Our first ever tour of Canada had been a tremendous voyage, but Sigmon and I were beggin’ the Universe for a easy, safe passage back to the extravagant luxury of sleeping in our own beds.
The first crashing wave on the current to comfort was the United States border guards that seemed to find it slightly suspicious that two haggard looking fellows from different states would meet up and brave a day's journey through the midwest winter to wrestle in hockey arenas in rural Manitoba. We forgave them their lack of faith in romantic dream chasing, that they may forgive us our lack of enthusiasm for the pragmatic reality of ensuring safe borders at the expense of our longing for familiar bedding.
As we entered the guard station we were greeted by two serious-faced bordermen, one of which demanded, “Empty out the contents of your pockets.”
I dropped some loose Canadian coinage, a well weathered wallet, and a phone, whose bump-card had been about punched out. It was a slightly depressing display; seeing the microcosm of my materialism laid out for the scrutinous eyes of soldiers of safe passage between cultures. I imagined them labeling me as a sloppy f__k in the filing cabinets of their minds.
Sigmon dropped a few crumpled receipts.
The speaking borderman said what I had been telling Siggy for years, “Drop the fanny pack.”
I trapped the smile in my mouth like an Eighties TV fallguy caught in a Figure Four Leg Lock.
Sigmon sat his belly wrapped man purse on the table, afterwhich we were waved my the non-speaking role boarderman to follow him down a narrow, bleak, cold, hard concrete hallway into a equally claustrophobia inducing room.
We sat on a slab of stone in the shape of a bench, our backs against a windowless rock wall, staring at a windowless rock wall, hugging ourselves to retain body warmth. I felt like I had been arrested and put into a holding cell to await judgement, which, when I thought about it, I kind of had been.
After about twenty minutes of shivering silence that felt much longer, the door opened at the speaking boardman said, “Alright. You’re all set.”
The non-speaking borderman handed us back our possessions with what I perceived to be disappointed hesitation, and we walked back out to Sigmon’s car.
Unlike the Canadian side, where I had watched the borderfolk unload the contents of the car and surprised to find everything put back carefully, I had not watched my fellow Americans dump our stuff out, but could easily tell that it had happened because it was dumped back in with all the care of a toddler tossing toys into a box.
Sigmon and I shared a smile that signified “Always An Adventure” and got back into his car.
“I can drive whenever you want, bro. I’m naturally a night owl and love the open road: I’m built for this sh__.” I stated.
“Nah, I’ll be good for a while.” Sigmon said, then proceeded to crack open a Monster Energy drink and chug it to illustrate his point.
“Okay, then I’m going to nap for a while. That way I’ll be fresh when it is my turn to drive.” I told Sigmon, asserting my technique for long distant, no-stopping-for-sleep travel, or tag-team driving, as I like to think of it.
“Sounds good.” Sigmon said.
“Whenever you need a break just tag me in.” I said as I pulled the hood of my sweater over my eyes and fluffed a travel pillow up against the window.
“I got this, bro. Just sleep.” Siggy reassured me.
I drifted off into a dreamscape of warm weather and hot crowd reactions, and just as I was standing at the curtain, about to make my WCW Bash At The Beach debut…
“Kincaid!” Sigmon half-yelled at me.
“What?” I grumbled.
“I’m pulling over to sleep.” Sigmon said with a little sadness in his voice.
“No worries. I can drive. I got…” I said, then paused to look at the dashboard clock, rubbed my eyes, and looked at it, again. “...Forty five minutes of sleep.” I finished with a are-you-serious-bro tone flavoring my just-woke-up-gravelly voice.
Sigmon gave me a sorry-bro-I-tried look and shrugged his shoulders, as he pulled over.
“Trade me seats. I got this, bro. Just sleep.” I told Sigmon.
As I drove the next eight hours, I replayed the tour over in my mind.
I had experienced the coldest weather, the most hard nosed authorities, the longest number of consecutive days in an overstuffed car, the biggest streak of nights spent in annoyingly loud bars,of my life, and I loved every snowcapped second of it.
I loved sneaking away to sit by myself and watch hockey on the other sides of arenas. I loved laughing our way to towns as we traded road-war stories with our Canadian comrades. I loved every complaint Sigmon made about his legs. I loved every “boooo” that came with every “U-S-A”. I loved the beautiful contrast between blistering winds, and warm friends. I had seen what made the obviously white north so damn great, and loved the experience that brought me that understanding.
Sigmon and I tagged in and out between sleeping and driving for the next twenty odd hours, until, finally, we parted ways at his home in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Being the buddy-brofessionals that we are, we opted for the handshake over the hug.
“Until the next adventure, my friend.” I said.
“Until the next adventure.” Sigmon replied.
“Thanks for everything, brother.” I said with solemn, humble sincerity.
“My legs still hurt.” Sigmon replied with solemn, humble sincerity.
And with that well-crafted line of broetry as our parting words, I saddled up my Chevy steed and rode off into the night, watching the sunset in my rearview and my future revealing itself just past the snowflakes falling gently onto my windshield.
I couldn’t begin to imagine how it may read next, but, of this, I had the faith of a thousand scribes: with the scribble of every new passage in the Book Of Life there shall come to pass a new lesson to be learned, and with the turning of each new page there was, of course, always an adventure doing the teaching.