Smashwords My Page.
The Meandering Moose and the Pig Woman is our road trip to the big hole in Arizona and back, and my musings along the way.
About the title of this book –
I was going to call it The Meandering Moose, a Red Truck and Mom, but it seemed a tad dull. Mom, my mother-in-law to be accurate, came up with the title herself though I don’t think it was intentional.
“I’m such a pig woman!” she exclaimed one day at lunch. She had just slopped a bit of food on her blouse, and then let out a tiny burp.
“You’re not a pig woman.” I protested. Her son, my husband, also assured her of the same.
But it was divine revelation or maybe just my devilish mind that decided right there and then that this had to be the title of this tongue-in-cheek little book of my traveling mind. Moose, pig woman, and driving six thousand kilometers (3,600 miles), round trip to look at a hole in the ground. It wasn’t going to be any usual road trip, because it was me and it was us and normal is boring anyway. We had only been on the road for a half day and I already had the perfect title. It was divine and evil.
As to the content of this book, do not use it as a travel guide, or even as a loose reference leaflet, to any North American destination in my beautiful Canada or my good pal, the U.S.A. This book is more about my observations and the stuff we all saw and gossiped about on the way to the big hole, and not really a book about anywhere in particular, at least not in any useful detail.
By the by, I learned that the United States is a place and a people to love and be proud of. Its friendly folks, its grand, grand scenery and its never waning strength. I feel very proud to be your northern neighbour, Mister United States. I am delighted that I have maternal ancestry in your Eastern ports that stretches back to 1645, so that I feel a strong heart-tug with your gorgeous shores and brave history. I love your pretty flag and your friendly, funnily-accented people. I love your hills and valleys and deep fried everything. You are my special cousin down there, and are in my blood from long ago. We may not know each other deeply yet, but you’re my kin and I’m yours.
Chapter One – Goddamn Jitties, Yahk and Beer
Pronounced Yak or Yeahk, Yahk is a small - we’re talking small - town on the west side of the Moyie (pronounced Moy-eee) River in British Columbia. (No, we are not in the United States yet. I’m writing this book and I can dawdle all I want to). We have just crossed the Moyie Bridge and have entered the thriving metropolis of this small town of Yahk. That’s it - on this side of a twenty foot span of concrete, you’re still on the open highway, and on that side – tah-dah! – You’re in Yahk. The population is about twelve old folks and a dog.
This number hardly ever changes because when someone leaves Yahk, it’s usually by hearse, and no one in their right mind would ever move into Yahk. A run-downish little cafe is where you can purchase and try to consume a Yahk burger the size of a manhole cover. Thus a “Yahk Attack” is a craving for half a cooked cow with mayo. Pretty well everyone in Western Canada knows of this “Yahk Attack” saying because we’ve all tried to get our mouths around the damn burger at one time or another. It takes three hands to hold it and two sets of teeth to eat it. It’s massive, greasy and I’d guess about nine thousand calories.
It is also an interesting claim to fame but just try it once and I don’t mean eating a burger that could sink an ocean liner, I mean watching someone try to eat one. Any hand-held food meatier than both your feet combined should be avoided (eating or watching). It drips multi-coloured juices all down the eaters chin, and splashes gloop on whoever is close enough to observe. Two hours and sixteen napkins later, it’s only half gone and the remainder is unrecognizable as food.
It’s delicious but no one in this truck is hungry. Goodbye Yahk.
Border Crossing Guard
We’re nearing the border now. Why do I feel nervous? Why do these types of things always bring out the guilty feelings in the guiltless?
I’m one of those people who can imagine the very worst outcome in the most innocuous situations, like not holding the door for someone because I’m in a hurry. Did I let the door slam closed on that guy’s ass? Jesus, is he going to hunt me down later? Where would be a good hiding place in this mall just in case he does?
Or making too much noise in the bathroom. Will that perfect stranger who just entered the stall next to me like me as much as she does now if I try to pinch another poop in her presence? Will the unsavoury “plop” of poop falling into yellow water somehow lessen my stature in her eyes – or ears? Pooping is gross. I know she’s in here to do the same thing but still...who wants to listen to someone else’s falling missiles? It’s hard to poop when you’re not alone. It’s one of those things that demands privacy and here we are lined up in stalls pooping beside each other like cows in a milk barn. No one feels or looks or smells dignified when pooping is partaken of. I fear and loath the time to poop. I know it will degrade me in the eyes of the bugs on the wall and will most likely hurt, too. I dread the Great Poop!
There are a lot of other things I fear. The mail, snow, the new pants I haven’t tried on yet, the idea of walking to the store without wearing a bra (something I’ve only done once in my life and never again!). How about driving down the street with a cop car behind me or even one going the other direction? Does that make your skin sweat like it does mine?
And that’s another thing, I always feel like everyone around me possesses special powers God deigned to leave me out of. Cops are especially endowed with these gifts of insight. They always know that I’m feeling guilty about something even though I’ve done nothing wrong, because the guilty look on my sweating face will tell them I must have done something. They can see it in my eyes as they pass me at sixty miles per hour (If I’m driving sixty miles per hour as well, then we’re passing each other at a combined rate of one hundred twenty miles per hour. The ability of a cop to size me up while passing at such skin-peeling speeds is astounding, isn’t it? I wish I had super-hero powers like that).
However, if I just keep my eyes on the road, my desperately worried eyes that haven’t blinked in minutes and are watering and red for being so forced into a casual appearance, the police won’t slow down, won’t stop and switch on their lights, and won’t throw the cuffs on me either. I hope.
I am sure I won’t be arrested today. I haven’t done anything. I’ll be okay if I just don’t make any sudden moves like diving out of my moving vehicle just to get the fuck away from them. And if I can act innocent enough and make out like I’m just a good citizen driving back from two in the morning Mass, I might even make it home to my cat. My cat won’t die of starvation while I sit in jail waiting for my lawyer to show. My carpet and walls won’t be full of starving cat scratch marks as he tries to escape the house and find sustenance while I rot beside some woman with a tattoo on her neck that says: “Diablo’s Bitch”. How would I live through that depth of horror?
Oh, the cops passed me. They didn’t even slow down, and no flashing lights. Whew. Guess everything’s going to be okay. Did I pick up cat food yesterday?
We’re at the border and as my head swims with thoughts of committing Yahk burger suicide over the things I didn’t do but that I am positive they think I did, and contemplate diving out my backseat window and making a break for the hills –
The nice border guard smiles and waves us on.
Another close call.