Intro to "American Transect" (or "How Much Cherry Coke Can You Drink in One Week")


Violet peruses the food ads like it's no thing, but she'll have to do the food shopping without me come this weekend. I'm leaving for the East Coast. For forever. I'm never quitting my job again to go back to school. Unless I am forced to do so upon pain of death. And by "upon pain of death," I mean I really, really feel like it.

When your employer is paying your way across the country, there's no excuse to take an airplane. You've got to channel your inner John Mellencamp and drive across the heartland, taking in all the little pink houses with interstates running through their front yards. Ain't that America?

So I've plotted a somewhat indirect route that will take me through 14 states, ten of which I've never visited before. All great voyages need a name. Burt Reynolds had the Cannonball Run from Connecticut to California. Michael Fay had the MegaTransect across Africa. I'm borrowing the word "transect" from Fay, because I think it sounds cool. The term implies actual study of some phenomena, but I think my expedition fulfills this criteria: I will be spitting sunflower seeds at various longitudes to see if longitude influences the seeds' spit trajectories. Also, I will be studying whether the flavor of Cherry Coke actually changes from fountain to fountain. Thus I hereby dub my expedition the "American Transect: An Overwrought Title Overstating the Interestingness of What Is Actually Merely a Guy Driving From Point A to Point B," or "American Transect" for short.

It's a bit of a shame I have to do it alone -- taking extended road trips alone is kind of like going to a concert alone. You're loving it and soaking it in and making the dumb rock on sign with your stubby fingers and you're standing in line for the band t-shirts, but you're alone and you look like you've got no friends, and so the kids from the trailer park corner you afterward by the dumpster and box your ears and steal your Pokeman cards. Nevertheless I will bravely soldier forward, keeping my doors locked near trailer parks and documenting the trip via photos and blog posts for all eight of you to partake of. I really think this will be a meaningful bonding experience for us. I know this much is true.