well, i'm officially a lesbian. nevermind all of you assholes throwing shade at my silly hair and velcro gym shoes like, "BITCH WE ALREADY KNOW," this past weekend my girl and i spent three days in a cabin in the middle of 67 acres of woods and rolling fields with no tv and no phones eating foods from the earth and getting bit the fuck up by mosquitoes during our quiet reflective time, so i'm one episode of the L word away from taping down my boobs and spelling women with a Y.
i arrived at the car rental place saturday morning with the prerequisite two pieces of identification, phone bill, pint of blood, and first born male child, and after i filled out a mountain of paperwork my effusive salesbro (a human ken doll i am not kidding i was totally fucking mystified) walked me to the adjacent garage. i had requested a full sized luxury sedan because i didn’t want to spend six hours on the highway crammed into a motherfucking ford festiva, and i looked around expectantly for my spacious vehicle. salesbro smiled sheepishly as a young black dude pulled up in a dripping wet black minivan bumping 2 chainz. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT HERE. my jaw dropped. “dude.”
tyler shrugged and grabbed my travel bag and explained that he was waiting on some cars to come back and he’s really sorry but this is the only thing i have available right now and don’t worry i gave you a break on the price and vacuumed it out real good and honey please pick up my dry cleaning after you get the kids at little league and can we please not have tuna casserole for dinner again. “good thing my underwear comes up to my bra, son. otherwise i might look out of place in this thing.” then i adjusted my lululemon grocery shopping shorts and drove off. “it’s the mercedes benz of minivans!” cody called after me, waving an enthusiastic goodbye in my rearview.
i went to great harvest and foodstuffs and spent approximately $8,673 on scones and gourmet dips and shit to stock the empty cabin then filled the mini v with liquid gold so i wouldn’t splutter to a halt in the middle of fucking nowhere without a fucking cell signal; i'm not trying to get shot on some helpful stranger's porch. HOW DO PEOPLE WITH HOURLY JOBS HAVE CARS. i mean, do you ever eat dinner? go to a movie? spend a weekend in a remote hippie cabin with no phone or television!? if i had to regularly pay for gasoline i wouldn’t have clothes, and that’s real.
i had my sunglasses, my car snacks (a chicken salad sandwich, a half empty coke, a bottle of prescription painkillers), and my roadtrip music (CDs that i bought in high school and the years shortly thereafter because i couldn’t fucking be bothered to go buy an auxiliary cord and i don’t really listen to music produced after 2002 anyway). I WAS READY TO GO TO THE WOODS. i plugged the address into the gps on my phone and waited for the pixels and gigabytes or whatever to plot my route. finally, siri heaved a long, weary sigh. “bitch, are you sure?”
WHAT. i restarted my phone and re-entered the address.
another long pause. “sa-man-tha, there are no black people within a hundred miles of this destination,” bleeped her computerized voice. “would you instead like directions to the essence fest? i think mary j blige is performing.”
“MOTHERFUCKER, THAT WAS LAST WEEK.” i pounded the address into the phone again. “JUST TELL ME HOW TO GET TO THIS COUNTRY SHIT.”
another long pause as she calculated directions. i watched a map slowly appear on the screen, my course charted in blue. “anything in the whole motherfucking town comes up missing over the next three days and your black ass is going to jail,” siri warned nastily and i threw the goddamned phone back to the 33rd row of seats.
three hours on tranquil highways and hilly backroads littered with raccoon and deer carcasses, singing “breakdown” with mariah carey like my life depended on it, trying to eat chicken salad like a civilized person while also dodging families of ducks as they toddled across the unmarked road. i passed dozens of tiny houses set back from the highway with ancient cars and boats rusting under the sun on their front lawns. i could smell the methamphetamines cooking in the air.
“IN A QUARTER MILE, TURN LEFT AT THE COW,” siri cackled viciously. “IN 200 FEET MAKE A SLIGHT RIGHT AT THE HORSE ONTO A DIRT ROAD AND TRY NOT TO GET MAULED BY A BEAR, STUPID.” bitch.
i turned the mini v into a thicket of trees then slowly down a gravel path and was greeted by a burly child of the corn leaning on a golf cart from 1937. he looked about 14 years old and introduced himself as nate, the groundskeeper, then directed me to a lot where i was to leave the van during my stay. WHAT THE F YOU MEAN. nate pointed to the woods over his shoulder. “no cars allowed back there. i’m going to take you to your house in the golf cart.” siri burst out laughing in my pocket.
“big family?” nate asked pleasantly as he unloaded my groceries and i tried not to think about beating him to death with a shovel and fleeing back to the city. “lots of kids?” he threw everything into the back of the cart. thunk, clunk.
“why, is it because i smell like a fucking juice box? i’m using this new conditioner and i told that bitch at sephora i don’t want to walk around smelling like goddamn twizzlers.” confused, nate pointed at the van. “oh. right. i don’t have any stupid kids. hey, did you know this is considered the mercedes of minivans?”
he took me on a tour of the grounds as i tried to both appear serene and not fall out of that raggedy fucking cart. he showed me the main house with its laundry facilities and meditation room; the stone chapel meant for quiet meditation and prayer; the mile and a half long labyrinth of problems that, once entered with a conundrum that needs resolution, will relieve you of that burden by the time you exit. “what if my problem is not being able to comfortably walk a mile and a half long maze?” i wanted to ask BUT DID NOT BECAUSE SERENITY. deeper and deeper into the woods he drove, and i felt a hard lump of real panic form in my throat. what if i need an ambulance what if i need an ambulance what if i need--
“no shoes,” he said as we crossed the threshold of the cabin. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. i kicked out of my sandals and followed him around the cabin: dining space, living room, bedrooms, bathroom, a porch with a rocking chair for quiet reflection, and finally the kitchen. “there’s a full-sized fridge, glasses, plates.” he motioned toward a complicated-looking contraption on the floor. “you pump water from there, recycling goes in here, and your compost goes in this green container.” lolwut.
WHAT THE FUCK IS COMPOST, MY GUY.
listen, i fucking know how to have fun. air conditioning, wifi, cable television, 30 minute pizza delivery: THESE ARE ALL FUN THINGS. but i left all that shit behind three hours ago. so i had to come up with some new shit, some games to keep myself from stabbing my eyeballs out with a pinecone, like:
1 search for a cellular signal. first thing i asked: IS THERE A TELEVISION!? nate looked at me as if i'd said, "would you sample this vomit and tell me if it's warm enough?" i checked my phone to see if anyone missed me on facebook yet only to find there were, like, negative four bars. is this the motherfucking hunger games? WHAT IF I MISS SOME GOOD GOSSIP!? i'm not kidding when i tell you i spent 2% of my time working on a new book and 98% of the time wandering around with my arm outstretched trying to get my texts to go through. man, fuck nature.
2 look for african-american hair products in the local shops. i'm 100% sure that every general store within a 20 mile radius would have had at least 637 types of handcrafted artisanal peach thyme marmalade on the shelves, but would i be able to find a single bottle of luster's pink lotion!? um, nawl.
3 wondering what everyone else is doing. okay fine. for five or six minutes, i could probably meditate. if you understand "meditate" to mean "dream up new flavors of ice cream." after that six minutes? WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING ON TWITTER.
4 try to not get motherfucking murdered. IT IS THE PLOT OF EVERY HORROR MOVIE YOU'VE EVER GODDAMN SEEN: white person convinces black person to pack up his/her hair grease, wave cap, and reparations money (THANKS OBAMA) in the hopes of spending a long relaxing weekend in [authentic sounding pseudo native american word] [lake/falls/island/coast] doing white people shit like lying in hammocks and eating fresh apricots, BLACK PERSON DIES BEFORE EVEN HALF YOUR POPCORN IS EATEN. i have never in my life been anyplace so dark. we went on a "night walk" (white shit) to "look at the moon and stars" (more white shit) and i couldn't even see my hand in front of my fucking face. the next night homegirl "turned off the air conditioning" (white!) and "opened all the windows" (white! white!) so we could "feel the breeze" (white! white! white!), and i couldn't even relax all the way for fear of slack-jawed yokels salivating outside as we ate the kale and swiss chard she cooked for our dinner. (WHITEST SHIT I EVER WROTE.)
5 counting my various bug bites and stings. nineteen so far. and counting.
THEN WE DROVE THE MINI V TO TARGET AND THEN BACK TO CHICAGO TO HOLD HANDS AND WEEP SILENTLY TO OURSELVES AT THE TORI AMOS CONCERT ON TUESDAY. see you at fastpitch practice, womyn.
buy my book. read it in front of the tv.