Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dreams of New York

This was just before we got pulled over:

The best state in which to reside is the state of no expectations. It's difficult to pull off, though. Yesterday, I could not help but have dreams of New York State. I thought it would be lovely to blaze through the top slivers of the midwestern states and come out in the great east.

But I'll take Erie, PA.

We traveled 356 miles on our first day, which I suppose is not so bad for mere mortals.

After two days I know a few things:

1. It takes three hours to get going. Up at 6, out at 9, approximately. There is no more Get Up And Go, though I have not been allowed a state of Get Up And Go for five years.

2. Finn's optimum travel time is 9-5, just like the Dolly Parton song.

3. After 7 p.m. you are really pushing it and perhaps consigning both mother and baby to tears.

4. I discovered that I can pay my 1 dollar missed toll on the Illinois Northwest Tollway online within seven days, which I will most certainly do.

5. People are not out traveling in great numbers right now. It could be the time of year. It would be a stretch to blame it on the economy. But I think I may start blaming everything on the economy.

My hair looked terrible today. Bloody economy.

Due to the small amount of out-of-state cars on the road, the license plate game sucked, though I must admit to not really trying. MN, WI, ND, IL. I could get those in my neighborhood. I did decide not to use trucks. It's not really fair. When you are heading east, it changes the game. Montana becomes the prize, not Rhode Island. Alaska is always golden. Hawaii is practically a miracle. Though I can't think of Hawaii license plates without conjuring up the old faithful incident. You know what I am talking about, Mom and Ruth (that's for later).

The speed limit on the northwest tollway is 55. Pete was driving at a pokey 64. Though at a certain point, all the cars will come to a stop. All that speeding for nothing. I am not being philosophical. This is Chicago.

My dad does not drive through Chicago, preferring to go way around it. My brother and I shoot straight through, in my case no matter the time. This time, we went through at 9:30 in the morning. Apparently these people go to work late. Or, it's road construction. Yup. Road construction.

We get around four straight hours out of the boy in the morning, during which he mostly sleeps. Then we stop for an hour and a half or so, and then we can usually only push on for two hour stretches. This is a good exercise in remembering that the trip there is part of the vacation, and it needs to be savored an enjoyed as such. I have read 108 pages of a cool library book on organic housekeeping, gotten one knitting project off the needles, and pored over maps for fun. That's not so bad for someone who takes weeks to get through one book nowadays.

One thing I realize is that I should have checked the public breast feeding laws for all these states before we left. We all have our things either that we keep to ourselves or that marginalize us in some way. Some people are more vocal about demanding rights; some causes are more acceptable. Some people just need to complain. It's strange to feel marginalized for something that is practically one of the most natural things I can think of: feeding your baby. To think that there need to be laws about it is odd and frustrating, but there you have it. American acceptance only goes so far, and it seems that in most of the country, it's still considered strange to breastfeed in public.

At about 8:30 in the evening, we tried to push on for a few more miles, inching closer to Pennsylvania. We tried plying him with a bottle and food, which only lasted for so long, after which he became very upset; he could not comprehend why I was sitting RIGHT THERE and doing nothing about his distress. He screamed and cried and reached for me, and I felt absolutely terrible. We had dreams of New York State, but Erie will have to do.

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