Trans* Continental — Day Two

13 June, 2012

The Red Roof Inn was a pretty comfortable stay and it was almost as big as my one-room flat so Spooky-Mulder did not take long to settle in and chow down some Fancy Feast wet food. The room was quiet and dark and I got a good night’s sleep. Dealing with the hotel mirror under the harsh fluorescent lighting, this morning, robbed me of the restful sleep I got. It put me in a bad state dysphoria-wise because the lighting magnifies and hideifies every minor flaw. This was compounded by a friend’s parallel between Mrs. Doubtfire and me. I think it was meant as an innocent comment, I won’t ask because it is too embarrassing to broach, but it sent me into a dysphoric nosedive and tailspin. So I had a panic attack, which delayed my leaving by half an hour.

I skipped breakfast because I felt too ashamed of how I looked to be in public. I had plenty of gas from yesterday’s fuel-up so I just got on the road and drove. I crossed into Indiana before I needed fuel and decided to grab lunch, as it was nearing eleven-thirty. I stopped at a place called the Flying-J Plaza, which is like a trucker pit stop with showers, a salon, an arcade, and two restaurants. I still was not comfortable in my skin so I skipped the sit down and went with Subway. I asked for a bag but, whether it is my Midwestern accent or I just cannot pronounce things, they could not understand me. I had to repeat myself four times and they still weren’t getting it and would end up not getting it because now people were staring at me. I left with my sandwich and pulled the car around to fuel up. I swiped my card and got a “see attendant” message. So, back into the lobby and the staring people to authorise the pump, back out to pump the gas and back in to pay for it. At that point, I had enough of people and I ate my sandwich while driving.

Spooky-Mulder cried for a bit in his kennel case, which broke my heart, but he stopped before we entered Chicago. I had dreaded Chicago. When my ex- and I drove out to the coast six years ago, Chicago was a traffic nightmare. Six years of DC/Metro traffic later and it was pleasantly navigable. The GPS, set to avoid tollways, took me a roundabout ride through the city and onto Highway 12. I thought getting off the interstate was a bit strange, but apparently Garmin knew a better route. I didn’t worry until it had been an hour, I needed gas and had to pee, and had not seen another car for thirty minutes. Now, there was no need for panic. I had the GPS and as long as I didn’t get out of the car I would be fine. Fifteen minutes later my Marcus Brutus of a bladder forced me to pull over at this tiny, dilapidated gas station. I scoped the interior out through the cracked window while I pumped gas and determined it relatively safe for restroom use—safer than the tavern across the street, anyway. Inside, there was no visible bathroom and the serial-killer-esque attendant directed me to the single seat room behind the counter. The door did not have a lock. I did not think I could take care of my business faster than I did in West Virginia; I was wrong.

Another forty miles and I was back on the interstate and in Wisconsin. I found an AmericInn in Elkhorn and snuck Spooky-Mulder in via the back stairs. I do not feel bad about the latter because they overcharged me for the room (a hundred dollars for one night). Now, I am off the road and ready for bed. Four hundred thirty-five miles traveled; four hundred twenty-nine to go.

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