Rediscovering America on a 3,000 Mile Road Trip
Thirteen days from Boston to Los Angeles, with my mother and brother
I am from America. One Nation, Under God. I don’t live in America anymore though. I live in far-away countries that are sometimes under God, but mostly under skies, clouds, stars, the sun, the moon, and sometimes birds.
I decided to return home after nearly a decade for a road trip — a three-thousand-mile drive with my mother and brother in a Chrysler Seabreeze from Boston, Massachusetts (where I grew up) to L.A.
Sitting in the back of a car for long stretches opens the mind up to a lot of weird thoughts. About three hours after we set out from Massachusetts, mine was this: People are like eggs, all being flavored in whatever way makes them most palatable to whoever’s plate they’re on. For example, I am a person. If I were an egg, I’d be a fried egg, like my mother, who sat shotgun. My brother, who led the expedition, would also, likely, be a fried egg: salt, no pepper — the three of us.
We left our home. We passed overnight into Ohio. From the window of our hotel, across the highway, casting a shadow over row after row of rundown housing units, we saw a billboard. This is what the billboard said:
WHAT CAME FIRST? THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG? CALL 1–800–683-TRUTH.
On the left side of the billboard, there was a magnificent chicken. Beside the building, there were two buildings that looked like boobs. So, I told my brother: “Look — those buildings look like boobs.”
And he said: “Grow up.”
And my mother said: “The free breakfast is just hard-boiled eggs and white bread. Gross. Can we please go somewhere else to eat?”
So we stopped in Kentucky at a diner with a sign that said: Fried Eggs and Grits $4.99. It was far enough south to get sweet tea. We stood outside. We looked around, then at ourselves.
“I don’t think we look like we’re from around here,” I noted.
My brother frowned at me. “I’m wearing all mint,” he said.
The waitress was nice to us anyways, brought us sweet tea. Then came back with straws. She dropped them…