I tell mom, who is approximately 1500 miles away, each time I plan to be gone for a while. Old habits seem to die hard. She's way too far off to do anything. It is just a way to stay connected, maybe?
When I went up to West Des Moines last Thursday, I didn't have to be anywhere before 10 a.m., when the computer store opened, but Spelunker decided I needed to get up at 5 a.m. I tried to go back to sleep, but it was a no-go. I was thoroughly, maddeningly, awake. Eventually, I left, leaving plenty of "find it" or "construction detour" time. I pulled into the parking lot at 9:48, greeted the bird feed seller next door to the computer store when he went by at ten 'til, and was reading patiently when James arrived.
He ran computer tests, unsuccessfully, until an hour past his closing time, then I stopped in at the write-in at Scooter's to see how to post the finalized version of my story on line. It got dark while I was there, as the meeting didn't break up until slightly after 9.
All the light sources were turned into sparklers. Street lights, headlights, lit signs, all twinkled and glittered. This must be like what living in a decorated Christmas tree would be like. I had a pretty good headache by the time I got to Indianola. I took two extra strength Tylanol, then went "shopping" at Hy Vee while it took hold. The meat department (I went there for the fresh fish) was closed. I still managed to come up with $44 worth of stuff. I was now an hour and a half from home, at nearly 11 o'clock. I debated stopping in at J.'s to see if the couch was available, but really just wanted to get home. I had frozen goods in the cooler, which would hold pretty well at 50°, I thought.
I left town, but by the time I took the exit from Hwy. 34 to Hwy. 14 at Chariton, my eyeballs were feeling quite gritty. Only 30 miles to go, but I'd better sleep a bit.
Right at the corner is the entrance to a cemetery I'd used as a rest area before. This time, I didn't pull very far in, however, for some reason. I got some warm clothing out of the trunk, using the crocheted neck scarf and elastic waste sweat pants as a pillow, and draping the light weight coat over my short sleeved shirt, I closed my eyes and zzzz'd.
Suddenly, a knock on my window jerked me awake. Shades of the two cop, hand on gun approach when I was eating KFC in the Centerville park out of season, having come in an unmarked entrance with no idea it closed for the winter, much less that this late in the year, it was still closed, I had a very nervous police man on my hands.
I had to fumble around to find the keys to start the engine so I could lower the window. As soon as I unlocked the door, he opened it.
"Have you been drinking?"
"No. I don't drink." I have a chocolate malt cup three bottled waters, and a formerly ice-filled cup, now melted, with me in front. Heavy "drinker"... I held up the malt container, and see him eyeballing the spring water bottles. "I got tired, so I pulled over."
"Where are you going?"
"May I see a license?"
I dig it out for him. He disappears for a bit, then returns. "There's a lighted gas station just down the road where you'll be safe."
"Actually, a woman alone sleeping in a well-lit spot in sight of all is NOT as safe as one out of sight." Has he traveled enough to realize that? Does he know about looking vulnerable? Appearing weak to preditors? Why risk getting into tense situations when they can be avoided? I don't keep a gun in my glove box like my girlfriend JL does. I can't wave it under an overly protective guard's nose like she did at the base of Old Smoky to aid our argument to be allowed to sleep quitely and ALONE at the top.
"I won't stay much longer. I just need to be okay to drive."
How can a policeman argue with that?
"Is there someone at home to call for help?"
"No, I'm alone."
He knows it is only a 30 minute trip, so he finally says, "Okay, I'll let you get back to sleep."
I know I will be checked out repeatedly until I vacate. I sleep restlessly for a bit more, then drive home. By 3 a.m., I have all the frozen stuff either in the house fridge or stashed in the freezer in the old house and am safely in bed. I did NOT tell him I'd ever been there to sleep for a few hours before. If I ever do it again, I'll go down into the back section even though I can't block the lights as readily back there, as the trees are smaller. It's a beautiful cemetery. I've pulled in there and eaten at times, too.
I like tree-covered spaces. They are relaxing, calm, serene, compared to buildings, bright lights, and bustling crowds. Gas stations are full of unpleasant fumes, semi noises, and car stereo systems that share their listening taste(LESSNESS) with the known universe. Sleep there? He's GOT to be kidding.