total miles: 606.37!
All right, Ohio, the sheer joy of flying down your hills is slowly being diluted by the pure fuck-you of climbing up them.
Tomorrow I embark on my last leg of Highway 40. I have been on this road since Indianapolis; I am beginning to believe that I was born in this road and am increasingly convinced I will die on this road. If Jeff does in fact manage to pluck me from its clutches tomorrow I am going to do everything in my meager power to never fucking set foot on it again.
Then I shall be in DC! It may not be exactly the coast, but it counts as the coast. I will be on the east goddamn coast. Tomorrow.
Where the waves grow sweet, doubt not, Reepicheep, there is the Utter East.
Milwaukee to Washington, DC. Well, Milwaukee to the Ohio/WV borderish on my own two legs. Jesus.
A lot of people, family/friends and strangers alike, have commented on the courage it must have taken to undertake this mess. And of course I understand why it’s seen as brave but it doesn’t feel courageous to me. If anything, it feels cowardly, like I’m just ramping up the scale of running from my problems.
I realize this is in a large part the depression talking (the Steve-brain, if you will). Steve’s much quieter these days, between the physical exertion and the constant stimuli around me — even the corn is better than sitting silent in my dirty white walls, and the fact thatt m am actually, sometimes, enjoying my life, but he’s always there.
I’ve learned to shut off the knee-jerk self-deprecation when somebody expresses their admiration, to smile and say thank you. I haven’t learned to shut off the voice that reminds me that the only impressive thing about what I’m doing is the extent to which I couldn’t handle “normal life,” how I’m so incapable at being a functional adult that just starting over and moving alone to a random city time after time wasn’t enough, I had to go the next step and tear it all down completely.
When I am on my bike I take up space. I exist in the world, as a part of it, not crouched off to the side, observing. I assert myself in the road, letting cars go around me, and jockey for position in turn lanes. I ask for and accept help; I share transitory smiles with other cyclists on the shoulders. And I’m OK.
You’d think that 30-60 miles on a bike on a near-daily basis would scratch the surface of insomnia, but you’d be wrong, and it’s frustrating. I love motels, I’ve waved poetic about the sameness, the comfortable anonymity, but I look around and I see families on vacation, businessmen traveling for work, friends on a roadtrip, and sometimes I feel like I’m the one that’s here because I couldn’t manage being anywhere else.