Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 1: Departure

Today is Friday. Today marks the end of the working week and beginning to a new chapter to my life. This is it, the start, the end. All, today.

The day started at 7.30pm, with a faint flavor of intestinal acid due to a general sense uncertainty. My wheels needed an alignment, and half of the cluster did not work correctly. The first stop was Inskip Mercedes, where I was told the rear valve was not working (luckily, free of charge). Several trips back and forth to alignment centers, Inskip and a local mechanic left the car in good condition for the trip by half past one.

By 1.45pm I waited for a teenager at a local Lowe's to sell me an iPod. After fifteen minutes of waiting and some interior cleaning of the car, a car with tinted windows cruised slowly into the parking lot. Inside, being driven by his friends like a mafia boss, a kid not older than 17 –cigarette dangling in his mouth and sunglasses shining in the post-diluvian sky– handed me the little black device for the meager amount of $30.

Back in Providence, most of my belongings were already packed. Two Vietnamese steambuns later, I found myself with enough energy to play tetris with my life boxes. My next door neighbor popped in the hallway, and wished me good luck, giving me his phone number to make sure I had gotten to the end of the day alive. Then he went to the store to buy beer.

Down Angell Street, I turned into a small, slanted parking lot behind my partner's building. I resolved to open the hood and pour some suspension fluid in the reservoir, as well as checking and rechecking everything for the big trip. Bree showed up with a large, bulky package. Much to my surprise, it was a 24-pack of Arizona Peach Ice Tea, who she had bought in collaboration with some of my (very strange) RISD friends.

We hugged for about an hour. We teared up. We made the most beautiful image for a wartime postcard: the couple, embracing closely, with all the supplies ready for the guy to pack into the big machine. I stop caring for how long that embrace and that kiss lasted. I departed.

It is funny when one wishes something so hard it becomes reality. I recall making a little movie called W123 (you can watch it here), in which there is a scene taking place on that on-ramp to I-95. It was a strong feeling to see that one was crossing that symbolic ramp, on to one's new life, for the last, definitive time. That crossing felt like that, definitive, sealed, final.

A small glance to the side mirror revealed the skyline of Providence, dusty in color, shrinking in the horizon. What lay ahead were trees, and mist. And friends. And adventure. And a beautifully uncertain future. And the certainty that now I was in full control of my own fate.

9pm, a dark parking lot behind the Milford Public Library. Two W126s, lots of new friends! Hattie (Chris), Fulcrum (Mike), Solid Snake (?) and other Mercedes enthusiast whose name I cannot remember were there. We talked about Mercedes, battleships, beaters, guns, trailers, people and, of course, PeachParts. One really gets to realize the power of the Internet when something is so blatantly real as having dinner with three people you could not meet any other way. A beautiful Reuben sandwich, by the way. Thank you to you all four for the wonderful times and the endless amount of good jokes and retorts. Truly, a blast!

An hour North of Milford sits the Mohegan reservation, which has been fully developed into a casino. After parking in a misty lot, I was carried to the main building, from where I am writing now. The interior architecture is truly exquisite, very attentive to the quality of the materials and overall organicism of the space. Far different from the stiff, ill-smelling halls of Las Vegas. Mohegan Sun is truly a beautiful architectural space with a little touch of surrealism. The endless rows of one-arm bandits, the solitary gamblers, the multi-leveled artificial waterfalls, the overdressed couples.

Let's see what tomorrow prepares us! Will post pictures soon.

Last check before departure in Providence.

The way out from Rhode Island.

A rabbit came out to greet me at my friend Roger's yard.

Getting out of Roger's barn, where the trailer sleeps.

All ready for departure!

Misty Connecticut, close to New Haven.

Over-exposed GTG. I told you us artists were on drugs!

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