From Los Angeles to Washington D.C., to College Park MD, to Philadelphia, PA, to New York, NY, to Springfield, MA, to Northampton, MA, to Boston, MA, to Providence, RI, to Cooperstown, NY, to Ithaca, NY, and finally to Pittsburgh, PA: our one-week adventure in New England is mapped right there. A part of me doesn’t want this to end, another part of me can’t believe we have only been out a week, another part can’t believe how much we’ve done, and another part thinks we haven’t done enough.
But for now, I’m here in Pennsylvania, beginning my new lease on life. Ironic: I came here to be independent after making some seriously difficult decisions, and Pennsylvania is known as the State of Independence. After leaving the Golden State of California, I guess I feel like the fool chasing that allegorical pot of gold found at the end of a rainbow the longer I stayed there. So instead, I just hit the reset button on life now, with no family or baggage to hold me back. I don’t have a family, it’s just me, and all other baggage was put to rest the week before I left California. Now it’s just a few hundred bucks in my pocket and a few good friends to help me get on my feet.
The night I spent in Clinton County was nothing special, but it gave me time to think and prepare for Pittsburgh. This would be the last night on the road, and the next day, the new life really has to begin. We stopped by Penn State University and then drove through the rain to Pittsburgh. Along the way, I realized how liberal Pennsylvania was when I saw a same-sex couple and their son, two women with short hair, large waistlines, and tattoos in the Burger King we dropped by. I passed on the food because I saw the average waistline of everyone and decided I didn’t want to join them.
In Pittsburgh, we finally got to Joel’s house after getting lost in the hills and twists and turns of the city, in a heavy rainstorm. Pat didn’t stick around; he got a steak from Charlotte for the road and played with her daughter Sam, and we said our goodbyes, and he left for Washington D.C. to prepare for his interview next week. Tonight I’m not sure what happens, but I think I’ll need time to mourn. Now that the adventure on the road is over, my emotions are catching up and the loss of my father, the reset for life, and lack of any support right now are all slowly sinking in.