Ladies & Gents:
Yesterday, I took an Uber from the mechanic to a friend's house. On the way, the driver and I chatted a bit, and I told him about my trip.
"That's a big undertaking, especially for a single girl."
I have heard variations of this since before I left, and especially now that I'm out doing this thing. It's annoying, sometimes offensive. I used to nod and smile and say "yup!" but now I say this: "In my last campground, I met two guys who are on a long road trip. They were four days in, and already fighting with each other."
This has, every time, ended that conversation. Am I chickening out? Maybe. But as much as I want to launch into a tirade about how women have as much a right to do this as anyone else, that I'm a 36 year old woman and not a girl, and how we need to stop putting limits on people who happen to have a vagina…I don't know what I'm talking to. I don't know what the other person's reaction will be. I've had guys call me a whore for not giving them my phone number. I'm not saying that's what this Uber driver would have done, but I'm not comfortable putting myself at risk every time someone asks this question.
I wrote about this a bit in a story to be published at Racked tomorrow. I'm sure I'll have more to say about it in the future.
So: the reason I was taking an Uber from a mechanic to my friend's house is that a light went on in the Jeep, and even though it's driving beautifully, I'm having the car looked at while I'm in Flagstaff for a little bit. I'm supposed to leave tomorrow for my next spot – and I must be there by Wednesday morning. So fingers crossed for the car – and me.
Last week I checked in from New Mexico, which is where I was at until yesterday. After Bandelier, I toured around Ghost Ranch (which you either associate with Georgia O'Keeffe or City Slickers – or hey maybe both I don't know your deal), stayed at an Airbnb with a composing toilet and a chicken in the outdoor shower, and then drove all the way out of my way to White Sands National Monument to hike on blinding white sands where most people were sledding. Some in bikinis.
Not this chick:
When researching hikes at White Sands, I read all of the dire warnings issued by the National Park Service. I thought something had happened to necessitate them, and I only found out after that yes, something did. So if you want to try it too, be like me and take way too much water and too many backup phone chargers.
I'm going to write something later about everyone who says "STAY SAFE!" to me. There was a shooting at a general store a few hours after I'd been there. But that's enough for now.
Oh hey there you are newsletter readers. On with the show
"Memories of a Jersey Shore Town, Before a Boom" for The New York Times
What I'm Reading
After finishing the wonderful biography of Juliette Gordon Low, I started Michael Connelly's Trunk Music. I bought a bunch of Bosche books on half.com before leaving – and I say that because half.com is closing. Sad. For audiobooks, I finished Carrie Fisher's The Princess Diarist yesterday. Oh boy is it a lot about a young woman caught up with the wrong man – and she knows it but can't stop it. I know that feeling. I just started Jennifer Keishin Armstrong's Seinfeldia. I know Jennifer pretty well. It's almost as odd hearing someone else read her book as it was to hear someone else read my book. Almost.
What I'm Watching
At this rate, it may take me all summer to watch a full season of Doctor Blake. And I'm OK with that.