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|Erin O'Brien and Associate, summer 1996.|
These practices are never more important than when a drive becomes a road trip.
The idea of traveling in a polite temperature controlled box at high speed represents the zenith of affable mediocrity. What's the point? Any good road trip is metaphysical as well as physical, but an Erin O'Brien road trip is a violent tumble through time, space, and life.
|Associate on the open range.|
In my early thirties, I took such a trip with a friend. It was an extended and beautifully pointless jaunt from Cleveland, Ohio to Death Valley, California.
|Humble hostess enjoying prelude to the Purple Mountain Majesty.|
When we arrived at our destination, I took a swig from a fresh bottle of Wild Turkey, poured the rest out in order to memorialize my brother who had committed suicide a few years before, and got back in the car to head home. We were as such, en route back to Cleveland on Interstate 80, when we crossed Nebraska and discovered that the Erin O'Brien-style roadtrip, by its very nature, sometimes imparts more than "a certain credibility."
|Erin O'Brien in Death Valley.|
"Do you smell that?" I yelled over the whirring noise of the road. The speedometer was hovering around 80.
My associate yelled back, "I wasn't going to say anything until you said something." She was smoking, no small task with all that hot humid road air whipping around us.
"Hot balls, that stinks!" I screamed.
"Must be some sort of factory around here," she said. We were Cleveland girls. What else could create a stench such as this?
|Associate, who is also shown wearing a leather jacket in this post.|
I eyed the flatness of Nebraska that stretched all around us. "No factory out here," I said. "Must be some sort of livestock."
"Cows?" she said.
"This smells different from the cows," I said. We'd had plenty of experience with them through Amarillo on the trip out (we had opted for Interstate 40 westbound).
"Wait!" I yelled. "What about pigs?"
"Like one of those gargantuan pig farm factories," she said.
"Holy shit!" I said after several minutes. "It still stinks."
"It's like … toxic," she said.
"Keep smoking," I said.
On and on we drove as the vile odor lingered, thick and strong enough to nearly qualify as a taste.
|Authoress and Associate in Las Vegas.|
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