Thursday, March 8, 2012

Adventures on 10

Yesterday was a day to remember for many of the wrong reasons. The goal of yesterday was to make the near 1,000 mile drive from Phoenix to San Antonio. On paper it looked like a simple drive as once we hit I-10, or "The 10" if you're from the west coast, it was that road all the way.

The first two hours went smoothly and then one of those advisory signs that can display text said, "I-10 closed at Lordsburg NM." If there's one thing that a motorist never wants to see it is road and closed in the same sentence.

I got out my phone and went to the NMDOT website and learned the road was closed for nearly 100 miles due to high winds and dust. This led to a avalanche of thoughts as this is something, living in the midwest, I'm not used to or have ever seen. How long would it be closed? How long would it be windy?

We forged ahead knowing the road was closed and when we got to Wilcox, Arizona it was decision time. Texts were being swapped left and right and it seemed I had a hard time stating the fact that the road was closed. Looking at the map there was no detour, no other possible route, and according to officials, "I-10 will reopen when I-10 reopens." However, a couple people texted me and said, "I don't know where your info but NMDOT says it's open."

I knew for a fact otherwise and this instantly sent me into a downward spiral. It is hard for me to communicate. If you've seen my presentation then that sentence might seem impossible, but the amount of energy and mental reserves it takes for simple interactions is more than you can probably imagine. Because of that when I do speak, or know something, and am discounted there is nothing I know that is more aggravating.

Despite knowing that the road was closed we drove towards New Mexico and once we got near the border we started to see the exit ramps loaded with vehicles. A mile later we got to the border and the police, had they had a flag, would have bee displaying the red. The only option was to turn around and head West as, in the words of the officer, "Too many bad accidents and too much wind."

On the way back to Wilcox we tuned to the station that the blue signs said to tune to in case of winds, dust, or road closures but the only thing the radio was talking about was "Cigarettes in Chicago." There was no help whatsoever.

We got back to the truck stop at Wilcox, about 40 miles from the state border, and as we got in, within minutes, a voice on the intercom said that I-10 was reopened. One website said one thing, another said otherwise, and all in all it was a nerve fraying experience made worse, for me, due to the tail-spin I was in angry at myself for my lackluster communication skills.

Dinner was ate and I never was quite the same once we got back on the road. It took about 11 more hours before we got to San Antonio and on the way I saw Mexico, learned that I can sleep in a moving vehicle so long as I take a Melatonin and listen to music via a headset, and that I am more often than not my own worst enemy.

Social missteps are something that I think those that are closer to "normal" than not don't think about or dwell about it. For me, since everything is already overly forced, one minor event is something that is thought of for days. And when this happens the only thing left is me wondering what normal is like and what it is like to not stress about every word. Words, movements, and everything social doesn't come easily and right before I fell asleep I was looking out on the seemingly ever lasting wilderness wondering if I will ever find a comfortable place socially. I felt discouraged and longed for the days of 2004 when I knew no one and spoke to no one. However, back then I longed for what I have now, so with that being so how can I find a balance? How can I not become discouraged? It seems to be a cycle that can't be broken since, I want to socialize and yet, since socializing is difficult, I become angry at myself.

Between dozes I thought about giving up, but what would that accomplish? As difficult of a time that I have it is in these times that I am able to translate what is going on and what it feels like. Staying inside would be too easy. Despite the emotions I go through there would be no growth if I didn't put myself out there. So, despite what the world may throw at me I will forge on even if I know the proverbial road may be closed ahead.


  1. You are very brave to keep forging ahead. Life is that way for all of us to a degree but I can not imagine how hard it is for you. You are indeed a brave soul. I wish I could be more brave in my own difficulties, however, you are a great role model for you mom. Love you so much and remember everything that happens will and I mean will be a memeory some day. Don't be so hard on yourself as you are only human.

  2. Aaron, if I had to drive that far (I probably even wouldn't... I'm too scared for that) and would've encountered THAT many problems, I probably would've turned around and cried a lot.
    Don't be so hard on yourself that you had trouble with this. I asked my mum and she said she wouldn't have liked this at all either and she drives in cars for about 30 years now. So don't beat yourself up about it, you were actually stronger in this situation than a lot of people would've been. :)