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Code up the GPS!

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

I spent last night and this morning in Norfolk, VA, with my hometown friend Dylan Schoo. Dylan was the first boy I met when my family moved to Montrose, CO, in 1989; we went to prom together junior year, and have remained friends throughout the years and across the distance.

Dylan is pretty much the biggest badass I know, since he is a pilot for the Navy. He was
exceedingly patient with me as I asked incessant naive, girly questions about the military: “How many outfits do you have?” “What does this knob do?” “Who is our biggest enemy?” “Can the government see through my walls?” “Who builds the submarines?” “Do they train you how to withstand torturing?” “Can you kill a rabbit with your bare hands?” “If a mission has been compromised, do you say, ‘Code up the GPS!’?”

Code up the GPS? Thank you, Dylan, for not abandoning me on the side of the highway.

He took me to see the E-2, which is the plane that he flies. People – he lands this thing on an aircraft carrier! On his own! It has an 80 foot wingspan, and a frisbee-like radar on top. There are few jobs in which one’s knowledge and skill and clarity of mind have life-or-death ramifications, but this is one of them. Mind-boggling.

And finally, I made it to the Atlantic Ocean. It only took me 2 months. We even made a video of the occasion – enjoy.

The Atlantic from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

We’re not in Seattle anymore

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Before I left Seattle, my friends were so sweet and generous and gave me tons of Starbucks gift cards for the journey. Although I do not prefer to support Starbucks, as 1) they are THE MAN, and 2) their coffee tastes like bitter sewer water strained through moldy cotton balls (sorry, Dad), I have gladly used these cards for over-priced veggie trays and large quantities of hot tea. It has become second nature for me to walk up to the cashier and order, “A venti, single-bag, Wild Sweet Orange tea.”

Yesterday, amidst the tawny, velvet Virginia fields, I ordered my usual from a Starbucks drive-thru. “We’ll have your total at the window,” the voice from the billboard said.

I pulled up to the window, and the cashier stated, “That will be $5.40, please,” while handing me an entire box of Wild Sweet Orange tea bags. I immediately corrected her: “Oh, no – I wanted a cup of tea.”

“In a cup?”


“Like, these tea bags, in a cup?”

“Um… yes – just one.”

“We don’t do that.”

My eyes quickly darted to the green emblem of the mermaid, assuring myself that yes, I was indeed at Starbucks, home of my beverage. However, I could not collect my thoughts rapidly enough – because how could I possibly have comprehended the concept of no tea? – and so what came out of my mouth was a jerky, disconnected slew of syllables: “I – uh – meh – hmmgh – sigh.”

Apron-clad woman looked alarmed.

I finally pulled myself together enough to explain, “I would like one tea bag, in your largest cup – a cup of tea.”

“Oh, like, with hot water?”

It is moments like this that I wish I had a video camera to capture my facial reaction. Moments when my thoughts are all OF COURSE with hot water, how else do you make tea, and how can you possibly misunderstand the process of placing a tea bag in a cup of hot water, and don’t you know you work for Starbucks, the czar of uniformity?, and yet all that comes out of my mouth is, “Yes, ma’am.”

– – – – – – – –

Today, I drive from Blacksburg to Norfolk, and will finally arrive at the Atlantic Ocean. It’s about time.