Dear Interstate 95: Please stop being an asshole.

I know you’ll find this hard to believe coming from a guy who often goes to bed prior to his 12-year-old son, but I am not much of a party animal these days. I mean, listen, I enjoy the occasional get-together, and I can even kick it into full-on Life of the Party mode when called for … but I generally don’t yearn for opportunities to plant myself in the midst of a large group of people whose intention is to make merry until well after I’m normally drooling on my pillow, even if that large group of people is comprised entirely of folks I already know — some of whom I might even like — and they are partying within a stone’s throw of my home.

So you can imagine, then, how completely out of character it would be for me to get in my car and drive 500 miles to attend a major rager in North Carolina this weekend that currently boasts a guest list of 333 people, roughly 330 of whom I don’t actually know. And yet, I’m planning to do just that.

Here’s the catch: The party? It’s a celebration in honor of my friend Sam, a tribute to whom I recently posted here after he lost his battle with cancer (and let us all pause for a moment so that we can tell cancer to fuck right off, shall we?). That tribute, it turns out, touched a lot of people who knew and loved Sam, and it meant a great deal to me when many of them made a point of saying so. Most of those people live in Sam’s neck of the woods down South, so that tribute ended up being a way for me to connect and grieve with them despite the distance between us and the fact that we don’t actually know each other. And under normal circumstances, “Friend”-ing those people on Facebook would likely be the closest I’d get to meeting them in person … but matters pertaining to Sam shall forever fall well outside the realm of “normal circumstances.”

A couple of months ago, while attending a benefit for Sam, I, through a serendipitous string of events, ended up connecting with Sam’s best friend, Robert. Quite unsurprisingly, I discovered that, much like Sam himself, Robert is a kind, warm, funny, friendly, class-act dude. He’s the kind of guy with whom I’d like to hang at an ocean-side establishment and raise a glass of something potent in honor of our friend Sam. And since it just so happens that Robert has invited me to a celebration this weekend where we, along with a few hundred other members of Sam’s friends and family, can do exactly that, I’m hopping in my car after work tomorrow and heading south.

Which brings me to the title of this post:

Today, while mapping out my 1,000-mile round-trip journey, I discovered that all of the construction on planet earth is confined to the stretch of Interstate 95 that runs between Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia:

northeast-95-google

Meanwhile, did you guys know that southern Virginia and North Carolina apparently have outlawed highway construction?

southeast-95-google

This explains: a.) why I’ve decided to break the trip into two legs on my way down, and b.) why it’s entirely possible that, rather than return home Sunday, I’ll remain in North Carolina and send for my family.

***

Road-trip Footnote: One of the many things that flooded onto Facebook in the immediate wake of Sam’s passing was a compilation video he made featuring footage and photos from a ski trip he once took with Robert and some other friends. Sam scored that video with a Jane’s Addiction tune that I had not listened to in years, featured on an album I had not listened to in years. I have been listening to that album quite regularly ever since, and I plan to launch tomorrow’s road trip with that tune … because you can’t really find a better way to kick off an epic, one-man road trip than by having Perry Farrell shout “Here we go!” just before his band begins to kick much ass.

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