I’m damn good at running away. I’m probably better at it than anything else I’ve ever tried. And, as you can imagine, this can create a lot of problems for me; quitting becomes easier, there’s always such a mess to clean up after one returns to the place they’ve tried to abandon, financial destructiveness, etc. Sometimes, running away is a good idea, however. Sometimes, running away is the best idea I’ve ever had. Not very long ago, I ran away to Dallas. Here’s what that looked like.
On an August night, I found myself lying in bed at 1 AM unable to sleep, which gives me immense anxiety. I have insomnia. It’s annoying. But on this particular night, it was unbearable, because it was indicative of everything I was experiencing in my train wreck of a life. So, being an escapist like myself, I begin to imagine how great it would be to be somewhere not lying in bed at 1AM unable to sleep. I imagined the beach, or Paris, or the Andes.
What occurred to me, was how depressing it felt to be trapped; shackled by routines, burdened by the abstract expectations that loomed over me, telling me that I should be more normal.
So, I googled the closest city on my phone, which resulted in a map that showed a path from point A (my bed) to point B (Dallas). So, I got out of bed, feeling the rush of adrenaline at the idea of leaving so abruptly without any plans or security. This creates a kind of rush that not many can handle, I’d imagine. It kind of makes a person sick to their stomach in the moment. But, it’s a rush that reminded me of my own mortality, and that I still had a say in how I live my own life, so I decided to go.
At the gas station, I bought (2) twenty oz Red Bulls, and filled up my gas tank. So far, so good. My grin and manic eyes tipped off the attendant that I was up to no good, so I informed her that I was leaving for Dallas. She smiled, as I’m sure she wanted to tag along.
On the road, I felt excited, for about an hour. Then, I started to feel a sense of longing and dread. Longing for the comfort and familiarity of my home and dread for the uncertainty of what I’d committed myself to doing. The highway at night forces one to think about their own life in a way hardly any other experience can.
What the hell am I doing? What if I die on this road? How much longer? Why do I have this insatiable urge to listen to every 80s song known to man?
These are the kinds of thoughts that one must confront on the highway at night.
Despite my panic-stricken mind that told me repeatedly to turn around, it was not as convincing as Bonnie Tyler, so I kept going. I kept going until nearly 6 hours in, when I realized that I hadn’t slept in a very long time, and decided to take the next exit, and sleep in my car at the safest parking lot I could find. My face mask shielded me from the soon-to-rise sun, and my pink fuzzy blanket gave me enough comfort to embrace my borderline insanity.
What a beautiful experience. Truly euphoric. I drove into Dallas just as the sun was rising and watched all of the people hurry themselves to work. Dallas will always have a sort of innocent fantastical sentiment, because that morning the world was singing. It is a young city, so there are new buildings going up in every direction, and it’s abnormally clean. After living in Brooklyn, I felt like this city was defying the laws of nature.
This was all grand, until I remembered what it’s like to have a car in a city. Parking makes you think of murder. Especially when you have no clue where you’re even going. I didn’t have a hotel picked out, and I didn’t even have a clue as to where I was. Worst of all, I desperately had to pee.
Searching for a reasonable place to park, feed the monster of a meter, and humbly pay for a hotel room so that I could use the ladies room was no small feat. Truly. I seriously considered peeing in a cup, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, on principle. So I found a hotel that I could not afford, and sat on a toilet for the best 30 seconds of my life. No, not really, but it was refreshing.
The afternoon included:
- A quick nap in my plush hotel bed
- A shopping adventure
- Lunch at a hip cafe
- A tour of the Dallas Museum of Modern Art
- A long phone-talk with a long-lost ex-boyfriend on a rock in a park.
- Wandering around the city in a mindless, zen-like state
- Eating dinner at a peculiar Mexican restaurant, wherein two middle aged men (literally) serenaded me with a song I can no longer remember
- Eating two desserts at once, since, what the f*ck, YOLO. No, I don’t actually use that acronym, it was meant to be ironic.
Yes, I had a sublime experience. I loved every minute of it, and sometimes, running away is a good idea. Clearly, a life lesson of this kind couldn’t be taught in a conventional manner. I’d put some clichéd quote about dancing in the rain or something, but I think you get the idea.