12.15.2012

260 - Road Trip, Day 1: Fresno


I think yesterday might have officially been the first day of our road trip, since that's when we drove from Los Angeles up to Fresno. However, I'm counting today's drive -- LA to Redding -- as Day 1 in blog world because it's the first day I wore something out of my suitcase. 

My suitcase on this trip is something to behold. It's an old, ratty, beat-up thing, worn thin from overstuffing on styling gigs, but goliath in size. I've managed to fit 15 days' worth of clothing, outerwear, and shoes inside, and we're not talking "throw-it-the-fuck-in-who-cares-it's-an-adventure" packing. We're talking, "oh-shit-madeline-needs-to-stay-on-a-consistent-blog-schedule-so-bring-some-real-fucking-outfits" packing. The thing takes up the whole fucking trunk of my boyfriend's car, which he generously allotted me since he wears the same thing for like two weeks in a row. So, now we're like a mobile testament to excess, although I lie to myself and say it's equal parts excess and equal parts productivity. See, because the blog is me being productive and all. 

So, these photos were taken earlier today outside of my mother's apartment building in Fresno, and now, I am sitting on an extremely peculiar bedspread inside of a busted motel in Redding, California with two dogs passed out beside me while my boyfriend smokes cigarettes outside. He's wearing my vintage Def Leppard tee shirt and a worn-in peacoat with a silly red pom-top beanie (which I plan on wearing tomorrow), and the same Kill City jeans he's been wearing every day straight for the past two years. I feel like we're in the even trashier sequel to True Romance or something. Except there are dogs instead of guns. And neither of us has stolen drug money...yet.

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Now that my little schtick is done, I feel like I should address the fucking nightmare that happened today in Connecticut, but whenever a tragedy occurs, I never know quite what to say here. It seems trite to even try to address it on such a frivolous platform, but negligent to ignore it. 

My boyfriend lost a good friend yesterday early morning to a hit-and-run by a drunk driver, which was absolutely devastating. We spent the four-hour car ride trying to Fresno trying to ignore the cataclysmic feeling of sorrow in the pit of our stomachs, breaking awkward silences every once in a while to lash out in anger against the selfishness and carelessness of it all, the shocking lack of regard some people have for life, how quickly someone can be ripped away from you because one person failed to act like a human fucking being. Then, today, we see the news about the Connecticut massacre on our Twitter feeds and news sites, and our already-heavy hearts collapse even more in sorrow. I read about the mall shooter in Portland, at the mall mere blocks from my boyfriend's family's home, the mall where we went to buy a cheap suit for his sister's wedding just a couple of months ago. 

I feel defeated, and I'm sure you feel it, too. Tragedies like these occur every day around the world in varying scopes, and that doesn't make them any easier. The only way to be happy, it seems, is to ignore it all. Sometimes, though, you can't simply ignore it -- maybe for all of its biases the media just won't let you this one time, or maybe it all becomes just too much and it just shocks you into waking up for just one moment and seeing the world for what it truly is: a mess. It's just a mess, and it's sad, and there are a million words we can use to process our feelings about it all, but there are no words that will fix anything. 

So, tonight, in this stupid motel room in this bizarre place, I'm grieving for everything horrible I have not allowed myself to process for awhile, and I know that people everywhere are doing the same, for whatever reasons they have, for whatever tragedies they have witnessed. There is humanity in the solidarity of that grieving, and I think that is what's worth clinging to, through all of this. Kindness, empathy, and compassion bring humanity together while selfishness, greed, and aggression seek to destroy it. Let's all be good to each other, as much as we possibly can, tonight, tomorrow, and always, because in a world so overrun by horrors, sincere kindness is the greatest weapon we have.