Sunday, May 8, 2011

Letter to Massachusetts

Dear Massachusetts,

Not only have I left your salty beaches for your Berkshire Mountains, but soon, I will be leaving all of you--friends, school, and liberalites alike--for the great variation of the old west. I imagine ghost towns and long, endless highways with not a house in sight. I imagine Kansas. I drove through Kansas last summer; I'm sure it really is one of the circles of hell, not a thing in sight for hundreds of miles.

This summer, though, I will be packing my car and driving the some 2,666 miles through Pennsylvania and Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, Wyoming and past Yellowstone, into the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. There the mountains are ten times the height of our measly Berkshire peaks, which run around only 1,000 feet or so.

I'll be working a job I never thought I would: waiting. The one job my family never thought I could handle will be my summer work in a world of strangers. I expect to learn some new accents and meet people who are thoroughly different from my own, out here in good old Massachusetts, where drivers are promptly labeled assholes and most states know us only for the city and the seafood.

All anyone around here knows about Idaho is potatoes.

I close my eyes and imagine neck-straining mountains that end in sharp points like a monster's jagged teeth (hence "Sawtooth"). I imagine a beautiful dinnerhouse with seating for 50 and a modern kitchen. I imagine hustling from table-to-table in the early breakfast-rush, trying to take orders and remember places and questions and drink requests. I practice smiling, since I've not seen many waitresses who don't practice this. I imagine a small room, maybe the size of my bedroom in Sunderland, two twin beds, two small closets; my roommate a blonde or dark-haired girl, friendly and interested in rock-climbing with the gear I bought especially for this trip. I imagine assembling a small desk out of books and a piece of plywood in the corner of the room, where I can do my writing.

And then I open my eyes, and see that I'm in my father's house, and I have no real work other than delivering and driving back and forth across the state--mountains to ocean, ocean to mountains--in an endless pattern like a restless cat.

The mantra begins anew: "Less than a month left, less than a month left..." and I smile, returning to my rough imaginings. But I won't really know what it's like until I get out there. You can be sure I'll be taking notes like a mad scientist. Lines will run together and keys will fall out of my keyboard because I'll be typing so fast. But for now it continues, this run from Mountains to Ocean and back again. For now I am yours, Massachusetts.

-Restless Adventurer

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