Lying in bed the night before I was to begin my trek, I started wondering if perhaps I should call the whole thing off. It's not that I thought leaving home for a month would be a bad decision. Rather, I just didn't think that leaving home for a month would be a significantly better decision than not leaving home for a month. In life, I feel that most choices I make aren't between a good and a bad, but rather between two relatively good options, either of which could produce decent outcomes.
Fortunately, I woke up the next morning, did my thing, got in the car and started driving. Even better, I met up with the mustachioed man pictured above. It was the perfect way to start this thing. J lives in the St. Cloud area with Charlie (the face licker) and Sonny (the distracted puss). I'd never been to St. Cloud before, but since it is not the Twin Cities and pickup trucks are not uncommon there, I immediately labeled it as "country." Of course, when in the "country," it only makes sense to drive your red Beetle to the closest gay bar. So we did.
Good discussion followed. So did ice cream from McDonald's and a movie from Redbox. And though I'd never asked permission to sleep at J's home, I somehow wormed my way into a free night on his Ikea couch. I somewhat willingly shared my night spot with Charlie. He had a wonderful way of figuring out where I wanted to put my feet, then going fetal in that exact spot just a moment before my feet got there. This went on all night. Eventually, I ended up sleeping with a foot on either side of his head. I think his size 14 earmuffs made him feel safe in this mad, mad world.
As I left J's home early this morning to make my way further north, I felt content with my decision to leave my home, my wife, my bed. It still feels weird to be doing what I'm doing. I like things the way I like things, and St. Cloud doesn't necessarily care and certainly doesn't accommodate. But things are going well, life is good, and I couldn't be happier with my time with J.