Before Alex and my 16-hour, thousand-mile journey from St. Louis to New Jersey, I dug out my 80GB iPod Classic — the 16GB iPhone alone just wouldn’t do — and loaded it up with music and podcasts. Through a smidge of Missouri, all of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, a hot second in West Virginia, interminable Pennsylvania and finally New Jersey, we listened to All Songs Considered, This American Life, The Moth, WTF and Savage Love episodes before getting tired of talk and switching to music. It made the drive go quickly but still left us with the burden of DJing.
So, we tried something different on the drive back. We listened to an audiobook — the first audiobooks for both of us — for the ENTIRE drive. Thanks to my uncle, I got my hands on Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I knew nothing about it aside that it was a thriller and that Julia Whelan — formerly of ABC’s Once and Again – narrated part of it. I’d tried for the past year to know nothing more about it, as was recommended to me for maximum enjoyment, so no real spoilers ahead.
When we discovered the book was about a couple who relocated from the East Coast to Missouri, we laughed. (We had recently relocated from DC to Missouri.) When we learned one half of the couple had dropped everything to move with the other, we laughed a little more. (I had voluntarily dropped everything for the move.) And when we learned one half of the couple lacked a social life — no friends, no job — while the other had the beginnings of a thriving one, I assured Alex I hadn’t chosen this book to purposely to highlight how I felt about my new life in the Midwest. Ha.
We loved listening to the book. It’s funny, it’s surprising and the St. Louis and Missouri mentions — even though they’re often demeaning — sweeten the deal. Here’s a sample:
The Midwest is full of these types of people. The nice enoughs but with a soul made of plastic. Easy to mold, easy to wipe down. The woman’s entire music collection is formed from Pottery Barn compilations. Her books shelves are stocked with coffee table crap The Irish in America, Mizzou Football – A History in Pictures, We Remember 911, something dumb with kittens.
We got home before we finished Gone Girl, but we’re continuing to listen together. It’s not as convenient now that the driving is done, but we find time while we’re cooking or before we go to sleep. It makes me feel like we’re about 80 years old creeping up on a 50-year anniversary. Sweet and a little odd.
Will Alex and I tackle another 19-hour audiobook after this one? Probably not, unless it involves a road trip. But what a great way to pass a thousand miles, seven states and matching post-road trip sinus infections.