"You have to remember, we're in the South now"
If I had to say that phrase one more time, I was going to jump off of a bridge.
Friday around 4 p.m. Work Friend A and I departed for the 8 hour trip to Jacksonville, NC. She was going to see her, well, whatever he is and I was just trying to get out of town for a few days. My sanity depended on it.
The first major stop we made was in Virginia, just north of the North Carolina border. My car needed gas and we were both getting pretty hungry. It was close to 9 p.m., and all three of us guzzled down our meals with great satisfaction, although I'm sure the Saturn could have used a few more minutes of rest. As A and I were getting our meals at the Subway in the truck stop, she turned to me and whispered, "That lady is going so slow!"
"I know," I replied. "But this is the south, everything is just a little bit slower down here."
"Yeah, I guess you're right," she said as she turned around and finally gave her order.
After battling my way (I drove) through traffic around Washington and Richmond in the deluge of rain from Ernesto, I was ready to slow things down a bit. Eventually we were back on the road and ready to push through to Jacksonville. I was determined we would get there by 12:30. She wasn't so sure.
Four hours, one forced detour because of high water, one slightly wrong turn (I knew where I was going, it was just the scenic route *ahem*) and a threat to push Work Friend A out of the car later, we were at the hotel. At 1 a.m. We were both so tired and cranky we checked in, helped each other carry bags to our respective rooms and went to bed.
Saturday was the best day. A and I met for breakfast at the hotel around 9, packed our beach bags and headed into Wilmington for a meander around the shops downtown. A had never been there so it was up to me to show her around...which was like the blind leading the blind as I had only been there about three or four times myself. We managed to find parking along the street, spending the next hour at the Cotton Exchange (along the river front, check it out if you're ever there) then walking in and out of shops along Market Street. I fall in love with the city a little bit more each time I'm there. The old south charm and loveliness of the homes is just breathtaking, and who wouldn't love living within spitting distance of the beach?! I've stepped up my efforts at looking for a job in the area because of this trip.
Once we finished in Wilmington we headed off to Topsail Island for time on the beach. The weather that morning had been a little iffy and I wasn't too sure we weren't going to able to do it, but the big guy upstairs heard my prayers, the clouds parted, the sun came out and I was able to dip under the waves for a few hours. It was heaven. The water was warm and the sunshine was wonderful. The sky was a shade of blue you don't see around here. Even the sand felt better. It was a
struggle for me to drag myself off of the beach...but not before I grabbed some seashells for my desk to remind me of the trip.
My last night there A and I went out for dinner then called it an early night as I wanted to be on the road by 7 a.m. yesterday. So no, there are no lurid tales of random hook-ups with any of the hottie Marines we saw...
Yesterday was all about the drive home. I was a little heavy on the gas peddle, making it back to Pennsyltucky in 7 hours (the trip normally takes 8). But it's easy to do when you're cruising along, listening to good music (my newly arrived Holis CD) and only have to worry about stopping for yourself.
So now I'm back at work. Wishing I was at the beach, listening to the crashing waves and running my hands over the sand...and not explaining for the millionth time to someone who hadn't been outside of the town she grew up in, that yes, you have to remember we're in the the south now. Things are just a little bit slower.