Balling In Intercourse
Trip Start Jun 19, 2010
74Trip End Sep 01, 2010
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Listen, so after we wake to find our car pelted with this disgusting solution that looks like Orange Crush but smells like fecal matter, we figure we helped the kids have a little fun on a Saturday night (or whatever night it was), and use it to laugh at (though it might have been fun to get into a fight over, they strongly outnumbered us, and anyway, have you ever seen me fight? No, of course you haven't). It’s an appropriate decision, then, to get the hell out of New Jersey, and without much hesitation, we do so.
The first town on the way is Hammonton, a so-called "Historic City", which it may very well be, but it seems as if every town we’ve seen on the road is titled as such
So from Spanish America we point our Pearl toward the touristic heart of small-town Pennsylvania, toward a culture so inextricable from the state that its origins are found in its name (though William Penn was a Quaker, wasn’t he? If so, then this introduction is meaningless): Amish Country. We’re driving around the farmland trying to find all the horse-drawn carriages holding stern women dressed in black with bras on their head, but start to realize that we’d mostly have to just stroll into someone’s backyard for that
By now it’s around six and the linguiza is warming in the cooler atop a six-pack of PBR, so we decide to find a place to camp out for the night. We circle the town of Intercourse, which was the source of many giggles twelve years ago when our actual school bus tore through it, leaving us to buy bumper stickers and other dumb trinkets making sophomoric jokes, unaware of what it really alluded to. I find it now looking quite smaller and less humorous than it was in 8th grade, especially grim since it’s all shut down for the evening, and when we find an “adult campground”, really a crowded patch of RVs filled with randy geriatrics, we decide it time to leave.
Back from the way we came, we settle on a cracked parking lot behind a boarded-up diner, and thread Pearl in between two rusting big rigs in the interest of concealing ourselves from anyone on the highway. There’s a nice strip of grass just behind us, or really in front of the little suburban neighborhood around the block, and Kuntz grabs his glove so we can have a catch. Oh my, it feels great to throw the ball around, pitching, playing long toss, throwing him fly balls, whatever, and as the sun goes down, we’re joined by a field full of curious lightning bugs flickering and flirting under a very plump, very humid moon. We’re thereafter called in for dinner – yes, cooking dinner, yes! – and soon the sausage, tomatoes and onion are chopped and tossed with pasta, which Cornbread drops while straining, then recollects and dusts off. He asks me to slap him in the face for such a miscue and I comply, for it’s fun, but then I immediately feel guilty and we both have a beer and all is absolved.
With a few shakes of Frank’s, the pasta is great in its simplicity, and the two bottles of wine we discover – Tristan bought them for his lady friend, andthen forgot them on the bus – aren’t so bad either. One is opened with a plug of Shmark’s thumb, wine splashing, cork bobbing, and the other we open with a screw and the claw of a hammer, and it’s a wonder to note that we have tool boxes full of screws and sandpaper and drill bits but neglected to bring a fucking corkscrew.
Kuntz iz quite inclined to experiment, but more in a MacGuyver sort of way than in the Timothy Leary sense, which proves so indicative of the type of people our bus attracts in this modern age versus the type of trip it’d have been forty years ago, and so he defies our typical cot sleeping layout in hanging his lengthwise, his head facing the dashboard, and as Shmark falls asleep on the bus, Cornbread, Kuntz and myself analyze the positives and negatives of such a setup both in theory and in practice. Ultimately, the fact that as this goes, the sleeper’s head is situated directly center of the porthole, so even if it’s inconvenient and even if it puts slightly more stress on the carabiners, it’s neither impractical nor stressful enough to worry about, so he sleeps that way. I, meanwhile, sleep on the floor just below him, and try to scoot my head clear of his cot in case something unpredictable happens.
We’re all resting and this and that, no one actually sleeping – one can now feel the humidity on his skin, even his pillow – and somehow the topic comes up about the concept of identity. It starts as a discussion of how people (myself included) may or may not perceive my religion or ethnicity or cultural identity, whatever you want to call it, and it explodes like a canon of ideas, occasionally getting pointed but ultimately one of the best discussions we’ve had over the course of the entire trip. For all of his flashiness, his nature of rubbing his knowledge in your face (something some might accuse me of, just the same; am I now excusing every slightly negative commentary I might write by turning it back upon myself? How cheap and unattractive.), but tonight I see how thoughtful and intelligent he really is, and again I have to marvel at what an interesting and always ridiculous set of people that have trod the floorboards of our Pearl. Something I feel to be worth writing, anyway.