So I took a last minute trip this past weekend which resulted in me having to miss doing family GOGA (which in case you were wondering is in fact a combination of the words Goat and Yoga and is probably pretty much exactly what you are thinking it is), and me last minute being made a driver for part of the group from my christian club that was going to Lubbock, Texas… the place that is #1 on the “Most boring cities to visit in Texas” list and the place that also beat out Anchorage, Alaska for worst weather…
I picked up the two girls I was driving (luckily we are friends so I didn’t completely scare them off with the actions that ensued during the trip). And we left Austin.
I had never made the trip to Lubbock before because, well, the aforementioned reasons, as well at the fact that I had never before had a reason to spend 6 hours driving further and further into west Texas watching in horror as my eyes glaze over and all I can think about is becoming food for all of the creatures that are no doubt lurking behind the tumbleweeds.
Five minutes outside of Austin I was already regretting volunteering to drive. Boredom was creeping in, so I let my subconscious take over, and as what usually happens when I let the worst parts of me be the driving force of my decision-making, I came up with the best idea ever.
I was going to count all of the dead things on the side of the road.
It was an ingenius plan, afterall, I was travelling further into the middle of nowhere, there HAD to be an obscene amount of dead animals to oggle at.
I began my quest silently, ticking off all of the carcasses, intestines, and accidental tiny animal-fur rugs that lined the shoulder of the road with glee. 5 minutes into my game I was amazed that I was already in the double digits so I nonchalantly uttered
R: “What’s 12?”
Me: “I have already counted 12 dead things on the side of the road and we barely left the city!”
R: “Why are you counting dead things?”
Me: “Good question.”
This went on for about 8 more animals when all of a sudden
Now that I had gotten someone on board with my game I could not contain my disturbing delight at the fact that there were so many decomposing corpses. I counted each smudge I saw, my numbers getting louder and louder until it is very possible I was the reason friend C woke up in the back.
Me: “50! That ones insides are on the outside. COOOOL”
C: “What is going on?”
R: “Ali is counting all of the dead animals we see.”
*3 seconds later*
I quickly found myself getting angry when I would go more than a minute without seeing anything rotting. I was worse than a cocaine addict. And a whole lot more screwy. I really revealed my true colors as I practically lept out of the moving vehicle every time I saw an animal that I could identify. “Raccoon.” “Squirrel.” “Coyote.” “DEER.” I may have let out a borderline hysterical shriek when I saw a 150 pound hog with a hole in its stomach.
This continued for hours. Literally. Until we had to stop for gas. Somehow we ran into some guys from the club who were making the trip with us at the station. C and R had gone inside and I was pumping gas when about 10 of them walked by me at once. Someone made the mistake of asking me how our trip was going.
Boy: “Hey! How has the drive been?”
Me: “GREAT! I’ve counted 121 dead things!”
Though he might have been taken aback by the fact that I had just shouted at him, (or more likely he was processing my admittance to finding joy in roadkill), he responded with a monotone “awesome,” and though definitely *not* approving, only fueled my fire. I proceeded to tell everyone.
Unfortunately it got dark about 30 minutes after, so my count only got to 141 before we arrived at our homestay.
Also unfortunately was the fact that everyone we met for the whole weekend that happened to ask if we were enjoying Lubbock was met with:
“We counted 141 dead things!”
Despite the fact I probably freaked out everyone I met, I enjoyed myself while I was there. I got to make some new friends, have brunch with my cousin, ( I saw a dead cat in the middle of the road on my way to meet him, upping my count to 142), and I learned a lot about the Lord.
Sunday afternoon came and we had packed up and were heading back home when I remembered that I had 6 more hours to look for roadkill and I am not going to lie, the mere thought of that kept me awake better than any amount of caffeine could.
Me: “I just want to let y’all know I am going to try to beat my score.”
R: “You are counting animals again?”
Me: “Yes. Keep your eyes peeled”
Then both of them immediately fell asleep.
This time I counted silently as to let my companions rest, only revealing my count when occasionally asked. A few hours in they woke up, and the second half of the trip the girls helped me count, my elated nature rubbing off on them as we neared 142.
It wasn’t until we made it to Austin that we matched our goal. Then managed to find 1 more cadaver before the city.
I dropped off R, then C- muttering mostly to myself:
“Even if I counted Mittens there were still more carcasses on our way back. Wow.”
Me: “The cat in Lubbock. R.I.P Mittens.”
As I drove home I stayed awake by recounting the variety of animals I saw, making a list of my favorites, and in my delirious state whispering “284” over and over again, not unlike one of those crazy people you would cross the street to avoid walking by.
It may have been 12 hours in the car or the fact that I had gotten half of that in hours of sleep the whole weekend, but all I could think about as I pulled into my driveway was how messed up it was that I was practically wishing for the death of little creatures, but also that I wished I lived in the country so I could play this game more often.
I have a sickness.