Its a sublime Colorado summer morning. It's early. I'm not sure the exact time. I have my black murse (formerly a laptop bag) loaded with only the essentials: tank top, cellphone charger, shorts, civic wagon t-shirt, sunglasses and a one way ticket to Hell.
Rewind 48 hours or less.
The wife and I are eating pizza at Jazz In the Park with our neighbors Tom and Jenna. We live in this bizarre pleasant-ville neighborhood where Jazz In The Park is a thing?.. Its like the Truman Show, only everyone is watching everyone else clean up dog poop. Anyways I start telling everyone about this trip to Hell I have planned to pick up a Civic Wagon from this guy that I know on Instagram. My wife hangs her head in shame as I begin to explain myself. She regrets marrying me at this moment in time.
I explain that I simply like Civic Wagons (the economy car) for no specific reason and I am on the hunt for an 1984-1987 rust free wagon. Unfortunately the only place you can purchase such a majestic unicorn- is Hell. I jokingly ask them if they want to join me. To my surprise Tom says "yes". He starts looking at flights on his phone. He finds my same flight for 99 dollars. He books it without hesitation. His wife now regrets marrying him as well.
We arrive at the airport early, but still a dash late.
The security line is backed up like TSA started slinging cheap flatscreen tv's at bargain basement prices? We take our place in the madness. Tom. Tom is prepared. While in the security line, he starts asking me which route we should take home?
Me: O, there's more than one? I had no idea, I was just going to ask Siri. Seriously. (*I had yet to do so. I am not prepared.)
Attached to Tom's back was a black back pack, I had no idea what was in it, but will find out later that it will be crucial to our survival. We manage to break through the Black Friday crowds and sprint to our gate. We barely make it. The gate keepers take our picture before we board the plane. As I take my seat, a tiny little sliver of doubt creeps in, "what am I doing with my life?"
Before I can answer that question, the wheels touch down.
The plane lights on fire. "Hello Hell."
The devil cheerfully replies back on the overhead speaker:
"Welcome to Phoenix"
Its hot. Even inside the air-conditioned airport, its hot. I text my Instagram friend that we've arrived. He is on his way in the wagon. It's happening! He is a real person. The wagon is a real person. We made it to Hell. We immediately get Starbucks.
A golden cardboard box screeches up to the airport curb. Bird poop on the hood. "This must be us."
We hop in and we roll out. The wagon is exactly as described! Down to the bird poop still on the hood from 2 weeks ago when I received pictures of her. Tom and I take the wagon for a private stroll to fully examine our ticket home. She passes inspection. I buy the majestic creature. We waste no time starting our adventure out of the bowels of Hell.
The wagon in running perfectly as we approach a fresh black pavement on an uphill slope. It's 700 degrees outside. Give or take a degree. I notice a new car on the side of the road with smoke sneaking out of the engine bay. I look down the dash. The engine is a little hot, but we stay cool. We notice car after car overheated on each shoulder of the road. The wagon scoots by the stranded motorists mocking them with its obvious charm.
The golden girl has never had any major surgery or minor botox of any sort, she is still equipped with the original radio and speakers too. Once outside any sort of civilization it becomes immediately apparent the radio is no longer picking up stations and the speakers sound like Stevie Nicks with a cold. Tom grabs his bag and pulls out a very sizable bluetooth speaker. "That's what you packed?!" Tom; "yes." So many questions I have, but I just appreciate the good fortune. Tom hooks up his phone to the new sound system and we now have virtually unlimited music, podcasts, and entertainment.
Everything on the other side of the windshield is red and gold as we roll on. We are ants stuck under a magnifying glass. Giant windows and no tint, we realize our skin is rapidly approaching the color of our surroundings. Mary Poppins grabs his magic bag. He pulls out some beach towels. Poppins is prepared. We wear the towels like scarfs to protect our necks, arms, lives. That becomes too hot. We jam the towels in the windows. We can no longer see out the windows, but it seems like a small price to pay to keep our skin.
We escape Arizona only to be greeted by Utah. We stop in Blanding Utah for a greasy burger at a local dive. We park the wagon under the only tree in the "city" to let it cool off. As we exit the wagon, a silver sedan pack full of Blandings welcoming committee rolls past us and screams "ITS LEGAL NOW!"... Gay marriage had just passed. They called us gay. Welcome to Blanding. We eat our bland gay burgers and bounce.
We sail into the dry Colorado coast line in our gold dinghy. The "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" sign is a welcomed sight. The sun has begun to saunter down the horizon and we are able to lower our sails (take the towels out of the windows). We stop at port after port to refuel and replenish. Our golden schooner paddles over wave after wave (mountain pass after mountain pass) at a wicked 28 knots. The ocean can be an unfogiving wench. Other, sleeker sea vessels pass us in anger while honking their horns and waving hello. They may have a newer ship, but not as worthy-a-crew as Poppins and my new imaginary parrot, Clarence. We propel into Denver and not a moment too soon as I am now referring to the wagon as a ship and have packed it full of an imaginary crew.
I drop Poppins off on his porch and thank him for navigating the red sea.
I back the golden girl into the garage and tuck her in. She made it.
Clarence, the parrot, fly's out of the garage without setting off the garage door sensors and winks at me as he soars away. I wink back.