car if the Rented Geo Metro 3-cylinder engine wouldn't pick up enough speed in time before we got grabbed by the hoods. I was raised a bleeding heart liberal who would not stand for bigotry, no matter how much right they had to express their free sppech. He grew up in Detroit. He knew righteousness had its place. This wasn't it.

We made it through unscathed. We also made it to the alter.
19 years this coming August.

#15 of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe

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