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                Move Those Feet- Aug 08

I’m being taken through the farmland of Illinois.  In the acres of corn, sometimes beans, you get used to your reflection and color in the side-view mirror.  When I drive I’m stirred from caffeine.  Too much and the caffeine makes me sick enough that I can’t sleep until early hours of the morning.  The hotels all have the constant hum of an air conditioner.  This one has a white bedspread, same room, different town, the same breakfast, but a different television set.

In Russia, without a Visa, we can’t stay in St. Petersburg at night.  We’re given ‘shore passes’ in the morning for our tour, and we return with the group in the afternoon.
It’s foggy in St. Petersburg, and makes the city seem small as the buildings disappear next to each other.  There is a smell in the air like boiled vegetables and dirty rain.  The outside of the buildings are streaked black.  Our tour guide is sweet and talks quickly.  When we cross the street she stands in front of our group and says, ‘I’ll take the hit,’ as we cause traffic to stop for the cross-walk.
My allergies are acting up and I take a Zyrtec.  In the Winter Palace Hermitage, I fall asleep while standing.  I stare at Rembrandts’, Davids’, Van Goghs’, and Davincis’, and all I can think about is sleeping.  The Palace is beautiful in an opulent way, with green and gold, instead of the traditional yellow, coated walls.  I drift in and out for the tour, and recover at lunch with espresso and vodka shots, in a former embassy where angels in chariots ride across the ceiling.

During the day I read Palahniuk’s Rant in the ship’s library.  At night I play craps in the casino, and get drunk on the vodka-sodas they bring me.  In the computer lab I can’t log into my account, and I kick the desk until I fall over backwards.  A server from the next room comes in, and tells me she has called security.  I threaten her with rabies.

My father grabs my arm.  “Look out the window,” he says.  “You could make this trip a hundred times and not have a clear day.”  I stand up and move to the right side of the plane.
Below is Greenland.  The mountains are white, with brown roots trailing out from the center and into the ocean.  Icebergs surround the shore in the water.
I take my seat, but people continue to stand and look outside.  After another ten minutes I stand up again.  I only see clouds out the window, and then I realize that I’m staring at an ice sheet so white that the only way to recognize it is from the slits of translucent ice that occasionally cut through opaque white.  It looks clean and alive, but there’s nothing living down there.

My apartment is on the Naperville side of Route 59, which splits the Western suburbs of Aurora and Naperville.  Route 59 is lined with big-box stores, chain restaurants, and condos, a far cry from Prague streets.  For work I have to leave the city every day and drive into rural Illinois.  The interstate is close and on the outer part of Greater Chicago, and the Route 59 Metra station runs into downtown.
I sleep on the floor until my mattress can be delivered.  Even with a bed my apathy towards decorating will keep the place close to bare until my sister visits and forces me to buy a couch.
There is a massive store nearby called Meijer, I had never heard of it before, and it’s something of a step above Wal-Mart.  I’ve been there twice and both times forgotten to buy utensils.  Breakfast is a challenge, but I have peanut butter and can eat out.
I have friends in Chicago, but no one to fall asleep next to.  I meet a cute girl working at a US Bank, but I talk too quickly, she gives me little because she is helping a customer, and I wave awkwardly as I walk away.  It’s redeemable, but with work to do and customers coming in, it would be hard not to be embarrassed.

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