Published: March 31st 2008March 26th 2008
Time to ditch Calgary, scoot across the border and head to Montana for some snow. We left bright and early (bright and early for college students=11am), loaded up into the Smith family’s fleet of SUVs and started a long, 9-hour drive.
Teddy and Jayne (Ted’s mom) being the only people who could drive, were assigned driver status of said SUVs. Apparently, Yu could legally drive…but, yea. I would rather play Russian roulette with 6 bullets in the chamber than bet on Yu being competent doing anything. To keep Jayne sane from the crazy chatter of a language she couldn’t understand, we divided the cars by English speaking ability:
Team Jayne-Me, Yuriko, Yu and Yuki.
Team Ted-Soon Hae, Chiaki and Shin.
Obviously, I would’ve wanted to spend 9 hours in a car with Chiaki to get the timing on her fastball down pat, but I figured I would take one for the team (and I was way ahead of schedule for Day 3…I still had 7 days left). Plus, talking to someone who shaped and molded Teddy into the crazy mofo he is now would surely be interesting—most of my friends consider speaking to my father (or staring at his cock
) the highlight of their lives.
It didn’t disappoint. We quickly found the common ground between an upper class, white, Midwestern farm-raised mother of three and a single, Asian college student from the heart of New York City: America, fuck yeah! We talked July Fourth (hot dogs, fireworks and beer!), American universities (best in the world!), sports (football!), 9/11 (united we stand!), Osama (fuck him!), Canada (the winter sucks!), the election (Obama ’08!), bald eagles (hell yeah!) and we made a strong vow to always be American. The three in the back—Yuriko, Yu and Yuki—silently took it all in: Yuriko, trying to flirt with drivers passing by, Yu, trying to remember where America was and Yuki, wondering if there were dentists in America. In this stream of patriotism thick enough to make an Army recruiter gag, we both pointedly ignored the TOYOTA sign emblazoned on the front of the car…two people from two completely different backgrounds, from two completely different generations, were bonding…and nothing was going to mess up this glorious moment that only the red, white and blue could conjure.
And we both hit the CD changer to get us jacked up even more.
Random Road Shot
Some time during the drive
She picked Celine Dion.
I picked Dr. Dre.
The changer whirred, confused between the simultaneous choices. We both tensed with the guise of relaxed nonchalance. It decided: CD 4, Dr. Dre.
New York 1, Wisconsin 0
As the amazing lyrics of 2001 floated through the air, we floated through the plains of Alberta en route to the border. Enjoying the music (me) and trying to keep up with the lyrics (Jayne), our conversation slowly petered off. This didn’t mean our car was silent. Far from it. Because this meant Yu took over in Japanese.
Yu isn’t great speaking with English and being forced to use it for 9 months to survive in Montreal, I guess her desire to speak Japanese slowly accumulated in her body…and then meeting the J-Poppers was the breaking of the dam as Japanese sentences rushed out of her mouth and flooded everyone’s ears. As if this weren’t enough, the words she spewed didn’t contribute to the conversation nor have any real significance. When she wasn’t agreeing with someone, she was saying something that would make others agree with her. Some quality lines from her during the drive:
Yu was sitting in the back seat between Yuriko and Yuki, I was sitting shotgun and of course, Jayne was driving. After about 2 seconds of dialogue, Yuki didn’t deem responses to Yu’s words appropriate and completely ignored her. She moved her conversation to Yuriko. Yuriko gave a valiant effort, but slowly, even her patience was wearing thin. Yuriko’s responses quickly moved from multi-word answers to yes/no replies to Neanderthal-like grunts. Seeing she had exhausted Yuriko’s conversation, Yu tried to move to me. However, I had already lost hearing from Yu’s high pitched machine gun mouth shooting off next to my head, so I couldn’t even hear the bass from Dre’s tracks. I asked her to repeat her sentence 3 times, she got fed up and turned to Jayne. Throughout this 1-hour nightmarish hell of Yu’s dominance of the conversation, Jayne’s grip on the steering wheel tightened with every single high-pitched monosyllable sentence exploding from Yu’s lips. Seeing the veins in Jayne’s head slowly pulsating, Yu turned to find someone else to talk to. Finally, seeing that no one was paying her heed, she immediately conked out from the effort of talking and started softly snoring.
Four people simultaneously sighed in relief. And started having a normal conversation.
Seeing as Jayne and I had exhausted our one commonality, and because Yuriko and Yuki were being surprisingly silent, our car slowly started sinking into one dreadfully awkward silence…punctuated by 2001 hitting track 18, Pause for Porno (everyone always forgets this track is on the disc). Jayne and I blanched, Yuki started grinning and Yuriko perked up.
Jayne quickly switched to Celine Dion.
We got through the border without much trouble, then before we hit some crazy valley in Montana, Jayne made me switch cars with Shin…with specific instructions: “Keep Ted awake.” It was about 9pm (remember, we were out late at the Jazz club yesterday) and Ted had been pounding the Rockstar, Red Bull and Full Throttle like a European club banger. I’m guessing Jayne was thinking the J-Poppers in Ted’s car were the same as the ones in hers, passed out or eerily silent, and Ted was bored out of his skull.
She was correct in her assessment-Chiaki was knocked the fuck out (and looked really cute huddled under an enormous green jacket) and Soon Hae was doing whatever Koreans do in really dark corners as she silently sat in the corner of the back seat. But mix Gen and Teddy together and you get instant combustion. Teddy and I started beatboxing an improvisational beat and then things skyrocketed upwards from there as we cracked jokes and laughed at the things that two single college males are programmed to laugh at. In fact, our laughter was so infectious that we managed to get the Korean out of her reclusive corner and join in. We had a grand old time as we sped through the plains of Montana, the Rockies framed in the side windows.
Things instantly got quiet when we got into the “valley”. Snow was falling so thick we could barely see Jayne’s headlights up ahead and the 4x4 car was drifting through corners as Ted fought off sleep and Mother Nature. Ted tells us tons of people drive off this stretch of road. To keep our minds off things like death and car accidents, we start joking about the car
ahead: “What the fuck must the situation be like over in that car?” Because of my ridiculous joking/loud/sarcastic character, the awkward tension in Team Jayne’s car was somewhat lessened, but take me out and sub in Shin, who’s shy and awkward to the max…and you have one hell of an awkward silence. The three of us had a good laugh and then immediately tensed as we skidded through another bend in this swerving Montana mountain road.
Three atheists and a renounced Catholic driving a Toyota through a snowstorm in America’s Bible belt? Thank God Teddy was Christian at some point in his life, or Jesus would’ve found no reason to save us.
After we managed to survive the run through the valley of death (which took 2 more hours than scheduled), it was mostly smooth driving. As we gradually went more and more uphill, I gradually became shorter and shorter of breath despite not doing anything physically taxing (well, except twist my neck every few minutes to look back at Chiaki sleeping adorably under her jacket). Apparently the place we were going to was 9,000 feet above sea level (which is about 1.75 miles above sea
level) so it was understandable why I was feeling light-headed.
Everyone tired from the drive-and Yu's talking
As our drive finally ends and Teddy pulls into the driveway, I glance out the window and my mouth drops. This “house” is probably the size of my elementary school…and there ends all similarities between the PS 63 building on Third Street and Ave A and Ted’s ski lodge in Montana.
From the outside, it seemed to be made of rocks and logs (like any ski lodge in the world) but it looked larger than a basketball arena (unlike any ski lodge in the world) and it had a ton of huge windows and a large entranceway. I couldn’t make out anything else because of the complete darkness of the night but just the size alone (and hearing that Bill Gates lived next door), was enough to fuel my imagination. Inside, it was even more baller and if I wasn't so intent on making Chiaki my girlfriend, I would have been screaming in astonishment (I put on a cool, nonchalant look for her). Heads of huge dead animals were mounted on the walls everywhere, antique and native shit were scattered all over the place and of course, when
there was anything technological, it was all state of the art. There were three levels, the second floor being a master bedroom, the first floor a living room/kitchen/office/dining room open space big enough to hear your echo and the bottom floor a basement with 4 bedrooms, a movie theater, a pool table and a full bar. Outside, it was a quick 10 seconds through some trees to a ski trail on the lodge and there was a 10 person sauna parked in the yard with outdoor FUCKING speakers. If this weren’t crazy enough, each bedroom came with a full bathroom, all the furniture in the place could’ve easily erased the national debt and there were flat screens hidden in all sorts of crevices throughout the house.
(picture taken another day)
Teddy had warned me before and even showed me pictures of the place, but actually seeing and experiencing something is completely different (ie, I thought blowing shit up was awesome until I experienced two towers collapsing in my backyard). I mean, the head of the buffalo mounted on the wall was bigger than my New Yorker ego. The value of the alcohol behind the bar could’ve easily paid my college
tuition. The bathroom was bigger than my bedroom back in Montreal. I got dizzy just taking a tour through the house and collapsed onto a bed, staring at the ceiling.
One of the bedrooms
Me...finally finding someone who loves me
Lesson from this day? I have to get rich. Material wealth is awesome.
In conclusion, Day 3 didn’t have a game on the schedule. Ted flirted with Soon Hae in his car a bit…but its kind of hard to flirt when you’re trying to keep a 2 ton car on a tiny, winding mountain road in a blizzard. I, of course, did absolutely nothing after almost sneaking my way to first the night before (us Japs are renown for being pretty sneaky). In my defense, its hard to speak to a girl who was knocked out like a Tyson opponent.
I also know this entry is shit, but its hard to make things that are as insanely boring as 11-hour car drives through prairie scenery remotely interesting (I'll make it up by updating soon).
But stick with me, loyal readers, I still have 7 more days and things are about to heat up…
Yu...finally finding someone with the same IQ