Now we’re in the northern tip of Idaho, headed southeast. Is it called the panhandle? The state is shaped in such a way that “panhandle” isn’t really out of the question, except that the pan is, you know, sideways. Oklahoma and Florida both have panhandles, and the narrowing of Idaho, the northbound funneling of the state boundaries, seems similar enough to warrant such a designation.
These are the unimportant things with which I concern myself in order to not see your face in each passing mile marker.
It’s dark. Pitch black. Only 5:30 PM, too. I’m sort of happy that it is. I can imprint any visual I want onto the landscape in any of the four directions. Right now, I’m imagining a massive dessert valley on my left, a dark green forest to my right, a huge, unlit city in the rearview mirror, and fertile plains on the horizon.
And in those plains, on a farmer’s recently sown-fielded, standing among the wheat chaff next to a small, natural pond is you. I struggle to make the whole visual out—it’s pitch black, don’t forget—but it looks like there’s a flower in your hair. You’re wearing a green summer dress and your hair catches the wind like a sail and you pace, back and forth, left right left right left right, turn spin left right left right left right, patiently but anxiously awaiting my return. You smile to yourself, somehow sensing the lessening distance and my change in time zones.
Hold those flowers high, babe. I’m coming home.
Sixth trip to Jack in the Box. Aside from the menu, the primary similarity between different Jack in the Boxes is their complete inability to comprehend the phrase “Light on the mayo.” I think I’ve scraped off a solid half gallon of that stuff in the last five days. And I like mayo, but the second your grilled chicken patty looks more white than golden brown, there’s something wrong, and, ideally, excess mayo’s an easier fix than, you know, whatever the hell else would make a grilled chicken patty white.
We just passed something called a “Bates Motel.” I assume that this is some sort of tourist attraction for Hitchcock fans, because I cannot imagine a market for a themed boarding house whose inspiration was THE PLACE WHERE PEOPLE GOT MURDERED BY A GUY THAT THOUGHT HE WAS HIS MOTHER. Maybe it’s like the Winchester Mystery House, but you get to sleep over. Like Space Camp for horror nerds or something, which, now that I think about, could actually be sort of badass. I think you could probably pick something more interesting, or at least more broad—zombies bring you your breakfast, vampires hand you cans of Clamato (or sparkle in the sun, if you’re into sissy vampires), etc.—but you can always do worse than Hitchcock.
This place isn’t pretty enough for me to want to be here without you.