My blogs probably make it seem like life on the road is all sunshine and rainbows and that we’re constantly having a good time, and honestly, that’s usually pretty accurate. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself when everything is always new and exciting, and by the end of most weeks I can hardly believe it’s time to leave and I’m wishing for a little more time. This was not the case for Oklahoma City.
It’s not that OKC wasn’t a cool city, because I definitely think it had the potential to be. The problem was that it turned into a ghost town on the weekdays. Of all my months on the road, I’ve never been somewhere that essentially shut down in the middle of the week, but that seemed to be the case in OKC. Every time we came up with an idea for something to do on our off days, it was closed: boat rentals, the beach, a paint bar and nearly all the shops and restaurants. Time – and our really unfortunately placed three days off – dragged on and on.
Luckily, we were staying a short walk from Bricktown, which is a cool downtown area with a cute riverwalk and some bars. While most things were closed there too, it was at least a nice area to walk around, and we got a lot of work done at coffee shops we found. We also made it to multiple happy hours throughout the week, and since we were basically the only ones there, we made good friends with some of the bartenders. We instigated a large debate about the Laurel and Yanny debacle (if you’re unfamiliar just google it and prepare to be mind blown) among the entire staff of one of the places and played a heated game of mini golf at another, which Conner took a big loss in. It wasn’t a thrilling, jam-packed week, but we did our best to keep ourselves occupied.
I wish I could say that after our days off we had some really interesting work events, but unfortunately they were also pretty blah and entirely too hot. One thing I’ve noticed on the road is that people in every state think the weather where they’re from is crazy. Nearly every day someone will comment something along the lines of “just yesterday it was hot and sunny and now it’s cold and rainy. *shakes head* Typical _______.” Eventually I learned that weather everywhere changes a lot, but Oklahoma may be an extreme. Almost every day we’d start our event sweating our butts off in a stagnant 90-degree heat with no breeze in sight, and by the end the winds would be strong enough to take our tent with them and the sky would turn an ominous yellow color that made me think sh*t was about to go down. No wonder Oklahoma is known for its storms and storm chasers.
One of my favorite parts of work in OKC was when I met a little girl while I was on my lunch break. Since I spend most of work talking to people, I usually look forward to relaxing by myself on lunch, but this little girl plopped right down next to me and stared intently until I finally said “Hey, how’s it goin?” That was all the cue she needed to launch into her whole life story, but she was highly entertaining and we talked and joked around the whole time her family was in line. At one point she asked me how old I was and quickly followed with the fact that I definitely don’t look “bigger” than 17, and we then discovered that we actually have the same birthday – August 7th. For this, I told her she has to go out to the NUTmobile and tell Tanaja and Conner she is Maggie’s birthday twin so she should get a special prize. She scurried off excitedly, and I was sort of sad to see her go and to spend the rest of lunch by myself. Our bosses went on and on in training about how just talking and listening to people can mean a lot to them, and – though some days the endless conversation wears me thin – I guess they were right because that little girl didn’t even have a giant peanut at her disposal and she still managed to make my day.
Alright, so other than a few shining moments – like my birthday twin and an amazing cake batter ice cream with cookie dough pieces that I got one night – OKC was pretty drab through and through. However, the worst thing that happened came right at the end. My brother called me in the middle of work one day to tell me that our dog, Lani, had passed away. It definitely wasn’t unexpected, she had been in bad health for years and we had even struggled with knowing if/when we should put her down, but it’s obviously always really hard to lose a pet. Growing up I had begged my parents for years and years for a dog until they finally gave in and got Lani for mine and Tony’s birthdays. She was a crazy, wild alpha dog who was super loving and just about as perfect as a first dog could be. I knew I’d miss her, and what made it worse was knowing that I should’ve only been a few weeks away from seeing her again. Even though dogs feel like family, they’re still just a part of our life; we grow up, move out and sort of leave them behind. But to dogs, their people are their whole world, and it made me sad that I couldn’t be there for her last days. I’ve missed a lot of things back home since I’ve been on the road, but that was the hardest.
That whole thing put a damper on an already pretty bad week, so I was really happy when it was finally time to leave for Fayetteville, Arkansas. When you’re constantly on the go and literally moving on every single week, it makes figuratively moving on easier and more natural too. While my year on the road was undoubtedly the best year of my life so far, it wasn’t without its low-points too. It’s just harder to dwell on those things – or any things for that matter – when you’re forced to continually move forward regardless. Like I said at the beginning, I’m often wishing for more time in a place, but sometimes it’s a good refresher to pack everything up and hit the road, and it definitely was this week.
Holla at you soon Homenuts!