I woke up in Connecticut and had my experience with xenophobia as I got cold stares from an elderly man with his son, staring at the dark-skinned, ambiguous-looking guy I am. “Is he Mexican? Asian? Native American?” Whatever he thought I was, he decided he didn’t like my type as I had coffee in McDonald’s, and we drove to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Later on, we drove to Northampton, and all through the drive and even in the town of Northampton, we were assaulted by dandelions in the wind. Think of those old Japanese movies where people are in the forest and cherry blossoms are flying all over the place during dramatic scenes. For us, the dandelions were just part of the scenery.
We ate at a Japanese restaurant and I pretty much determined that my decision to pick up Mandarin as a language before Japanese and Korean was the right one: all the servers and owners were Chinese. Imagine their surprise when I busted out the Chinese and how their staring at me was a lot more obvious than the white people looking at us. Northampton has to be one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever seen, and pretty much what America would look like if die-hard liberals took over. The only big businesses there were a lone Starbucks and a CVS Pharmacy, everything else was mom and pop’s or some hippie-owned corner store, all environmentally-friendly and treated me like a guest instead of a customer.
Later on, we enjoyed smalltown America in Northampton, very liberal and beautiful place, especially Smith college. I’m tempted to send them a postcard I picked up later in Boston which is an old Navy recruiting poster, which says “I wish I were a man so I can join the Navy!”
Later we drove to Boston and stayed the night in a seedy part of town in the Econo Lodge. Parked for a rip-off $34 for all day parking in Post Office Square, went to this Irish pub to have some beer and chowder. Walked over to the U.S.S. Constitution and saw one of the oldest Naval vessels, where later on I got the above postcard. Planning on sending it to some Feminazis I know if not to Smith College and Sara Lawrence’s administrators.
We took the ferry back because it was only $1.70–cheapest way to take a ferry around Boston Harbor and also fastest way too: it’s public transport and locals take it all the time after work, so we weren’t tourists. Saw a little bit of the Chinatown and had some fried rice, it must have been one of the more mainstream restaurants since there were a few black people in there, and generally it’s a mutual distrust between Chinese and blacks in the experience I’ve had in other Chinatowns and restaurants. It probably helped they were with other Chinese friends, so they had the okay. Race relations are pretty interesting wherever I go.
After paying that rip-off parking fee, we drove over to Warwick, Rhode Island and checked into a Motel 6. I had a rush memories and flashbacks of growing up on the road, living in our car and wandering in the middle of the night gazing at the stars under the street lights of the parking lot, wondering where I was going to be and what would happen to me.
In the morning, we drove around Providence and Oakland Beach. We had baked clams, chowder (better than Boston actually), and quahogs, which locals call “stuffies” that were amazingly and unsurprisingly delicious. I love seafood, so it could be bias, but in the Ocean State and after long, long lines, I’d say that they are good. A definite hidden charm of New England and Rhode Island.
After a view of the Atlantic Ocean, we went over to Providence and stopped by Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. At RISD, I was helped by a pretty short-gray-haired girl and some cute Asian girls to get some newsprint and charcoal. I saw John Hay and Athenaeum Libraries, one being the best resource for H.P. Lovecraft’s works and the other being an old haunt of his and Edgar Allen Poe, then got a rubbing with the charcoal and newsprint to show I was there since anybody can get a picture nowadays. Later on, we tried to find his house, only to find that it had been demolished in 1961, then set out for the graveyard to see his grave.
Here begins a ghost story, which I’ll jump back to a dream I had when we slept in Motel 6. I was in some place like San Diego, going up the hill, and some jerk-off was getting in my way and insisting I should get out of his way. When he saw where I was going in, which was this building, he apologizes, saying he didn’t know I was going there and he now knows what I’m supposed to be doing and what’s going on there, but was still being an ass about it. Inside, a few Russians and Chinese were kneeling in front of some wall and I joined in, bowing down and kowtowing my head to the ground out of respect for whomever it was they were remembering and mourning. My mentor Joel taps me and says “they know what they’re doing, you don’t need to join in” and then I walk out. I sit on a couch outside and ******** is there, I lean on her shoulder and put my arm around her, and she does the same, telling me she always finds more and more about me interesting and cool. I lean a bit more onto her since I’m tired and my mouth ends up getting tempted and I nip her breast a little, then she laughs, and we fall off the couch, then I wake up falling off the bed.
Back to the present moment, I’ve got 20 minutes to go and we’re driving around with the map printed out from the administrative office of the cemetery where H.P. Lovecraft is buried. With barely 10 minutes to go, I ask “wouldn’t it be nice if someone came to help us out?” and imagined H.P. Lovecraft’s ghost coming. Instead, a short-haired white lady comes out of nowhere and I ask her if by any chance she knew where to find his grave. Surprisingly, she knew, and pointed us out there. We drove by, then saw her talking to a security guard driving by, and they point us to the exact spot. We get a rubbing of his grave with the charcoal and newsprint, then as we leave, the security guard said that we were lucky he came by and she told him, since he was about to lock us up in the cemetery overnight. Driving out, Pat realizes he didn’t know where she came from or where she went. Then I freaked him out when I told him that I saw her in my dream the night before.
Heading out of Rhode Island back towards Massachusetts, we saw a lot of Hispanics there, surprised at the diversity of what we first took to be an all-white state. We went back over to the road we drove from Springfield to Northampton on the MA-2 West at night, over the bridge in Gill, MA. A storm came and slammed the door in Pat’s face as he stepped out to see how strong the wind and rain was, and all the lights on the street went out. We drove in pitch black and nothing was ahead of us or behind us, and eventually, sliding and stumbling, we saw where the lightning had been striking: trees were felled over and others blown by the winds. We drove right through one huge tree which knocked out power lines, and almost crashed into four others in our path, then the next few towns were completely black like a video game, along the lines of Silent Hill. I was imagining someone dressed in a raincoat holding an ax ready to cut us down.
We pulled over to a parking lot where the generator was running in front of a market, and camped out as the rain hammered the car. I pulled out my pillow from my suitcase, and woke up a few times to see Pat pulled us out once the power went on and at every stop we made. From 0100 to 0200, he said it was darker than before, redirected by a police officer to upstate New York because of the flooding and the damage from felled trees. around 0900, we woke up in upstate New York, stopped by a lake, and saw a Lazy Boy chair right in front of some of the dirtiest water I’ve ever seen. Moving up, we stopped by a McDonald’s to charge my phone in case another emergency happened on the way to Cooperstown. In these pure-white communities, we weren’t surprised that someone who talked to one of us mistook us for the other minutes later. An old lady Pat asked for directions talked to me before realizing I wasn’t Pat, who walked from the other side and let her know she talked to him instead.
In Cooperstown, Pat walked over to the Baseball Hall of Fame and threw down another $20 to experience sports history, and I looked around for a place to charge my MacBook and drink some green tea in this place called Stage Coach. From here, we’re looking to see Niagara Falls and to Cornell in Ithaca, New York to see what other Ivy League I can dream of going to for graduate school.