9 am: I wake up, ready to embark on the road trip that will effectively kickstart the rest of my adult life. As I leave Charlottesville, it’s hard not to feel more than a little sentimental.
10 am: My friend Jon and I get into my car, bags packed, and we’re off.
“I forgot my check. I think it’s on my desk,” Jon says.
We head back so that Jon can find his check, which he doesn’t.
10:30 am: We’re back on the road, stopping by Bodo’s and Starbucks one last time. Finally we hit the road, driving west and not looking back. There’s standstill traffic for two accidents in a row and a torrential downpour of rain that lasts approximately thirty minutes.
2 pm: We switch seats, Jon driving and me in the passenger seat.
“What’s cruise control?” Jon asks. I fear I may not make it out of here alive.
6 pm: We arrive at the airbnb in Louisville that we’re staying in for the night. We’re greeted by an older woman named Janice, who tells us fun things to do in Louisville for the night. We go to a Mexican restaurant and I fill up on chips and salsa. The waitress looks at me weird when I order an appetizer for my meal but I’m too full on chips and salsa to eat any more. The waiter at the table next to us was hot and I imagine his name was Ricardo.
8 pm: We cruise down Bardstown road, and I’m amazed to see Louisville has a Noodles and Co. I love Noodles and Co.
9 pm: We walk the Waterfront bridge. I buy a Spiderman popsicle and drop it. Jon laughs at me. I resolve to secretly dose him with laxatives for the rest of the week.
9:30 pm: I call my dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day. It is not Father’s Day. I feel foolish.
11 pm: We sit on Janice’s back porch, watching the fireflies and drinking the tea she made us. Jon and I have a philosophical conversation about whether or not there are gay fireflies. We go to sleep for the night.
9 am: We awake, and I shower. We then jog around the neighborhood as I lament having already taken a shower.
10 am: Janice makes us a bunch of things for breakfast and gives us a giant glass jar of tea for the road. I question whether or not I want to move to Louisville instead.
10:30 am: Jon judges me for not showering after the jog. We buy ice and gas and hit the road. I feel much more energetic today since Janice gave us breakfast cups and smoothies to go. I find a hair in mine but I don’t care because it’s Janice’s hair and she was so lovely.
2 pm: Jon and I stop somewhere in St Louis for gas. It is very scary and I fear we will be murdered. We leave without further incident.
6 pm: We arrive in Kansas City, to stay at my uncle and aunt’s. My uncle takes us to Oklahoma Joe’s for dinner, the restaurant my cousin and her husband Joe run. Jon and I argue whether the restaurant was named after me or my cousin’s husband (It was named after neither of us).
“You guys aren’t vegan, are you?” my uncle asks as we walk in. We are not.
7 pm: My aunt meets us at the restaurant as we wait in line.
“You guys aren’t vegetarians, are you?” she asks. We are not.
730 pm: As we eat, my uncle tells me stories about my dad that I file away to use as blackmail at a later date.
8 pm: We drive around the neighborhood, looking at all the houses. We drive by the house I grew up in. I take a picture and send it to my dad.
“What’s that?” he asks.
“We lived here,” I say.
“Oh right,” he says.
9 pm: We stop by the plaza in Kansas City and it’s beautiful. We get lattes and I have to poop badly. I check out of the conversation for the next half hour because it’s all I can think about.
10 pm: Jon and I sit on the back porch watching the fireflies and drinking the tea Janice gave us. We have more philosophical conversations and compare mothers. I step on dog poop on the way back inside. We retire for the night.
9 am: Jon and I jog around the neighborhood. I lament agreeing to jog with Jon as I frequently have to slow down to a walk to catch my breath. Jon jogs in circles around me. I pray for his bad knee to give out.
10 am: My uncle takes us to breakfast at Eggct. We discuss burqas as Donald Trump’s announcement about running for president plays on the tv in the restaurant.
12 pm: We drive up to the lake in Lawrence where my uncle has a boat. We take it out on the water.
“The water’s high today,” my uncle says.
“Is it because of high tides?” I ask.
“Tides are only in the ocean,” he says.
I am embarrassed.
2 pm: I fall asleep on the boat. Jon and my uncle talk about God knows what.
3 pm: I awake in a daze. I see bald eagles and feel like a true American.
4 pm: We head back to Kansas City. We stop at KU and my uncle tells us stories about when he went there. Dirtbikes, pumpkin helmets, and the police are involved. I am impressed.
5 pm: We stop at Freddy’s for dinner. I ask Jon if he ever thinks of us as Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
“I can honestly say I’ve never thought that,” he says.
“Really?” I ask. “A blonde and a brunette, one who’s a slut and the other one who’s pure.”
“So you’re the slut then?” he asks.
I am offended.
“Clearly I’m Jackie,” I say.
“Then who’s JFK?” he asks.
6 pm: Jon and I walk around the plaza and stop at H&M. I buy underwear and a bathing suit. As I wait in line, a gay guy behind the counter calls for the next person in line. The woman in front of me doesn’t hear him.
“EXCUSE ME, I CAN TAKE YOU NOW,” he says.
The woman rushes to the counter.
I pray that I don’t get checked out by him. I don’t.
8 pm: My uncle and aunt take me to see my cousin. My cousin and I chat in his kitchen.
“So are you and Jon doing the long-distance thing?” he asks.
I am confused.
“We aren’t dating,” I say.
“Oh. That’s not how it was presented to me,” he says.
I wonder if anyone realizes that homosexuals can be friends.
Jon and I play with my cousin’s dog and vie for his attention.
“He’s JFK!” Jon says.
We both try and get the dog to look at us to see which one JFK will choose.
The dog licks my tooth. I am grossed out yet flattered.
“I win,” I whisper as I wash out my mouth.
9 pm: We go to see my other cousin. We sit around the tv and talk about Rachel Dolezal. I take her aside to ask her for advice about applying to Starbucks, since she used to work there.
“Just tell them you love to learn and you care about the customer experience,” she says.
“So lie,” I say.
10 pm: Jon and I roast marshmallows with my aunt and uncle in their backyard. They go to sleep as Jon and I finish off the last of Janice’s tea. We talk about my desire to be famous so that I can finally get the attention I so desperately crave. I step on dog poop again on my way inside for the night.