Thursday, June 23, 2011


The only non-stop flight from Seattle to Cleveland is a red-eye, departing Seattle at 10:50 pm and arriving about five hours later.  Even if I could sleep on a plane, which I can’t, five hours is not enough sleep.  I am pretty certain to be in a stupor for several days thanks to this experience.
Cleveland recently saw the completion of a large, glossy lavish car-rental terminal, in an industrial park about ten minutes from the actual airport.  The shuttle bus driver, hilarious in his own opinion, wanted to know why in the world we would leave Seattle to come to Ohio.  He also pointed out that we should enjoy the lavishness of the car-rental terminal in the five or so minutes we would be spending there.  I had reserved a full-size car, employing my husband’s strategy for “getting something decent.”  Of course, there were no full-size cars available, so I was offered an SUV for the same price. 
Navigating in Ohio is not especially difficult, though, and we arrived in the town of Wooster just about an hour after landing here.  Our “Modern Blue Pearl” Jeep Grand Cherokee, with 31,00 miles and a huge stain on the back seat is inoffensive from the driver’s perspective, although the tires screamed on most cloverleafs, and there was no figuring out the satellite radio.  As a position of principle, I find the entire SUV category to be rather offensive, being neither good to drive, good to park nor good to the planet, but my opinions are not interesting to many auto manufacturers.  I understand that even Mercedes has discontinued carrying wagons in favor of their uglier and mightier monstrosities (including, a RAV4 ripoff, some bulbous mini-van-ish things, and a military-themed assault vehicle started at $105,750).  Someday I would love to talk to a Mercedes-Benz strategist about what (if anything) they think goes on inside the car-buying mind of a wealthy American mom.
It was garbage collection day yesterday, which meant many piles of neatly bagged garbage on the curb, but also a few ripped-open piles of trash, and a bit of extra road-kill. We passed a gloriously fluffy dead red dog on the shoulder of a two-lane road, a recently squashed cat, a severed opossum, a flattened skunk and a matched set of gorgeous, gruesome giant dead rabbits being pecked at be an equally over-sized matched pair of crows.
It took three tries to check-in, owing to how early we were, and the front desk’s insistence that we were just too early to have a room.  We paid them back by parking in front and falling asleep in the Grand Cherokee, windows open, limbs hanging out.  When we were finally given access to our room, the manager had emerged to supervise the transaction. “What brings you to Ohio?” he asked.
I told him my middle son would be attending the College of Wooster in the fall.
“I have to ask,” he replied. “What would make you choose to come all the way from Washington to Ohio, just to go to a school like that?”
The middle son provided a thoughtful and honest answer.  I thought about roadkill.

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