Truthfully, at my core, I am an intensely active person. I need constant stimulation, like a border collie puppy: THROW MORE FRISBEES OR I’LL EAT THIS COUCH CUSHION.
If you’ve been reading this blog from the start, then you know that as a general rule, I like to have anywhere between two and two million plates in the air at any time. Running a half marathon, training for a full marathon, participating in an outdoor fitness class that meets rain, shine or snow at 6am in a dark field somewhere, balancing a full graduate course load, freelance writing on the side and still finding time to get drunk on patios with my friends might make me sound pretty Type A, but it’s all a trick of inertia. Once you start an activity, it’s easy enough to continue, especially if you find that activity enjoyable.
Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. Take away those activities – put me in a hospital bed for a week or my living room’s chaise lounge for a month while I convalesce and fall in love all over again with Elliot Stabler (and Olivia Benson, whatever, we’re all a little gay) – and all of the sudden it’s like I’m one of those tamagotchis you reset by sticking a bobby pin into a button on the back. I forgot virtually all the tasks I used to be so adept at, like running or doing my own dishes or being any kind of functional human being at all. I morphed into a vaguely person-shaped conglomerate of blankets, TV remotes and bowls full of macaroni and cheese. The radioactive kind you make in the microwave. Sorry I’m not sorry.
Some primal laziness mode was activated in me. I was literally inventing new ways to be lazy. For example, sometimes I want/need to wash my face, but then I look at the sink and I’m all like, “Aw man, I gotta wait for this thing to heat up, and then I gotta bend down and get my face all in there, and rub soap in my eyes, and splash water all over my clothes inevitably, and it’s just gonna be SUCH A HASSLE.” And then I’m like, “Screw this, I’m just gonna shower.”
Because, you guys! When you’re bald, a shower and washing your face honestly take about the same amount of time. I’m going to get undressed to put my jammies on anyway, so whatever. The shower heats up instantaneously, while the sink must wait for the ancient hearths to strike the heated irons or some other archaic nonsense that takes, like, 5 whole minutes. So boom – hop in the shower, wash my face, towel off, put on jammies. DONE.
So in a way, my laziness is actually the mother of progress, because I’m so lazy that I’ll go out of my way to come up with new ways of doing things just to be able to do them in a way that more conforms to my laziness ideals. I have no proof of this, like not even a shred, but I bet Thomas Edison invented the light bulb because that sonbitch was sick of striking matches and buying (making? I have a poor grasp of historical commerce) candles.
But, like the border collie puppy, I can only be lazy for so long before I need to go run aimlessly in circles in the backyard for two hours while barking at the decibel level of a regional jet until the neighbors start asking themselves why they didn’t get little Jimmy that BB gun for Christmas last year after all.
And that is why, dear readers, against all common sense and possibly some medical advice (?), I am driving from Richmond, Virginia to Los Angeles, California over the next seven days.
A lot of people have asked me about my travel, and whether or not I feel up to all of the stuff I’ve been doing over the last couple months of my treatment. Truthfully, I feel like absolute ass for the week following my infusion, so during that time I usually do hibernate with Netflix and string cheese, ignoring all calls and snapping at my parents. But for the two weeks after that, I’m good to go! Aside from some lingering fatigue and a passing moment of nausea here and there, I feel up to all the things I’m doing, and it’s been paying off.
I got a job (!) in New York (!!) and it starts in less than four weeks (!!!). I’m immensely thrilled about this and I just realized that even though it happened officially a couple of weeks ago, I neglected to mention it here. So anyway, as happy as I am about my job (and I genuinely am excited to get started in a creative career), there are some things I want to get out of my system before it’s back to the 9-to-5, and the road trip is one of them. Chemo be damned.
The reasons I am doing this trip are sixfold:
1. Pragmatically, I have a car in Richmond, Virginia that needs to be in Los Angeles, California. I could ship it, I guess, if I wanted to pay $3,000 for a stranger to put it on the world’s most unsafe-looking truck-device with 10 other cards headed for the junkyard or something. I could do that, but…no. That’s how the car got out to Richmond in the first place, and it arrived so caked in bug guts that I think it has PTSD flashbacks to mass insect murder on I-40.
2. I want to drive across the country. We live in a nation so vast, so diverse in culture, weather, geography, climate, cuisine and history that to spend one’s life only flying over it while listening to Pit Bull on one’s iPhone even after the flight attendants said “Please turn off your electronic devices” is to cheat oneself of a spectacular adventure.
3. Cancer stole six months of my 20s. That’s 1/20 of, arguably, the best decade of my life. Whether out of a true sense of wanderlust or just pure spite, I will now try to cram six months’ worth of joy, discovery and fun into a single week.
4. One time, my mom made some Pillsbury Crescent Rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. This is relevant; bear with me. She made, like, 25 of them, because our relatives were over, and put them in a nice basket. Enter Michelle, age 12 and hungry. I ate every single croissant, felt sick to my stomach for hours, and to this day I will not touch a Pillsbury Crescent Roll. Since I’m a gal who occasionally likes a Sunday drive and I’m moving to New York City, where such drives will be a thing of the past, I hope that by the end of this roadtrip, sitting behind the wheel of a car will be my new stomach-turning Pillsbury Crescent Roll.
5. The timing is just right. My grad school career is over, but my new job hasn’t started yet. My best friend, partner in crime, platonic soulmate, the Turk to my J.D., the girl behind the old copy of Gone With the Wind with “burdens are for shoulders strong enough to bear them” underlined and at least partially responsible for the Sequin Soldiers photoshoot, who mailed me socks with owls of them, who I listed as an emergency contact somewhere recently, is also available and is coming with me: Katie Bo.
6. Not that I’m going to kick the bucket – no plans to do so just yet – but the American summer cross country road trip is a HUGE bucket list item for me. I’m checking it off now, just in case. I’m relatively confident that this cancer will take the asswhooping my doctors are handing it as a sign never to return, but you never know, something else completely random could get me at any minute. I once heard a terminally ill cancer patient joke, “I mean…I still wear my bike helmet.” You never know, y’all. Now is always the right time when it comes to bucket list items.
If you want to see the sights with me and Katie Bo, follow me on Instagram!
See you on the road!