I accept.

During a welcome beat of my new-found stride, I went on a hike with some badass ladies tonight. We hike fast up the “M” in Bozeman. It’s like the “M” in Missoula… same same, but different. Montanans love putting letters on mountains.

creehikes_and_rocksbeers

Afterwards, we hung out on a bench and talked and watched in horror as Cree [Rebekah’s dog] hunted a grouse and drank my new favorite beer and toasted a new [awesome] job [for Chelsi] and basked in this Bozeman life.

When we got back to the trailhead, we said our goodbyes and I got into my car. When I turned the key, I immediately recognized the voice on the radio and was excited that I was tuning in right in time for Hillary Clinton’s speech.

I decided I wanted to drive and listen to it. So I drove to a popular lookout for sunset. A few other cars were there, awaiting the fiery sunset. I cranked the speech, cracked another beer, and watched the sunset.

I couldn’t help but think of the journey that led us to here. Me to here. I sat contemplating the person I was with—myself. I drank a beer with a coozie from Luckenbach, Texas on it. Texas. Where I was born and raised. But now I’m in Bozeman, watching the sunset over this beautiful mountain town. How I got here is quite the journey. I moved here to work in advertising. That sentence alone makes me shake my head and smile.

I’m listening to a woman I’ve grown to admire. I’ve listened to so many speeches, debates, addresses. I’ve read so much about this election in the New Yorker—who am I?? But I have a subscription now, thanks to my mother-in-law. Yes! I am married. I have a husband—how did that happen? When did I let this grown-up world become me?

I thought back to my early jobs, my early hobbies, my early boyfriends, my early voting habits [sorry about that, America], my early goals, my early dreams—all while watching this sunset and listening to this incredible speech.

drankingsunset

Clinton’s words, “When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit” rang over and over in my ears as I watched this beautiful sky. I half-smiled, because “The Sky’s the Limit” is the name of the latest tourism campaign my company executed. From dabbling in Photoshop at an office job when I was 18 to Art Director now. From women not being able to even vote to Hillary Clinton. We’re here now. I’m here now. A woman is running for president. This place, this life, this country accepts and encourages and applauds powerful women. My heart swelled, my eyes teared up, I took stock in this life and timeline and felt proud.

The sun made its final bow and the cars cleared the overlook, but Hillary was still speaking, still making history. I thought about how far we’ve come, how much I’ve grown up, as Hillary’s voice faded quieter and quieter… until silence. I was extremely confused. Was NPR fading out to start a new program??

And then there was the click of everything dying.

My car battery died. Of course. Oh, how quickly I felt not very adult at all. My husband was working and was not picking up his phone. Of course. Of course I am a child who doesn’t understand how cars or radios work. I called a friend. She was on her way.

I found the jumper cables in the back and waited. In the dark. With the opposite of Hillary’s encouraging words to listen to. All I had was the laughter of my own thoughts as they mocked how “far” I’ve made it in life. Dammit.

About five minutes later, in the absolute dark, a car pulled up. Not my friend’s car. It parked noticeably far away from my car. This car was either here to murder someone or round the bases with their high school crush. Considering my options—hero, victim, or buzzkill—I made my way towards the car.

I got too close to the car before anyone saw me for it not to be the most awkward thing in the world. I got close enough to obviously see this was the latter of my choices and I was about to be the biggest buzzkill. I startled the couple and motioned to roll down the window. I did this in the way that children born in 1999 or 2000 have no idea what I’m pantomiming—the big wooshing roll of the manual windows.

– My car battery is dead. Can I get a jump?

– Uh, sure. Do you have jumper cables?

– Yeah.

I called my friend and told her I found a jump. The car pulled up to mine, but not close enough. I had to tell the boy [the driver] to get closer. He quickly told me

– I’ve never done this before. I don’t know how to do this.

– We’re gonna be okay. Thanks so much.

I felt old again. I felt the familiarity of where he was, where the girl in the passenger seat who never left the car nor would hardly look at me… I knew where she was. I knew the uncertainty of jumping a car. I knew the freedom of being out in the middle of nowhere in a shitty car. I felt old in this way. Old in the knowing way.

I popped the hood and connected the cables. As I was connecting them to my car, I paused and stood up

– I’m Rachel, by the way.

– I’m Max.

I told Max to start his car. We waited. I started my car. It started.

I high-fived Max and thanked him over and over. Then, in par-for-the-course fashion, I said

– Sorry if I interrupted anything fun or important.

He awkwardly laughed at this stranded lady who must’ve seemed 100-years-old. We parted ways and I turned on the radio to hear just the recaps of Hillary’s speech.

It was perspective at it’s best. Humbling. Comical. Triumphant. Reflective.

I interrupted some frisky teenagers so that I could help them help me out. All so I could listen to our first woman presidential nominee speak and drink beer.

[god bless america.]

downhill! downhill! downhill!

Sometimes people come along in your life that make you want to move.

Make you want to adventure.

Make you want to be free.

Make you want to do it…  screw it…  just do it.

I met Michelle and Ryan through work.

And them?  They inspire…

They’re staying at my place for the night… and I’m loving it.

Wish they could stay.

Wish we could go.

Stories of the road.

Of characters.

Of freedom.

So nice to meet new people…

Make new friends…

[oh, it’s all so warm inside.]

we embrace our love/friendship and go.

This weekend has been brutal.

Why?  Oh, because my whole Texas-dwelling family was privileged enough to attend the Austin City Limits Festival.

Brutal?  Because I couldn’t be there with them.

Convincing my brother to go see Pretty Lights:

…and getting back a rave review.

Having texts sent throughout the days of favorite songs by favorite artists and then at night, being sent videos from “the youtube” to show just how incredible certain shows were… painful.  I love my family so much and I love Austin so much and I love live music so much… aww, man!  [bratty pitty party going on here.]

And though I was bumming, I smiled all weekend at the thought of how much fun my fam was having.  I loved every little bit of sharing they did with me… helping me feel like I was there… like I was remembered/loved/there in spirit.

My favorite thing that I got from my family this weekend was an email from my dad, received last night, that hardly mentions any music… but, somehow, he captures a music festival [the joy] perfectly…

“freebie field trench reporter:

     It was a perfect day, no hypebole intended.  We all had free ACL passes, Stevie Wonder & 25 other major acts in attendance.  We had clouds, a miracle in itself, then RAIN: are you kidding?  My oldest & dearest Tx Chainsaw Massacre house roomates/friends (77′) let us park in their driveway 4 blocks away from the entrance.  They are so dear & kind & just returned from a badly needed vacation in Maui where Mom&I honeymooned/recovered in 81′.  We embrace our love/friendship and go.

    Walking downhill in that wonderful old S Austin neighborhood with various parties ‘goin’ on’ ,10 minutes later we are going thru the front gate in a lite rain & its NOT 105 degrees under unmerciful sun hoping that someone doesn’t throw a butt on the ground to start a fire.  Miraculously pleasant compared to the last 6 months of biblical Drought.

    We hook up with other couple whose kid also ditched ’em, and have a great & wonderful time. 10hrs later our kids decide they need a ride home.  We reunite & head out with 60,000 other people walking down the street, goin home, shuttle, aftershow, bar, club, or wherever.

     We take a right uphill turn apart from the herd. Its been a long & glorious day with less than usual severe physical demands under the elements, but yet we are tired & we trudge to return to our car, uphill.  Mom has been doing fantastic all day with her leg endurance but now she voices concern as we go straight uphill.  She takes my arm for support.

    “I have some good news & some…….”  Good news is the1st part is straight up & the hardest, Bad news is its all uphill.   We trudge.
    We crest the hill to take an immediate left turn & there is a party ‘goin on’ at the first house we see at the top of the hill.  As we turn, on the curb on the right is a group of people mostly young women holding a bottle of whiskey saying ‘show us a tit & get a sip, men included’.

    I immediately lift up my bright yellow tshirt & get my sip and Mom & Ry move over to the other side of the street & don’t talk to me for the next block.

    It was a great hike back & so much family fun, how many times can you say that.  A pleasant drive home with a phone call from you to add to that.”

And in about ten minutes, they’ll be watching my all-time fave, Arcade Fire, and I’ll be listening to “The Suburbs” in my kitchen, drinking wine, being there in spirit, dancing, singing, embracing the love/friendship.

go and enjoy yourself.

So much snow and sickness for a week or so made cabin fever inevitable.  It was time to get out.  Get to Salt Lake, see fresh faces of friends I haven’t seen in so long.

Friends from different walks of life at different times, living in one city… and they all became friends!  A circle of friends, all connected.

And go see my favorite band!  Arcade Fire!  They’re playing in Orem tomorrow night… so exciting.  An adventure.  An escape.

We went through Idaho Falls and were making great time.  Through Pocatello… sun starting to set… beautiful golden light… snow disappearing.

Car slowed quickly.  I asked…

– What’s the matter?  Are we getting pulled over?

– What?  No.

Evan looked at me very worried.  I still didn’t catch on.

The car [evan’s car] just stopped working.  Slowed down.  Stopped.

Crap.

We tried everything.

Evan gave it more oil.  Checked other motor things.

We did chants for the car as we tried to start it…

– GO, CAR GO!  GO, CAR GO!

Nothing.

I was in disbelief…

– Try it again.  It has to work.  We have to go have dinner with our friends.  Get to the concert.

– Rachel, it’s not going to work.

– Try it again.

It didn’t work.

The car had to be towed.  We decided it would be best to get it towed all the way back to Idaho Falls… for reasons too logical for a blahg.

We waited.  Cracked a beer.  [we found our favorite favorite oregon beer at a random IF grocery store…!]  We waited for the tow truck.

Todd showed up.  He was driving the tow truck.

He rigged everything up, we got what we needed out of the car…

– [whispering] This guy is a character.

– Yeah, he is.

Todd was a short guy, smelled of smoke, gruff, moved with a purpose.  We got in his cab of his truck.  Justin Timberlake was playing.  Hmmm… Todd and I might actually get along.

I, of course, sat real close to Todd… in the middle of him and Evan.

We were quiet for a long time.  Evan on the phone a lot trying to figure things out.

I started talking to Todd… asking about his life.

He’s been in Inkom, Idaho [population 738] for 47 years [his whole life].

He has five kids from 29 to 16 years of age.

And that was all I got out of him for a while.  Evan and I started feeling less sorry for ourselves and started to laugh at it all.

– It could be a lot worse.

– Yeah, it’s only a car.

– And money.

– Yeah, but that’s only money.

And Todd chimed in.

– This job is hard sometimes… I see a lot of fatalities.

And it hit us.

We are so lucky.

We all realized that and we started to talk more.  More like we were humans.  Dealing with human things.  Life.

Jackson is expensive.  Kids are expensive.

– You two married?

– No.

– Oh.

– How long have you been married?

– 29 years!

Math, math, math… He got married at 18!

The more we talked, the more we just randomly opened up.  We cursed every so often.  Complained.  Vented.

– Buddy, you better get her to that indie rock concert.

– Yeah, I know… I’m tryin’.

– Says it’s her favorite… Gotta keep the lady happy.

[like i wasn’t even there… sitting right in between them… hilarious… ah-mazing.]

Started talking about families.

His kids.

– They’ve had their fair share of DUIs.

– Oh, I’m so sorry.

They’ve spent their time in jail.

– It’s just a rough place to grow up sometimes.

And then we were to the shop in Idaho Falls all of a sudden.  Evan got out of the car to deal with things.  I asked.

– Is there a lot of meth down in Inkom?

– Uhhh… No, not really.  A lot of cocaine.

– Oh, yeah?

– Yeah, my wife and I used to deal.  Used to use a lot too… It was just so much damn money.  I’ve been clean for 19 years now.

– Wow.

And then we just talked and talked [for what was in reality minutes… but felt like years of a friendship unfolded] about addiction, family, darkness, reality, light, hope.

Then, on his own time, he drove us to our hotel and helped us unload all of our stuff from the truck to inside.  He didn’t let me carry more than him… it was cute.  And when he left he looked me straight in the eye, shook my hand and said…

– Hey girl, I hope you get to your concert.  Go and enjoy yourself.