Friday, September 26, 2008

Terror... or SURPRISE?

There are two games which I credit to my friend Ainsley and play repeatedly on my Vantasy. The first one is putting the word "anal" before the names of cars (Mom, you drive an Anal Charger! See, it's funny!). Since I'm rolling with lots of RVers, I also play this game with RV names (Anal Bounder, Anal Legacy, Anal Raptor). Endless fun. Another game Ainsley and I played for a bit was a word substitution game in which we traded the word "surprise" for the word "terror" in sentences. Instead of having a surprise party, you have a terror party. Instead of living in terror, you live in surprise! While this game doesn't have the instant appeal that the anal game has (!), I play it all the time while driving Vanta C.

For instance, I was going to start my blog by saying that the thing I like about traveling is that each day is a surprise. And I thought for a minute about how fitting the word terror would be in this sentence. I guess I know I'm really living when each day has an element of both. Traveling is great that way. The uncertainty I wake up with each day can be terrifying, the connections I make surprising, and vice versa. Occasionally I still get terrified in the night after hearing an unidentified noise which usually turns out to be Ralgh, and we are still surprised by the serendipitous way our days unfold.

On Monday night, Ralgh woke me up every hour and a half to go outside with diarrhea. At 3:30am he threw up. I hear him whine and know that the situation is emergent; I have little time. Like a fireman (or firebitch!), I jump off my loft, get dressed, and take him out, watching him hunch uncomfortably. I know he's not feeling good, but it's nearly four in the morning and I'm on Highway 36 in Kansas. The nearest town with a vet is over an hour away. So I called the emergency hospital in Portland, the ones who took care of Ralgh when that mean dog bit his ear last year. They told me to stay with him, give him water, and take him to the vet in the morning.

That's how I ended up spending the day in St. Frances, Kansas. As we waited for Ralgh's guts to chillax, I knitted, read, and window-shopped main street. I wanted to check out the thrift store, which was run by the old ladies of the town Methodist church. It was closed! Dammit! But all the lights were on so I pressed my face to the window to see what kind of place it was. Then I saw Sherry, who waved me in. She said that the store was closed, but since she was there working it would be fine for me to look around and buy stuff. Folks, this was the greatest thrift store I've seen in years. This is a thrift store where you can walk out with a bag full of things for five dollars, in a town where drivers wave at you when your cars pass each other. It just had really unique stuff, it wasn't picked over by the hip city kids, and I had the whole place to myself. I found vintage aprons for fifty cents, thermoses, craft supplies and fabric, jewelry, and it was all special. I spent three dollars, then I asked if I could help. The next thing I knew I was vacuuming the floor.


Here's where it gets awesome: the other job they needed help with was taking their overstock (fourteen garbage bags full of summer clothes) across the state to be donated to Goodwill. They said they would have to rent a truck, so I offered to drop them off myself, since I was going that way. So, here was the surprise of yesterday afternoon! Between Ralgh's frequent walks, I rummaged through bags of clothing, trying stuff on, saving what I liked, and laughing at what I didn't. I brought the thrift store to my van!

Bags Bags Bags

Ralgh seems to be doing a little better. The vet has him on a diet of cottage cheese mixed with cooked rice, which he loves. This morning I joined him and we both had the "white surprise" for breakfast. Last night he only woke me up twice, and I think we're going to get on the road again today. After all, I have to drop those terrifying clothes off at the Goodwill!


Trina said...

Hooray, what an awesome adventure, and I love the way you write about it! I still have a couple of prized possessions from a small-town-Idaho (Sandpoint, Sarah Palin's hometown) thrift store called "Senior's." One is that "Welders Always Hit the Spot" t-shirt.

Shannon said...

i love this story. and am totally jealous that you got to be the goodwill delivery person.