Got to Raleigh in time for an early dinner last night, and then a lovely 7.5 hours of sleep (since I hadn't actually done that since I left on Saturday).

Point A: Home in Boston, departed approximately 2pm on Saturday after (finally) cleaning my room (which took a while - but now I have a floor!)

Point B: IKEA, where I pulled out my laptop and discovered the existence of...

Point C: ...the Boilermaker Jazz Band playing at an all-night dance, which I proceeded to go to, drive all night, and then...

Point D: ...go to 8:30am Mass on Sunday morning. It was very unintentional and unplanned - I passed the church just as the Mass was starting and thought "well, I should go." I'm glad I did. That was a very different sort of Catholic mass than the ones I'm used to - it was definitely still a Mass (there was a bishop presiding, so it also took twice as long as usual) but it was an incredibly energetic one. The congregation was predominantly African-American, and such a singing at Catholic Mass I've never heard (accompanied by a very enthusiastic organ, drum, and bass, with the cantor doing a call-and-response) and during the Our Father people reached out to link the entire church into one giant long chain of people holding hands, and when we were doing the sign of peace people were almost literally leaping out of their rows to run across the church and hug each other (even to shake the hand of me, a stranger). Wow. Very different sort of energy than the services I'm used to.

And then I kept going until I hit...

Point E: Raleigh, whereupon I peeked in on some FAD hotel stuff, did some thinking, some eating, some more thinking, and then crashed hard for 7.5 hours of blissful unconsciousness until I couldn't sleep any more.

All in all, a great trip - I've never done that long a solo drive by myself, but I've always wanted to, and I can now say that I really, really, really like it. Open road, middle of the night, nothing but you and your thoughts and the occasional passing truck. Passing trees and valleys and fascinating cities and small towns in broad daylight and being able to stop the car and just stare at a forest dripping with moss or a rock face shining with ice or to walk down a funny-looking street for a while without anyone thinking you're weird. Being able to pop on IRC and say hello and talk a little when I feel the need for Peopleness (usually prompted by "my back is tense, I need to stop driving for a bit and stretch, how do I make myself not drive for a while? COMPUTER!"), and then pop off and drive again. Long stretch of time and space for me. About 30 hours - one of the longest uninterrupted stretches of time-for-me I've ever had.

The Mel likes. The Mel should possibly try long-distance biking at some point (or running, or some human-powered form of locomotion) so as to see if the same sort of experience can be had with, ah, less fossil fuel consumption.

I am now wide, wide awake and possibly overly excited about being in Raleigh this week - expense reports time, and then TO THE OFFICE! YAYYY!!!! (That's really actually me being very very happy! This week is Edumacation Week, and it is going to totally rock.)