It seemed later than 8am when I loaded up and got on the road for the journey to State College, PA. It was still a grey, muted Thursday and there was nothing crisp to be seen in South Philly. I mounted the new GPS unit to the window, made sure my new EZ Pass was in place and turned the key and got down to business. It was something I had done hundreds of times before but today was different. It was me behind the wheel of my new car, and at the helm for my first road trip as the piolet. I hit random on the iPod and away I went. Sooner than expected the city got behind me and the outskirts followed shortly after. The coffee kicked in and seemed to hit the soundtrack of Radiohead, Motley Crue, and The Devil Makes Three in all the right places.
The clouds were hanging around and at times let some sunbeams break through across the peaks and valleys of the turnpikes first foothills. Around one curve I found the richest fog cutting into the greenest foliage still hanging around form the rain. Off the left side a river was way over its banks and reminding some unfortunate homeowners who still calls the shots on this rock. Despite that it was a maiden voyage I had been contemplating for months. My new car, my new camera, my new laptop, my new appreciation for the open road and all the things to see along it all finally in motion. I had a schedule, but it was a loose one and self imposed so I made sure to stop off at a scenic view rest stop and snap a few pics. It was wet and muddy so I did not make it far, but the stretch of the legs and the few frames I got were ok. Was nice to just make it happen and to allow my self the time and the opportunity and experience.
It is true that you just have to be open to life. To keep your eyes open, your ears open, your life open. You may not be able to understand it all all the time, but shit, if you ask me, that is part of the fun. Today I remembered why I enjoy what I do and the choices I have made, and the way it is all unfolding or coming together, which ever expression you prefer. Sure there are things I miss on a daily basis that are a result, but again, sometimes you just have to be open to life and take it all in and make what sense of it you can.
So far, the Maiden Voyage of the new car and the new mobile showroom I am undertaking is going ok. Didnt find many leads today, but maybe tonight will reveal something different. The morning was full of wonder and nature along the way, to be met with cookie cutter hotel, bad shopping options, and A LOT of young students that looked at me as if I was someones dad. Now time for dinner and most likely an fair share of rum.
I have always had a soft spot for art and photography that captures, is made from, or involves Japanese culture. Add in a vision and style that is refreshing and modern and I am sold. In todays world that is over saturated with boring and uninspired photoblogs where vintage filters and special effects have become more of a prerequisite than vision and technique it was a real treat to come across Yowayowa Camera Woman Diary. Natsumi Hayashi is a young women from Tokyo who has been gaining attention as of late and is as fun as it is interesting to view. Check out her web page and see a whole host of images and keep up with her work and her exhibitions here: http://yowayowacamera.com/
I have love taking and using mass transit. I love the decent and ascent from the stations. That feeling of wind that rushes into the station just before the trains pull in. I love the walks in and through the city. I fell even more a part of Philadelphia when I am walking its streets. I feel its history, while adding my own with every step. I like the notion of doing something that is a bit better for the air and traffic in my city. I never felt like I was missing much or limited in what I could or could not do. Somethings may have been more of a challenge, but not undoable.
Having said all that, for the first time ever after 38 years, I have gone out and got myself a new car. Technically I am leasing it, but its still mine. I am still making payments every month so as far as I am concerned its mine. It seems like such a treat, yet such an almost foreign concept at the same time. Not the actual driving of it as I was always a good and mostly safe driver when I did drive, but the owning of it. The fact that I can get in it and go anywhere at anytime. Its freeing in way I have not known before. I have had two cars early in my adult life, but the situation at the time of being a college student and a line cook / dishwasher did not lend itself to think too much about my car and I taking on the open road. I am not really sure either of the cars would have gotten very far even if I wanted them to.
After I got through with all the paper work, signing forms in triplicate, and all the payments, it was mine. The payments, the insurance, the responsibility, the freedom. There was this odd and wonderful American transition that took place as I walked out of the dealership door and up to my new car. It seemed as if all the great road novels and the great works of literature of American past become an even more part of me. Sal Paradise and Neal Cassady seemed to give me an invisible pat on the back on say “Welcome back, we missed you, and your country has needed you. Now ge back out there and tell us what you find” Yes, that is a bit egocentric, but hey, its my fantasy afterall right?
So here we are, the end of the first week of being a new car owner. The navigation system is in place, Road Atlas in the back seat for good measure. A visit to see my daughter and the first leg of a work sales trip is on the docket. Thoughts of joining AAA and getting a digital Trip Tick cross my mind. I hope to see many new and exciting sights along the way mixed in with the old and familiar things I already am familiar with. The parlor is about to get a bit more vast…