Wrapping Up The Chris Gethard Cross Country Adventure
Hello! Sorry that I didn’t check in on Friday. Especially after I explicitly said I was going to. I didn’t mean to scare anybody. I realize that just not writing anything after I said I would is not cool. It invites people to think that after making it all the way across the country I died in some tragic but sort of romantic and symbolic end to my journey. And by journey I mean both RV trip and life as a whole. Not the case. Again, my bad.
The reason this update is coming late is two-fold. First off, I needed to sleep. Like, so bad. I’ve never needed sleep more. Secondly, it’s the first time during this entire experience that I haven’t known what I wanted to say before I sat down and started writing. Trying to sum up the past two weeks of my life has proven impossible. The best I can do is offer my scattered thoughts in what will almost definitely be an unsatisfying manner.
I was very happy with our show on Thursday. We got rid of our leftover supplies from the RV by handing them out to the audience. Besides the on-stage housekeeping, all the bits went well and our new friend David Ayala did great. And not just because of the circumstances of how he was brought up there — he actually had a few jokes that were solid, well crafted, well timed killer jokes. If I had done as well my first time on stage as he did, I probably wouldn’t be as panicky about career driven issues as I am to this day. He was way more confident than a fifteen year old in this bizarre situation should have been. Good on him for stepping up!
Our time on the road and the shows we’d done along the way made the whole show feel really tight. In fact, by the time we got to LA, the show we’d designed for the road was far tighter than anything we’d ever done in New York. At the NYC shows, we’re attacking a new topic each month. With these, we’d actually done dry runs of how it went before getting to LA out on the road. It paid off. Things like “timing” and “an ability to adapt to problems since you’d been in a similar situation recently” really served us well. Rehearsal — not such a bad idea after all.
Before the show, everyone had removed their personal belongings from the RV and we’d done a once over cleaning of it. It was on me to return it. I decided that rather than deal with morning LA traffic, I’d head north that night and get a hotel room near the return place.
Driving that thing by myself when I was used to having eleven other people in it with me was pretty terrifying. Every time a door rattled, I thought a stranger had snuck in to the RV and was about to “get me.” Between my physical and mental exhaustion and the fact that I was suddenly alone after being around people constantly for two full weeks, I was sort of freaking out. I almost definitely have post-traumatic stress disorder from this trip.
The only hotel in the area was a Hyatt, so I paid way too much money to crash for a few short hours. I woke up the next morning and tried to scrape off the yellow paint that was all over the side of the RV from that time I slid up against a pylon in a WalMartyparking lot. No dice. I also tore down all the pictures people had paid to hang in the RV. Tearing down the faces of friends, when they’d been sort of silently staring at us for the whole trip, felt super weird and wrong. Again, my exhaustion was playing tricks in my brain. It was just a creepy feeling.
Since my sleeping bag had been ruined by sprinklers at the world’s most beautiful estate, I decided to stuff all my garbage in it, instead of having like six separate garbage bags to get rid of. I was pretty pissed, because my mom bought me the sleeping bag just before this trip as a gift. It felt bad to throw out something that new. Also, I have all sorts of weird momma’s boy issues and felt like I was betraying my mom, who definitely wouldn’t care at all.
I couldn’t find a dumpster for the life of me. I guess it’s a California thing to put all dumpsters at gas stations behind locked gates. I had this sleeping bag full of shit and no where to put it, until I saw a dumpster randomly in the middle of a road.
It was about 8:30 AM when I passed it. I slammed on the brakes. Then, I emerged from the side of a 40 foot long RV with a sleeping bag without about 80 pounds of trash inside. I threw open the dumpster lid and hoisted the sleeping bag inside. I ran back to the RV, threw it into drive, and got the fuck out of there.
It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I realized how much it looked like I had killed a child, stuffed them in a sleeping bag, and threw their body in the garbage. My bad.
At the RV rental place, I had the honor of hearing one of the best sentences ever said to me: “Sorry, buddy. This is gonna take longer than we thought. We gotta wipe all this mud off to see how bad these damages really are.” That felt like a real accomplishment. (The damages, by the way, were around $1,400. Tough to swallow, but I think that probably was a $1,400 sentence to have said to me.)
And that was it. Ending on sort of a lonely whimper. A friend drove me back to LA. There, I rented a car. Five blocks later, I rear ended a pregnant woman. She’s fine. I’m fine. That’s just how my life goes.
Then, I slept for thirteen straight hours.
I will never do anything like this ever again.