I know this much is true

I've decided that the best way to handle such a deeply bizarre situation as this one is to treat it like the ludicrous thing it is; something so dumbfounding and jaw-dropping that, well, all you can do is just laugh, because there isn't a rule in the rule book for this sort of special circumstance.

Everyone over the age of twelve likes to fancy themselves the keenest, most astute judge of human nature to walk this earth, myself included. Luckily enough, most of the time, the fact that you're deluding yourself only sends you out on a couple of bad dates or leads you to bet on the wrong sports team in the Super Bowl.

Illinois: You'll do, miss. You'll do.

I get asked sometimes about the kind of people I meet when I travel. Mostly because I always seem to come back with stories of the people that I didn't intend to meet, but somehow managed to bump into, anyway.

When I travel alone, I ask a lot of questions. Telling perfect strangers that you're a writer is almost tantamount to asking them for the story of their life; stand there quietly, perhaps with a pen and a piece of paper, and the world opens up to you. The next thing you know, you're sitting on a park bench with someone who formerly looked like everyone else (but who now is suddenly very interesting), and they're telling you the story of their life, their loves, and why they live where they live.

It's fascinating, and it's very, very addicting.While in Illinois, I took two day trips to Springfield. The first I devoted mostly to Lincoln-related sightseeing.

The monument dwarfs individual humans.  I am at the center of the photo, and can barely be seen.Amy, Lincoln Memorial

Pictorial memoir: Illinois

I confess. I was a bad, bad girl while I was on my trip. I didn't take any pictures. But—for those of you who just can't live without having this sort of thing, I did save strange and random bits of things to put together into a collage.

A collage of bits and pieces from my trip to Illinois in 2001.  Mouse over the notes to find out what each item was, or see the entry that originally accompanied this photo.2001 Illinois trip collage

[see full-sized version on flickr]

Here's what you'll find in the picture:

  1. The all-important packing list, taken from my visor. Can't forget the cell phone, or beer for the host.
  2. My alarm clock, with the 'alarm' pointer still signifying my four a.m. wakeup time.
  3. Chicago Transit Authority bus pass.
  4. Pass to the Dana-Thomas house, which I toured in the rain.
  5. Movie ticket from Innocence. I cried.
  6. 'Cashier was USCAN'? Aaron and I both boggled over that one. Quite funny, we thought.

If I'm gonna die, dammit, I am NOT dying in Chicago.

So, you wanted to know what, exactly, happened on that mysterious weekend in Illinois? This is the overwhelming majority of a letter that I sent to a couple of people while I was there, regaling them with the weirdness that always comes with a domesticat roadtrip.

Laugh, and be thankful you were you, and not me, during the course of this particular weekend:

tired roadtripwarriorgirl arrives home

I'm home from vacation.

Looking for pithy commentary? Look elsewhere tonight, please. I had a nerve-wracking morning. The details of this morning's events concern the well-being of a friend; and I am unsure of how much detail I can go into on this website. For now it must suffice for me to say that I was (and am) upset, worried, and hoping that the person in question is doing better than they were this morning.

roadtripwarriorgoodnessgirl, part 2

* Amy is on vacation. She returns home on Friday, December 14; her almost-daily commentary will return shortly thereafter.