Sometimes I wonder if you guys are just waiting for me to bust out some kind of serious post talking about politics and the world and what's wrong with it. I really hope you guys aren't because I can't stand thinking about, let alone writing about, the real world. It horrifies me. And if it isn't horrifying me, it's boring or irritating me. I despise the news because all it gives me is the bad stuff. Where the hell are all of the happy stories? Can't they ever just say, "Hey! Somebody did something totally awesome today!"
Nobody wants to hear the good stuff, though. Misery sells.
I prefer to be happy.
Like that time that I flew to San Diego to see Mouse graduate Basic Training for the Marine Corps. The happy tears when he saw me in the crowd, the surprise because I hadn't told him I was coming. The reunion and the catching up because I'd been angry and only sent him one letter the entire time he was gone because I hated war, politics, and the military. But despite that, I was still proud watching him. I had to go. I'd seen him off to Basic when he left and there were plenty of tears. Angry, bitter, unhappy tears. It wouldn't have been complete if I hadn't been there to watch him graduate. The happy tears were necessary.
And San Diego was beautiful. The sky was that perfect shade of cloudless blue that is warm and bright and so pretty it makes you want to cry. I might have cried. The Pacific Ocean was beautiful and so clean and clear that I could see straight to the bottom when I was standing on cliffs over the water. When I put my toes in that water for the first time, there was this awesome feeling of accomplishment. One more down. The Atlantic, the Gulf, the Pacific. I'm only short one trip to Alaska to put my feet in the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Alaska, and then I will have been in every ocean and gulf that touches the United States.
Though I hate flying with every fiber of my being, it was worth the fear and anxiety and horrible daydreams in which I imagined all the ways I could die in the air. It was worth it because it brought me one step closer to my goal.
Because I love to travel. I love to see beautiful new places. Arizona was beautiful with it's rock formations. Vegas, with all the lights and the excitement and the hustle, was beautiful. New Mexico, with it's flat desert and the sunset the color of fire and blood, was amazing. Even West Texas, with it's "mountains" and cows, was pretty.
I've been in every single state in the Southern United States, but I think my favorite thing I've ever seen was driving through the Smokies as the sun came up over the mountains and it hit the mist, and there was bright, golden light that I knew, at fourteen years old, was probably the most beautiful thing I'd ever see in my life. I haven't seen anything to match it yet. I tried time and again to paint that image. Failure upon failure upon failure. It turns out that no matter how much you want to, sometimes it's just impossible to share beauty that you've witnessed. Also, I have no gift for landscapes. I'm better with people even if the noses never come out quite right.
I've even been to Maryland and Washington DC, though I hate the drive. Especially when going into Maryland and there's this huge bridge you have to drive over. It makes me nervous because it goes up and then down like a hill. I always hated bridges (but I'm perfectly good with tunnels) and this bridge takes the cake in horrifying. Why they would make a bridge like this. . . /\ . . .I have no idea. It's silly. And scary. Like what if your breaks go out on the way up or down and you hurtle out of control and die in a fiery inferno of pain and death and fear?
See, the world is bad enough without engineers scaring the living hell out of people with these ridiculous designs. Bad enough that you have to drive over large bodies of water to begin with, don't let's make it worse by forcing you to drive up to the clouds and then back down to Earth again. There's nothing fun in that. Though Maryland itself has some pretty sights. (Not pretty voices though. I don't know why Northerners insist on talking through their noses, but it's almost as irritating as a Southern Drawl. Can't people just speak normally?)
I have to say, though, that I saw absolutely nothing noteworthy in Alabama except a lot of Stars and Bars in windshields, which is noteworthy only in the fact that I expected to see more Alabama State flags. I don't know if I just missed the beauty because of the way we traveled, or if I'm just prejudiced enough against Alabamians that I wouldn't let myself see any beauty. I recall vividly, however, the "Welcome to Alabama!" sign at the border that was shot up with bullet holes. So classy, Alabamians. So classy.
Virginia is probably one of my favorite states to visit, and not just because Daddy lives there. I love the Magnolia trees. I've never in my life seen Magnolias in Texas outside of a florist, but Daddy had a huge Magnolia tree blooming in his backyard the first summer we went down to visit him. The flowers were big and beautiful, like the tree itself was. The smell. . .divine. (That is, after I loaded myself up with enough allergy meds so that my nose could function. Once I cross the Mississippi River I have allergies like everybody here in Austin seems to have.)
When I first decided that I wanted to go into Journalism, it was because I wanted an excuse to travel. I'm not interested in finding beautiful people. I like beautiful formations and beautiful music. That was what I wanted to travel to find, to write about. It didn't actually end up working out that way, obviously. It turns out I lack the writing style of a journalist, and anyway Journalism is a dying field thanks to the internet. Also, I have this obsession with having a real home that isn't conducive to a life of constant travel.
Aussie said it best when he said, "Chanel, you are a paradox wrapped in a mystery covered with an enigma. There is no figuring you out."
Maybe that's true.
I hardly understand myself sometimes. Most of the time, actually. Sometimes Padawan will say that he doesn't understand me.
And I can only shrug my shoulders and say, "Well, that makes two of us." And then we laugh.
Everything always comes back to a laugh, because life in my little world is funny. Not depressing or angry or violent or political. Who wants anything like that? People who spend their lives following politics and war and the tragedies of the world are just...missing out on some of the better things in life. The happier things.
Everyone else can enjoy reality. Me? I like my reality the way it is.