Come To The Land Of The Ice And Snow
So here is how I, a presumed redneck toothless Southerner, imagine that my upcoming trip to North Dakota will go:
I will undergo a full body cavity search when embarking on my journey out of Alabama because I send off some kind of weird vibe to the TSA that causes them to believe I am a Hijabi on a Jihad. Don’t ask me why, because I am a little white German girl with blue eyes, but there is something about me that screams to the TSA: TERRORIST! I am the one chosen out of every line to be randomly searched, radiated and mauled. Every single time. They even did it once when I was travelling with my ten month old daughter – I literally had to hold her in one arm while I held the other one out so they could pat me down, and then switch her to the other arm so they could pat the other side. She was screaming in terror of the strangers in their blue gloves. I can’t say I blame her.
When I arrive in Denver, I will climb into a rickety prop plane that resembles the one full of goats and chickens in Romancing the Stone. Yes, I am showing my age here. The goats will actually be caribou, and the chickens will be those snow-shoes feathery footed birds that I can’t spell. We will bounce wildly up and down in the frosty air, because the wings and prop will be freezing over.
We will land with a thud. And a skid, because the runway will be covered with glacial ice. We will have to climb down the stairs of the plane onto the icy tarmac, I in my puffy coat, and the cold will hit with a blinding force that will remind me exactly what a bad idea it was to go to North Dakota in the winter time. There will be a blizzard. And a whiteout. I will not be able to see my hand in front of my face.
When I arrive at the Rent-A-Car place, half frozen, they will give me a Prius to attempt to drive on ice. And it will not have snow chains or whatever thingies that I don’t know about to keep me from skidding off the road. I will have to stagger out into the frozen tundra to find my car in the lot, which will be frozen shut with sheets of ice. I will be unable to open the doors. I will not have an ice scraper. The GPS in the car will not work.
I will get lost trying to drive from the airport to the hotel. I may slide into a ditch. I may or may not be rescued by large Paul Bunyan-like men in red flannel coats and hats with earflaps who say, “Oh, yah” a lot. I will finally find my hotel, and stagger, a frozen docsicle, weeping into the lobby. I will have to go back outside and get my stuff and I may or may not get frostbite.
My first night there, I will listen to coyotes and wolves howling outside my room. And the constant sound of fracking. I may be going to a fracking boomtown. I will learn everything I never wanted to know about fracking. The room will probably be icy cold, and I will sleep in my coat.
Overnight, a massive blizzard will have descended on the town and covered the roads. They will not be cleared and I will have no idea how to find the hospital. Or how to drive there. I will finally get there, and I will be late, and my nose will have the beginning stages of frostbite. When I find the clinic and Labor and Delivery, the nurses will all have incredibly funny accents, right out of the movie Fargo. There may or may not be murderous kidnapping psychopaths throwing people into wood chippers. There may or may not be a pregnant cop whose husband designs postage stamps. They will all say, “Oh, yah,” and then make tremendous fun of my Southern accent. They will get me to talk just so they can hear how funny I sound. They will ask me, “Say y’all,” and I will say YAWL with the biggest Southern drawl that you can imagine. I will hit them with all my little Southern witticisms. I will be an ambassador of Southerness! I will show the world that just because I come from Alabama, I still have all my teeth! And then we’ll sit down and have one of those incredibly gross bowls of french fries with gravy slopped all over them. Cause that’s how they roll up there.