Wed. June 7th–Heading South
Early in the drive we pass the 45th parallel, the halfway point between the North Pole and the Equator. Perhaps that explains the Oregonian penchant for equanimity. A couple of hours later we pass a yellowed billboard that screams “Big Mac Attack!” and Nick points out that the slogan hasn’t been in use in twenty years. Perhaps someone left it there that long?
Anyhow, it is an omen, as our first meal is, a bit later, at McDonald’s. I have a feeling I’ll be eating a lot of McDonald’s. After a late night trip to Taco Bell last week, I have exceeded my yearly fast food quota already, with only two visits.
We decide to stop for the night in Grant’s Pass. The name is kind of romantic, as if we’re crossing over a momentous threshold. The first hotel we try, I am in a line behind an amorous teenage couple. They paw each other as they are making the transaction. At first I think they are just dying to have sex but then their friend, a bounding, punky girl, barges in and says, in a very loud kid-whisper, “Get Room 205; we’re all over there.” I immediately walk out and suggest another hotel. The Travelodge is more amenable but the woman who checks us in is clearly in training and the owner is growing frustrated with her. The trainee keeps complaining—as if to explain her difficulty with credit card machine, finding the keys, and the retractable pen– that her glasses are too smudged to see through. This seems strange, because in the time it takes to utter the complaint, it could be fixed. Sort of like saying, “My finger’s in a light socket and it really hurts.” Pull it out, you know? The room mildly smells of fish and urine and we watch a VH1 documentary on heavy metal which details Iron Maiden’s evolution. Bruce Dickinson, who seems oddly like a Christopher Guest character—in a good way—is explaining how he developed these enormous gestures to give the people in back of the arena a sense of proximity. So I’ll be working on that. I’ll let you know what I come up with, once I find a spare appendage. Perhaps my hair can do the talking. Also, Iron Maiden employed a fail safe trick: a mascot, this skull thing. It has a name. Like Curly or something.