This is the stretch of highway Freddy would get me

Slipknot released Iowa after they moved to Los Angeles. Now most of them live in gated communities in our home town. Whenever I come home, it feels like everyone my age has a Slipknot story. For sure everyone has an opinion about them. My friend has been telling his most recent stories about them this trip and it’s strange to be back in this space. Usually I only briefly mention I’m from the same town as them and I treat it like a party trick.

I’m typing this while my friend is driving from Iowa City to Des Moines. We pulled off to get gas and went by the trailer we used to live in on the outskirts of town. We’ve been talking the whole time we’ve been on the road about what good roommates we were. We also travel well together. We even both want to stop at the haunted houses on the side of the highway. The funniest part is how we both thought the trailer had been torn down to build new apartments and so we were totally shocked to find ourselves in our old neighborhood.

We also argue about whether the container we’re looking at is for liquids or dried goods. Even the butterflies aren’t safe from our bickering. I suppose this is what 20 years of friendship looks like. If we have to sleep in the same room, he wears earplugs. Also, he laughs while I am belting Third Eye Blind in his ear while we’re scanning the radio station talking about 90’s music.

The old trailer is still there, but the rose bush I was hoping to find on the side of it was gone. There’s a chance I never even planted it. I lived in Iowa City on the outskirts of Coralville (almost in Tiffin) while I was going to the University of Iowa . I used to ride my bicycle into Iowa City along the highway until I got to 1st Avenue and then I’d switch over to the bike path along the river. I’d spend the day at school and the night cleaning toilets. During lazy periods, I’d take the bus as far as it would go and ride my bike the rest of the way. The bus driver knew me on site and if I didn’t wake up for my stop, she’d wake me up before heading to the storage center for the night. She feels like an old friend whenever I think of closing down the bus line with her now.

This stretch of I-80 was something I drove nearly every weekend. I was dating someone in Des Moines and we’d drive to see each other a lot. This is also where I dropped a transmission on my 1986 Honda Accord on the way to the Misfits and GWAR in 1999 on Halloween. Seeing GWAR this weekend finally makes me feel like I fulfilled that dream enough. Possibly I need to see the Misfits when they’re touring in the spring, but I don’t feel the same sad compulsion that drove me to see GWAR this trip. This feels balanced now.

Whenever I think about this stretch of highway, I joke I could drive it in my sleep. While I’ve been writing this, I’ve been thinking about how Freddy Kruger lulls you into the dream to relax your guard. I think it’s a REM/deep sleep reference because it’s hard to pull yourself out once you’re there. That’s when he gets you.

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