Octopus' Garden

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Nine hours round-trip driving today . . . my Author Function judging a Poetry Out Loud competition at the State Capitol.

(In an amusing non sequitur, Googling Googlers now arrive here searching for "author function.")

Woke up at 5:30 a.m. The first two hours of the drive a complete misery. Potato soup fog. Ran out of wiper fluid, so grime on the windshield congealing into a stubborn gummy mud. Too cold from the smashed-in back window that I keep meaning to fix but don't, so I have to wear the kooky-ass hat that keeps my ears warm. Yesterday, the mysteriously flattened tire on my Jeep that had to be completely replaced while I struggled with a migraine. It was not possible for me to be any crankier this morning.

So many times, it's true, I'm just plain lost, but today it was a matter of my not being able to see what I needed to see. At one point, I had to pull over at an out-of-the-way gas station so that I could squeegee off the gunk from my windshield, because in between the fog and the grime, I could not see a damn thing. In fact, I couldn't locate the turnoff for the gas station (which was, admittedly, an obscure dirt road), and so I accidentally missed the turnoff three different times going back and forth in different directions. By the third time, I was pounding my steering wheel like a crazy person and yelling a stream of profanity that I can't even begin to repeat because it was just that nasty. Too nasty even for this blog, if you can imagine that.

(Don't you just love the word squeegee, though? I do.)

Once the fog lifted, though, and once I began to achieve a state of sugary, buzzy, hummy, overcaffeinated near-religious ecstasy resulting from inappropriate and obsessive consumption of gas station cappuccinos (an indulgence with which I bribe myself during onerous road trips), I stopped being such a crank.

West River signboard: Dick's Body Shop. Free Toe Service.

I arrived in the grasslands late in the morning: iridescent pheasant casually strolling about, hawk on the fencepost, expansively rolling dips and swales a calm wonderment.

Admittedly, just because one can take amusingly bad little pictures on one's phone and then post them to one's blog doesn't necessarily mean one should insist on doing it. Nonetheless:

The Big Muddy

Buffalo Hiney Outside Al's Oasis in Oacama, South Dakota

Al's Oasis in Oacama, South Dakota

I wanted to keep driving. All the way to Deadwood. All the way to the Black Hills. All the way to the Badlands.

(I know I shouldn't. But sometimes I just can't help myself.)
posted by Artichoke Heart at 12:17 AM


How come I can never find toe service when I need it?
Anonymous shelley, at 11:08 AM  
it's hard out here to find a good toe service, and a free toe service? forget about it.

that is why West River is it.

i, myself, have been yearning for the NoDak Badlands. i need to see the sage coming back and how low the muddy Little Missouri is.
Blogger Lu, at 11:10 AM  
is an onomatopoegee.
Blogger Karin, at 1:17 PM  
You know you always want to look for where the truckers go for their toe service. That's the best.
Blogger JN, at 9:34 PM  

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