Episode 4 – The Road to Aberdeen
Who’s couch is this? My face was half buried in it’s course knit tan cushion. My eyes were full of the blur of half awakeness. An out of focused flesh toned blob dances in front of me against a pearl white background. As my eyes come into focus, everything that has happened to me in the past 24 hours dawns on me. I got picked up by strangers, I am now on their house and I watched American Idol with them last night and now I am staring at a man, naked from the tighty whities up and down, sneak into own kitchen to grab his regularly scheduled morning coffee.
Were my abductors dangerous? Should I say fuck it and jump out the open window. The grass looked soft below and I might get lucky and land on my feet. Luck was by far my worse skill. The floor creaks under the big man’s bare feet. He looks down at them, with a disapproving face, as if scorning their volume. Well, if that man’s a monster, he’s a very considerate, misunderstood one, like Casper the friendly Ghost or George Romero if you’ve only watched his later films. I mean for godsakes, the man’s tip toeing around his own house. Judging by the buck heads mounted to the wall, beside an array of things that kill things in various ways, I don’t think I’d be out of line by stating that tip toeing is something he rarely does.
After a big breakfast, a warm shower, I started to pack my stuff to get ready to hit the road. They approached me like I was that golden head on that pedestal at the beginning of Raider’s of the Lost Ark (some of you have no idea what I am talking about and if so, shame on you).
(For those who don’t get my reference)
When I told them where my final destination was, they both looked at each other, holding in laughter, each expecting the other one to break the silence was the unbearable weight of an obvious statement.
I nodded in agreement. I was crazy. All signs pointed to it. First it was singing. Now it was talking. Self audienced seminars on self improvement led by myself were not too far in the future. Might as well acknowledge and wear it proud.
“You’re from Canada”
“Yes I am”
“Nickelback’s from Canada. Do you like Nickelback?”
I hate lying. And I am not talking about the santa claus or tooth ferry lies. Another Indiana Jones analogy comes to mind, as lies are boulders just ready for any slant to build speed and mame. But as this moment, I could see in Marc and Debbie’s hopeful eyes, that this in fact was like a Santa Claus lie, that these people needed that reassurance, needed to believe that others thought of Nickelback as they did. I swallowed a pound of saliva.
God. Tony the Tiger, you sound so phoney. Good, they bought it. Marc proceeded to gloat that they were going up to Seattle to see them in concert for his wife’s first time. I wished them the best, as they did me and headed out towards Aberdeen.
Everything else is pretty much in the episode. Humptulips was a “village” that consisted of a burnt down mercantile, a trailer park with no paved streets and a cemetery that had the nicest sign I had seen for anything in a 20 mile radius. With a name like that, and I’ll only do this once, you feel as if you know how people contracted whatever it was to put them in that cemetery, that was quite jam packed for such a small population.
Farmhouses lazily trickled into houses, which then, as I rounded a bend of new growth forest, opened up into Hoquiam, the conjoining town to Aberdeen. Even as a crossed the bridge, the cityscape didn’t change. One ugly main drag with large signs advertising everything on amateur, homemade yellow signs. “Car parts”, “free oil changes”, run down houses, the crumbling American dream that once brought millions into this town from the lumber industry, was now cut to short, leaving stump like, unappealing structures and gruff, time beaten attitudes in beer drenched bars, at every intersection.
I stopped at a comic book shop. I was the only patron and was only drawn in, because a crude sign read “Free WiFi”. The owner barely paid me mind, as a Simpsons DVD played back to back to back episodes in the back, mixed with the open mouthed munching of several open bags of chips. Skyped to tell my parents I had made it, stopped at a local burger joint to gorge on fatty American goodness and then it was off to find my couchsurfer, following the intricate drawn map I had made myself on the back of a brown, grease soaked napkin.