I woke up fifteen minutes before six, still tired after only getting a few hours of sleep. Part of me wanted to roll over and go back to bed, but a bigger part of me was ready to leave Florida behind, and start my new life as a Tennessean, so I got up and dressed, told my wife and in-laws goodbye and began my long journey. My car was so full of boxes, boxes of clothes, of dishes, of books and more books, all piled wherever they could fit, in the trunk, on top of the backseat that was folded down to accommodate more boxes, in the passenger seat, in the floor, all piled to the ceiling, blocking all views of the outside world except for the window to my left and the portion of windshield directly in front of me. Sure it was dangerous, but it had to be done, lest I leave some of my possessions behind, like I was forced to do with my Barack Obama lava lamp that literally would not fit anywhere in my fully packed car, aside from my lap, but even as much as I liked our president at the time, the thought of having his five pound lava lamp sitting on my lap for fourteen and a half hours was not appealing.
I drove fast down Florida’s turnpike, passing effortlessly through the tolls thanks to my prepaid sunpass, and scanning the radio for something good to listen to, which when found would inevitably become static in a matter of minutes as I continued on my way. I munched sunflower seeds to stay awake, my mouth becoming dry with nothing to drink. I had brought some beverages along but I was reluctant to drink very much, hoping not to make any unnecessary stops to use the bathroom which would prolong my trip. I was making great time, and there were a couple of occasions where I could have been stopped for speeding, but I must have slammed on my brakes before the cops noticed, or they just sympathized with someone trying to get out of Florida as quickly as possible, so they didn’t pull me over.
I drove and drove without encountering any problems, although I did get followed into the bathroom at a gas station in Birmingham by a suspicious looking truck driver who claimed he needed a ride to Memphis. I told him no, and when he followed me out to my car that was sitting at the gas pump, he realized that there was no room for him anyway, so I got back on the road with my organs still within me rather than for sale on the internet. Mississippi is the most boring state I’ve ever driven through, with long stretches of nothing, steep hills, and not much traffic, and I absolutely love it. It’s a nice change of pace after you get through the Birmingham traffic, and as long as you don’t need gas or something to eat, which you won’t be able to find too easily, it’s the ideal place to be driving. Just before sundown I crossed the state line into Tennessee, excited that I was finally coming to Memphis to live rather than just visiting. I went to my dad’s house where my wife would join me the following day before moving into our apartment the day after. Ready to embrace the city of Memphis, my dad and I went to Central Barbecue for dinner, where I had the BBQ nachos with homemade potato chips. My new life was delicious.