“Shitty Road Food.” (15 minute freewrite)
She’s at the gas station somewhere outside of Boise. It’s snowing and cold, which makes sense in December. Ingrid goes inside of the 7/11 and gets a slushy with the last of her change from the ashtray in the car. A slushy in december is counter intuitive but who is gonna say anything to her?
This is Ingrid’s fourth trip out West, her second time during the winter, and her first trip alone. After Kirk died, she thought it made sense to be here, on empty stretches of higways, listening to music loudly, eating shitty food, staying at motel 6’s, watching bad tv. I’m the same way, I find it comforting to be surrounded by the exact same thing in different places.
When she gets to Utah, and the blizzard that was chasing her stops, she’ll cry. Not because she beat out a blizzard but because…well, she’s no longer occupied with a goal and she will realize concretely, that she is all alone.
When Ingrid was at her desk job, in the accounting firm, doing actuary assistant work, it seemed romantic to be out in the open sea, alone, or better, with a group of other pirates, that was a common fantasy, plundering yachts filled with old white people,who are sipping Mai Tai’s unaware that this very petite, brunette with the half Asian eyes, was about to rob them.
It was more rewarding of a fantasy than planning out what type of couch to buy. Lately, al of her friends at the age of 24, have started domesticating themselves. First there was the subtle shacking up, which appeared perfunctory: relationships had lasted long enough, roommates are annoying, rent is cheaper, it’s a given. But then there were the subtle shifts in conversation. People she once used to push in shopping carts while drunk in college were now really excited about dinner parties, and color patterns. It seemed like all her friends could think about were wine country get-a-ways and bed and breakfasts. And you know, Ingrid, she loves a good breakfast as much as the next person, right? I mean, she would say about herself:
“Listen, I love a good breakfast as much as the next person, right…”
And she even had a thing for sleeping in nice beds, nothing particular about the concept of bed and breakfasts was bad…it’s just…was this what they had resigned themselves to, these friends of hers filled with youth?
Ingrid, was one who still believed that you should sneak into movies, even though she could pay, that the best way to while away a Sunday was loitering on a bike and eating junk food. That caramel popcorn, when it’s warm, is almost a religious experience. And no one else seemed to be on the same page.
When Kirk passed away, most people were sad. Obviously. I mean, he was young like them, and of course it was too soon. But the fact that nothing seemed to stop, that people Kirk and Ingrid knew were still able to look online at West Elm catalogues, and to trade recipes for flan, or if not flan particularly, some other more obscure annoying desert, really pissed her off.
At the very least, Kirk would have appreciated that Ingrid was in a car listening to terrible country music, ironically, singing loud at the sad songs, because if he was here he would be doing the same thing. Eating Slim Jims, and licorice whips, trying to guess where speed traps were, and then blowing by them. And if no one else was ready to make that sort of a grand gesture in his honor, then so be it, Ingrid would step up to the plate.