Thank you Viagra

     I pulled into the motel’s parking lot and noticed four scruffy men standing on the second floor balcony outside two open doors. This was a motel where you entered your room from the outside. Two of the guys were squatting against the wall between two bedroom doors. The other two were bent over the flimsy balcony rail peering over the few cars parked below. Each was holding a can of beer and wearily watching the comings and goings of the traffic along UT-19 through Green River, Utah. Their faces were as haggard as their clothes. They looked like they just knocked off from a hard day’s work and hadn’t had time to wash up before cocktail hour. It looked as if that hour might be extended through the rest of the evening.

     I had spent the day exploring the National Parks outside of Moab: Arches and Canyonlands and I was tired, tired of the desert heat and dust, tired of the crowds and traffic. I was sitting in a straight-back chair in my room in a motel whose motto is, “We’ll leave the light on for you.” The chair was designed for utility not comfort, its fabric and pattern read “institutional.” I turned the television set on to fill the room with some sort of ambiance and to drown out the overworked air conditioner while I bided my time waiting for something or other to upload from, or download to, my laptop.

     “This is the age of knowing what you’re made of” announced the TV. It made me think about the trip I was on, this solitary two-month cross-country trek. The words reverberated and spoke to me. They captured perfectly the unspoken intent of this journey and they left me pondering what it was, exactly, I was made of. Utah was the fourteenth state I was passing through and I was just starting to make a dent on the list of must-see national treasures. I had flagged points on a map of the places I wanted to visit but had no concrete route mapped out on how best to connect those points. I was ambling without much of a plan. I was in uncharted territory and well outside my comfort zone. I had pitched the tent and slept outside a half dozen times, doubling the number of times I had camped throughout my entire life. My 58 year old bones and joints were telling me I was not made for camping.  Most significantly I was traveling alone.

     “This is the age of taking action” intoned the announcer again.
I was challenging myself in taking this trip across country. I had passed bicycles and motorcycles loaded down with waterproof gear, sleeping bags and tents, two-wheeled vehicles open to the elements. I knew I was taking the easy route, safe within my Mini. Yet I knew my way was challenging enough for me. I was doing this by myself, relying on no one for guidance, no one for direction, no one for support or encouragement, and no one to offer a second opinion.

     I hadn’t wasted much energy on “what if” scenarios, bad storylines, or potential disasters that could befall me.  It was only a day or two before leaving when my buddy Dan suggested I carry a first aid kit.  Most days I didn’t know how the day would play out, what I’d see or where I’d stop for the night. I moved forward one step at a time, one day at a time. I endured the challenges, inconveniences large and small, that any such trip can throw at you. I stepped away from the comfortable and walked into the unknown, at least unknown to me. Each morning I woke up and took the next first step in my journey. I was enduing the open road and the crowds and the aloneness. I was resilient enough to pack up the car and drive forward each day, exploring, experimenting, testing myself. I was proving that I could do this, that I had grit, endurance, stamina, resilience, a sense of humor, and determination.

     “This is the age of knowing what you’re made of. This is the age of taking action.” Those words emanating from the TV set in that institutional motel room in Utah stayed with me and lasted throughout the night and each day for the next month as I drove through an additional eleven states and one province. I was taking action and getting to know what I was made of. I was of that age and I did not need the help of a little blue pill.

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About rich1019

A new adventure is just around the corner. While not an adventure seeker by nature, I'm open to new experiences. Peace Corps. Life is calling.
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4 Responses to Thank you Viagra

  1. James Borgia-Forster says:

    Glad to hear it!

  2. James Borgia-Forster says:

    Maybe it should have been titled: “No thank you Viagra!”

  3. Tanya Thorne says:

    Your writing is so evocative. I thoroughly enjoy it when you post your musings.

    In response to the above thoughts, and your own self doubt – you put up with 35 years of state bureaucracy. A cross-country trip is CAKE, compared to your former career. You have no lack of stamina or fortitude; you just need practice in having faith and confidence in those qualities a bit more.

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