Yes, literally, on the road again. No flying this time. Another business trip, but this time it’s a road trip to South Carolina. The weather has been superb and I am with same team that accompanied me to Idaho. We are in a hotel at night (complete with free breakfast and happy hour), so I can’t complain about that, but the working conditions during the day are, to say the least, primitive. The equipment we are working with is located in a fenced-in area in the middle of a corn field, a good twenty minutes from anything that looks like civilization.
The conditions are tough, but those conditions help form a bond between us that one does not experience during a typical business association. Under the right conditions, hardship is often a quality that binds divergent social elements together to achieve a common goal. I’ve seen it happen before. It happens in the military during basic training. Although the effect may be only temporary, the common experience of tough conditions and tough times can bring people together to accomplish what cannot be accomplished individually.
The camaraderie of a group of men working closely together under those tough conditions can also have a down side ― too much drinking, too much food. Yes, that’s a downside, although I hate to admit it. Men on their own, away from their wives, tend to devolve into their more basic, perhaps more natural, selves. When confronted with a free breakfast that includes Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a free happy hour that includes beer, wine, and pu-pus, everything they ever learned about eating well is lost in a flurry of excess.
I started this trip full of expectation, with every intention of writing a few thousand words towards my next novel. I also wanted to write some interesting blog posts discussing my work and, perhaps, stir up a little discussion about what constitutes horror fiction. But, no, instead I sit around, eating barbecue, drinking beer, and talking about, well, the things men talk about ― sex, politics, religion, and sports. Meaningful things like my real work, writing, will have to wait. I’ll let you know when that happens, getting back to writing. Until then I need to get some sleep so I can face another day in the corn field.
By the way, I’ve decided that “On The Road Again” is the theme song for this road trip. Not the Willie Nelson “On The Road Again”, but the Canned Heat “On The Road Again”, that sublime anthem of my youth that included the lyrics
‘Cause it’s soon one morning
Down the road I’m going.
But I aint going down that
long old lonesome road
All by myself.
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