Note: After this blog, we are going to scale back to writing something approaching weekly so that we can do more and spend less time writing about it. We'll still be communicative, though, just get in touch with us.
11/22, 11:10 PM
As I reach down to lay the bottle full of urine down in the “bathroom” area of the bus, my head hits against the cast iron woodstove. I look around at the impenetrable mess of art supplies, tools, spilled oats, clothes, boxes of food, unwashed bowls, half eaten soggy pasta, and finally up at Pete. A giggle emerges, which rises to a chortle, and soon enough sheets and waves of laughter emerge, engulfing our small piece of post-apocalyptic squalor in the middle of the Wal-Mart parking lot in an unknown New Jersey town.
14 Hours Earlier: 9:10 AM
Alarm goes off. Game plan: Cut out carpet for the entryway of the bus, eat something, finish laundry, clean the house, pack bus, and head out for New Jersey by noon so that we can arrive at Bubbe’s house by 6:00. Bubbe is what we call my 90 year old grandmother. You will hear more about her soon.
While giving us the rundown of the house cleaning needed before the house is vacated, Judith gestures towards a large pile in the middle of the floor and says, “Make sure to clean up all of the stuff in Pete’s Corner.”
Pete’s Corner is the name of the pile of stuff by the couch that Judith is done with and would like to give us. Included in Pete’s Corner are sweaters, two large pieces of Styrofoam, toothpaste, ties, a household contraption that we can only speculate went on the bathtub, and more.
The laundry is done and house cleanup has begun.
“Hi Mom, this is Ari. Just in case you had any illusions that we’d get there on time, we won’t. We’ll leave sometime within the next two hours”
|Pete cuts carpet for the entryway of the bus|
“What are we going to do with all the stuff we need to get into the bus?”
“So, leave in half an hour, OK?”
Pete: “Just let me send one quick email”
It’s getting dark. We decide to depart even though we don’t have everything completely secured down.
“On the road again! Wooah woah wo woah, On the road again!”
The directions said to go on I-84. The GPS hasn’t sent us anywhere near I-84. There are loud crashes every time we go over bumps as things plummet to the floor. We scramble to pick them up.
Lesson #1: When driving a bus, you need to already know the route down pat before you ever drive it. We miss the turnoff for route 7. The GPS says that we should turn left. We’re on the interstate and there is no way to turn left. By the time we become skeptical of this fact, there is not enough time to change lanes in a big green school bus. In a smaller car, we could shift quickly, but in a bus we are huge and clunky. We get off the highway, turn around, and eventually make it onto route 7. We’re supposed to turn onto I-91, but then we see the “No Commercial Vehicles” sign. It is raining. More things crash to the floor.
We take a break in the DMV office parking lot at the top of route 7 to navigate. Our bathroom isn’t completely set up and is more a backup for when we can’t go other places. There’s not a good option around, so we pee in bottles.
We are supposed to turn on the parkway. There is a sign that says “No Trucks”. We think this might include us. We drive around a bit, call my mom. She thinks we can go on the parkway. It is raining. We are hungry. Things crash to the floor. We stop picking them up.
|The art desk got disheveled|
|Lots of things fell|
We turn onto the parkway after my mom’s research says that we can. We are looking for a rest area where we can stay for the night. We don’t see any signs for one. We set the GPS for a Wal-Mart, one of the spots that will let motor homes and RVs (and converted busses) stay the night for free. We pull in and survey the situation.
We are exhausted, but want a hot meal. We boil noodles and put them in our bowls with a slotted spoon, and this leaves them sort of soggy. We throw into our bowls some curry paste from a cardboard box that Pete has had for the past year.
We take more soggy noodles (the ones that the curry sauce didn’t cover) and put in salt and hot sauce. They are about half eaten when I decide to run through the rain to the Wal-Mart. The night workers eye me warily with their shrunken faces. As I bolt for the restroom, one of them mumbles, “It’s closed.” As much as I protest, they won’t let me use it. And so…
11:10 PM (where this entry started)
Through a combination of inexperience, systems that haven’t been worked out, and dumb luck, we come to this moment, the epitome of squalor. For some reason, it’s about the most fun we’ve had yet. We are so classy.