I don't know what to write here any more. Or right now any way. I start something and then I shake my head and say to myself "You can't write that. You shouldn't write about that. No one cares." I feel like I've been holding onto a conversation that I keep meaning to have, but I've been holding it for so long now that I don't even know if it's a conversation worth having. Yet it is a conversation that keep poking me in the back of the brain. It's the kind of conversation whose voices sound an awful lot like those ones that tell me I am fat, untalented and stupid. And what's even worse is that some of those voices have the same tonal inflections as some people who claim to love me. That's probably a sentence I shouldn't write, but there you have it. This show has a few hecklers.
Thursday morning, as I crossed over the Oklahoma/Kansas border, I noticed an abandoned rest stop on the east side of I-35. I told myself at that moment that I would stop at that old abandoned Oklahoma rest stop on my way home. I would stop and take pictures no matter what time of day it was or where the sun was in the sky. I am so much like my dad once I get behind the wheel of a car. I will drive and drive and drive and wish I'd stopped here, wish I'd stopped there. Never stopping. But as I hugged the Jens goodbye Sunday morning, I reminded myself that I was stopping at that rest stop. I made my way out of Oklahoma City and north toward Wichita and before I knew it, I could see that rest stop in the very near distance. I was only slightly dismayed to see a "road closed" sign blocking the entrance road. I parked my car as close to the sign as I could, making sure I was far enough off the interstate and then started walking.
I don't think I ever realized how far off the highways and interstates rest stops really are. It makes sense to set it back from the highway. People would be getting out of cars and stretching their legs. Dogs would be running around, hopefully on leashes. Rest areas are basically parks on a highway. I walked up the cracked entrance road and felt the familiar Oklahoma wind on my face. The rest area was dotted with cement tables, each one under it's own teepee frame. The grass had grown up tall between the cracks of the sidewalks. The prairie was slowly reclaiming this bit of land. I adjusted my camera setting to accommodate the sun blazing down from a cloudless sky and I started taking pictures. I walked the sidewalk between picnic tables to the abandoned bathrooms and past the abandoned displays of Oklahoma history. The only thing that remained in one of the glass cabinets was a faded map of the state. As I made my way back to the car, I realized that those voices that tell me the mean things where no longer talking.
I have yet to process those images. They're still sitting on the SD card in my camera. I know there's one in particular in that set that I'll want a print of. I know there's several that would make great postcards. But more importantly? I know I have some talent. I know I am not stupid and I know I am not fat.