Monday, July 20, 2009

"Just Stopping By" Redefined

Realizing, a week ago, I had only one weekend left with no definite plan threw me for a loop. How is my summer almost over? What have I not done that I'll regret missing later? Every weekend adventure I participated in has been planned by Jessi and/or the other West Springfield High-school graduates so I pulled my own plan into action.
I've wanted to head down to Newport News (a town just south of Williamsburg) to visit Taylor who's currently stationed at Fort Eustis so I knew this was my one chance so I took it.
The plan was solid.
I called Avis and made sure that renting a car at 21 wouldn't be a problem and then reserved one online (because my research discovered it's cheaper that way). I was to pick up the car at Reagan National Airport because that location opened at 7am and closed at 12:30, thereby allowing me to skip weekend traffic and maximize my time partying. So Saturday morning I got up, got ready and got Jessi to drop me off at the airport with my driving directions and mix-tape in hand.
From the moment I entered the airport until 2:30 pm, NOTHING went down the way it was supposed to and the only way I could deal with it was to just throw everything out the window and just enjoy the moment.

-Learned that Avis sucks at Customer Service. They gave me bad information and wouldn't give me options. Just told me, NO. The airport wouldn't rent me a car because I'm not 25 (Apparently it's a DC law, but no one bothered explaining that to me. All I ever wanted was a little bit of kindness.)
- Rode the majorly delayed Metro to a Virginia based Avis. This one didn't open until 9 (even though Ma'am at the airport said it opened at 8. When I called to see if she could help me at all from her end I felt like she put the blame on me.)
-Battled hurt pride, ruined plans and strained nerves.
-Called and woke up Philip to complain. Thank goodness he's amazing and could chill me out.
-Successfully obtained a car.
-Drove to Newport News. (It should only take 3 hours)

I'll spare the details of weekend-traffic-induced frustration but I will say this: The last leg of the journey is a 60 mile stretch on highway 64 East. Reaching the ramp onto 64 I hit molasses-like bumper to bumper traffic. Pulling out my iPhone (best phone ever. You can quote me on that) I saw that the entire 60 miles were like that. 
Screw that.
I also noticed a traffic-less highway that ran the direction I was headed so I pulled off the ramp and took the path less traveled. Definitely worth it. Even if it didn't save me time, it saved my sanity. The quaint back-roads were spotted with interesting architecture and even random memorials of civil war battles marked with signs and cannons. I am a California girl through and through but I am able to appreciate the lost southern culture, even if it's simply by enjoying the differences.
Playing in Newport News was amazing. Taylor, his battle buddy Albrecht and I just explored. We bought wings for lunch/dinner (not as good as Wingers but more interesting in that we could pick an array of sauces) and then just went exploring. We drove to then walked around historic Yorktown and then this tiny little place called Dandy. 
Historic Yorktown was interesting because of the people. Lots of my peers were at the beach just kicking it. In my frame of reference though, it didn't look like fun. the beach was shallow, the water was full of jellyfish and there were lots of tourists walking around, leaving the awkward impression that the beach goers were as much on display as the naval ships in the distance. The fisherpeople on the peer were more fun to watch and the Old Man of the Sea drove by in his beat-up van complete with stogie and cap. As always the general atmosphere was worth a stroll and catching little crabs in the rocks reminded me of what Philip, McKenzie and I use to do all growing up.
What word do I use to describe Dandy? Not a town; too small. Not a housing community; too formal. Dandy is the kind of community that is created on a small island. Small, white, closely-knit community where everyone rides between houses on their golf carts, every driveway sports a Ford Truck of some sort and pretty much every house has direct access to the water. I definitely felt like an intruder, even though the "Welcome to Dandy" sign also welcomed me to a Dandy Newsletter.
My drive home was pretty uneventful except for the fact I was inexplicably wired and that I stopped by to see Richard at W&M. It's fun to be familiar enough with my surroundings that I know I'm close enough to stop by Richard's place simply to give him a hug. He's the kind of guy who makes you feel like the most important person in the world. What a gift and he uses it to the maximum. 
The opportunity to be in Virginia and have this kind of experience can be summed up by Jessi: The friend who will stay awake simply to make sure you had a good trip and get home safely.

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