Waiting in the Parking Lot By Devan McNabb

The blue light filter on the phone helps a little, but it’s still too bright. An old analog alarm clock slowly tick, tick, ticks, with silent judgement at the late hour as it winds closer and closer to the time it is set to ring. Just another page, another link, another new idea. My thumb flicks across a screen scrolling through hacks, reviews and blog posts. It’s hard to put the damn contraption down, roll over, and fall into much-needed sleep before another day of work. All these aspirations divide attention in a dozen different directions. The strong Lake Michigan winds hit the blinds making them knock against the window loudly and rhythmically.

Staring up at the ceiling, my mind reels from overwhelming stimulation and its both the screen itself and its content. The internet is strung up with lively banners proclaiming the sanctity of dream-following and sings out encouraging words–at least in some places. At times, like tonight, it instigates a tightening tension. It’s like the alarm clock tick, tick, ticking away towards the eruption of a clamours, joyful noise. If I sit up in bed I can see my van patiently waiting for me in the parking lot. She’s all strung up with thrift store sheet curtains on cat5 cable. She’s outfitted with a plywood bed supported by old school Rubbermaid foot-lockers and never enough gas in the tank. Her tail end is tattooed in a colorful display of some of our adventures: Yosemite, Mammoth Cave, Red River Gorge and places I went without her: Scotland, Spain, Shanghai. Also, a few philosophical mottos like, “Find what you love, love what you find.” The stuck-on emblems are what delineate her from the suburban Honda Odysseys, fetching families to and fro. She’s the culmination of late-night internet inspiration and my innovation. And the van is out there dutifully waiting through the dark for the leaves to turn a fiery red and orange, for my schedule to change and the opportunity for adventure is imminent.

The sun reflects harshly on the metal edge of the window frame, and the alarm clock goes off rocking from side to side in a ruckus. Pulling the blanket up around me to combat the cool morning air I toss around a vague plan to head out to the DNR land a few miles away on my next free day. Sneaking off into the Midwestern woods recharges social interaction batteries. The short trips solidify the idea that the sitting with back hatch open, and staring out at the wilderness is a mainstay in my human experience in the story that I’m writing for myself.

Bio: Devan is currently a historic interpreter working with a state park who finds time to write when she can. Any day she spends outside is a good one, and her job allows her to be outside often. When she’s not working, Devan enjoys hiking, rock climbing and playing video games.