So here's what I should be doing right now:
A bunch of reading.
Deciding what I'm going to read on Saturday at the Newbie Reading.
Clipping my toenails.
Figuring out where the rich people keep the Target.
Putting photos of the campus on my computer.
And here's what I am doing:
Telling you all about how I bought the world's smallest abridged Kama Sutra.
So I left Friday morning around 10:00 even though I planned to leave at 9:00 because buying tickets to the Tori Amos show downtown in October takes precedence above oxygen most of the time. These people know what a bizarre species we Tori fans are and so they planned accordingly. Except not at all. Their website wouldn't allow me to add two tickets to my cart (making a total of two tickets) because I was limited to two tickets. Two is also the number of aneurysms I can't believe I didn't have.
I finally got the fucking website to work (or someone at the pgharts.org IT department figured out a way to keep his job) and sprinted onto the turnpike. The trip was fine till I had to exit the turnpike, which is a phrase you will never hear ever again even if you live to be 150. I had to exit near Carlisle, which is just the first in a series of serendipitous intersections with Schools That Rejected Me. Anyway, as I was getting near the exit, I started to see all the digital signs flashing some warning about a backup at exit...something. I missed it. Because the idiots who program those signs make half of a vital message display for about six seconds, and then you pass it as you get the second half of whatever it was you really needed to know. But I had to pee, so I got off at the next service plaza, which was a Roy Rogers and a Sunoco competing for Dirtiest Establishment In Pennsylvania.
I stood around with a bunch of irritated vacationing dads in front of the turnpike map conveniently located directly in the flow of all the foot traffic entering the entire building. Because when you're trying to figure out a route based on a giant plastic map in a Roy Rogers bathroom vestibule, it's good to be jostled by sweaty strangers. So I mumbled at the map for a while and then, almost in synch with all the vacationing dad troupe, said, "But that's gonna take an extra 45 minutes!" because the only math I can do is Angry Road Math.
I hadn't had lunch yet, and I was already in a bad mood, so I decided to buy something from Roy Rogers. If you ever go into a Roy Rogers on the Pennsylvania turnpike and actually leave with food, you can safely assume that you are either A) already angry at the world and don't care what happens to you anymore, or B) about to be. I ordered a Number 1, which appeared to be a cheeseburger from 1979. I don't know what decade the fries were from, because before I could decide, the angry woman at the register threw my paper cup at me. "Drink!" she grunted at me. I wasn't sure if this was her way of communicating to me that I should not eat the cup, or if she perhaps had some fetish. "Yes. Drink," I said. Which might be how I wound up catching my bag of cheeseburger like a fly ball.
I slung some condiments on my burger, which I now suspect was actually from 1979, filled my drink, and got the hell out of there. Back in the car, I turned on the radio and staticked my way through the AM stations to figure out if it was, in fact, my exit that had a backup and why that might be. All I got was Jim Rome. So I listened to him and tried to figure out how the hell I could manually adjust the radio stations. And that's when I took a bite. There was something not of a cow in this burger.
I pictured that old Simpsons scene where Lisa is visualizing all the meat that goes into a hot dog -- a pigeon, raccoon, and an old boot. I think they use the same meat supplier. But then I realized that it was something extra that was giving me shivers in my soul, not the patty itself. And I peeled what I think was bacon off the bottom of the bun. Never in my life have I not wanted bacon. Although this might have been boot and/or raccoon. The fries were what I can only describe as cool and flaccid. And still, none of this prepared me for the Coke. How do you fuck up Coke? You hook up some tubes, you shut the door to the machine, and then you walk away. And it wasn't just that the ratio of syrup to carbonated water was wrong. It was like they'd tried to make the Coke syrup themselves. Using raisins and turpentine. I kept forgetting or thinking, "Was it really that bad?" and then taking another sip. I concluded that yes, in fact, it was, as I finally got the AM station I needed.
Turns out that the backup was at my exit, but I decided to brave the apparent throngs of Goat Fair-goers (or whatever the fuck the event at the Carlisle Campgrounds was) and just deal with it, because if I got lost, I'd be even angrier. I got there and there were three cars ahead of me. I'm never listening to those goddamn digital signs ever again after this trip, because every time I needed to exit, there was some alleged backup that never happened. Not that I wanted to sit in traffic (which I did do several times, just not at the times I'd been warned) but because raising my blood pressure so often for no reason isn't good.
As I got nearer to New Jersey and further into Pennsylvania towns that clearly count corn stalks in their welcome-sign populations, I really fucking had to pee. I stopped in some town that appeared to consist of a stop sign, two gas stations directly across from each other, and a white pickup truck that kept driving up and down the road. Also, corn. Its claim to fame was "E-Z On, E-Z Off!" Clearly, that was enough to sell me.
I ran (or perhaps skittered) into the Sunoco and hurdled a bunch of Sierra Mist stacked on the floor to get to the bathroom. This is what Mr. Cecil's sadistic gym-class jumping blocks were training me for. I don't know what trained me for the women's room with no door that faced into the store, but I'd have peed in the middle of the floor right next to the Sierra Mist if I had to.
For those not about to die of burst bladders, they'd placed a vending machine inside the stall advertising a hilarious assortment of condoms, lube, and reading material that I suspect was there to facilitate urination through laughter. I bought "Erotic Sexual Positions From Around The World" for 50 cents, which might be the wisest financial decision I've ever made. It's a great combination of terrifying artwork and racism. I plan to keep it in my wallet until it falls apart.
Here's an excerpt: "Backward Jockey Position: The freewheeling Scandinavians, with their lust for sexual experimentation, originated this turnaround sitting position. The ultimate 'turn on.'"
"The Rocking Position: We have the Arabians and their 'ships of the desert' to thank for this erotic import. This position allows frontal caresses between the partners while they gently rock to a prolonged orgasm aided by the swaying of camels."
Because when I look at a camel, I think, "Yeah, I'd like to fuck somebody on that thing. I like the way it vomits and bellows at the same time." Nothing can bring about a prolonged orgasm like a camel.
The back cover says "1st in a series of Erotic Best Sellers." Clearly, I need to hit "E-Z On, E-Z Off!" on my way back to Pittsburgh on Sunday.