Monday, May 18: This was actually the first day that Dan and I truly spent a whole day together on our road trip - and it was hard. Really, really hard.
Mrs. Martin got stuck in traffic in Philly, on our way to a visit with the local DPW. It was hot – exactly the kind of weather we were trying to avoid. I wallowed helplessly in a sea of wires and devices, from cameras and chargers to endless attempts to manipulate GPS to get seamlessly to Washington.
Dan and I snapped at each other more than once – on this first real day trip together. Even at the end of the day, we started quarreling over the next leg of the route to Louisville. Dan even said, “Maybe this isn’t gonna work out.”
Maybe it’s this hard for Congress to agree on infrastructure funding, too?
But we both knew it was nothing personal. Still, the very real implications of two people who barely know each other agreeing to venture out on 3,500 miles together and work together somehow, started to sink in.
For me, the daunting reality of trying to manipulate multiple electronic devices and skills – and for Dan, the ongoing reality of trying to make Mrs. Martin keep functioning despite her age and obsolescence – all came back to the metaphor of infrastructure.
We regrouped this morning for our official send-off from APWA at the DC Dept. of Public Works, which has an impressive fleet of natural gas vehicles and an instant fan club for Mrs. Martin.
By clearing the air upfront about our various tempers, sensitivities and moods, Dan and I feel more optimistic about continuing our mission of infrastructure awareness together. After all, if it were all easy and fun, that would belie the metaphorical point. Maybe we should get a partisan from each side of the aisle to ride in Mrs. Martin for 3,500 miles.