Go, Go, Go

by Jane Moneypenny

After staying in hostels for 3 weeks in Europe, my standard for lodging has dropped. If there’s a bed, working bathroom and air condition, I’m relieved. So when Rachel, my partner in crime in Europe/quarterlife crisis, accepted a job the same day as me, we decided we had to have a last hurrah. Destin was our first thought, but with Fay running its way through Florida, we ditched that idea. Then we found out her dear grandmother had a free night at Beau Rivage in Mississippi (yeah yeah, not the ideal, but free night in a pretty posh place). Decision made!

On the way to Rachel’s, I had the feeling something was wrong with the brakes but forgot about it (I swear, I never learn to listen to the voice in my head). Of course, this haunted me later. On our happy blue sky way to Mississippi, I asked Rachel if she felt the road was slanted and how strange that was. She gave me a “you’re crazy” look and we kept on driving. But life likes to mess with me and a few minutes later, the car started vibrating and down goes my back left tire. I managed to pull over on a wide section of the shoulder and we both got out and stared at the horror of the tire rubber in pieces. As much as I hate to admit it, I can’t change a tire to save my life. I know the general procedure, but not confident enough to do it and feel safe driving. Two minutes later, a cop magically showed up and with no questions asked, changed our tire and we were on our way in 15. Talk about an angel! Didn’t hurt he wasn’t bad looking. I guess I just have horrible luck with road trip snafus. With the burning tire in the trunk, we headed to our destination.

Mrs. Sheila met us at the hotel and showed us our VIP room. It was massive with beautiful beds, large bathroom the size of some of our hostel room and a pretty flat screen. Apparently gambling a lot means a lot of free things and VIP treatment because after a swim in the pretty pool, free amazing buffet (you know, the casino kind where there’s EVERYTHING) and some gambling, we came back to a dimly lit room with music turned on, chocolates on our pillow and turn-down service.

After a relaxing night, we got in the car with the burning tire to find out that Gustav was headed our way. Sigh. Vacation over. After some obligatory joking, we faced the reality. The “good news” is I was moving to Austin this weekend anyway with little stress due to everything being still packed up. The bad news is if there’s an evacuation, the entire city is going to flee on the same day I leave. 5 hours to Houston turns into 15 and as much as I love road trips, sitting in the car at a standstill is not fun. Then came the realization that if I left early, I would also have to prep the house as if a hurricane was coming. Given that my parents are out of the country still and my sister isn’t the most responsible person, I suddenly realized I had to undergo my first evacuation alone (I was in St. Louis during Katrina).

Locating important documents, cleaning the back yard, moving things slightly higher and packing my car ended up sending me into a frozen state; for about three hours, I hid in my room to avoid the 94 degree sun and watched a movie. My neighbors already cornered me and demanded that I knock on their door if we needed anything (Mr. L started cutting our grass when my dad got sick). But it is what it is and part of being an adult is facing the reality of the situation, so I packed the car (fourth time this summer) and somehow managed to get everything done without having another breakdown.

So off I go to my new life tomorrow; I desperately hope I’ll have this life to return to. But like all true New Orleanians, I’m not going to worry until I have to worry. Most likely, it won’t hit or we’ll get some flooding, so until then, I’m going to take a breath and dive into the next chapter! Luck to all those leaving or staying. I’m sad to miss out on those hurricane parties. 😛