28. Once a year, go to an open space and scream as loud as I can

I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty much having the best weekend ever. I’ve had two lengthy naps, about nine hours worth of kitty snuggles, Elizabeth and Tyler came over for lunch, I had Thai food for dinner, and I’ve spent the rest of the time binge watching “How I Met Your Mother” while laying on the couch under two warm blankets. If it weren’t for the awful headache I’ve had the past two days, I’d think I was dreaming! This weekend has been a much needed break from my busy routine. It’s rare that I let myself do everything I’ve done this weekend, but I’m glad I did. I’ve been really stressed lately, about various things, but this weekend hasn’t had a single stressful moment. I guess sometimes, you just have to be a bum.

So, #28 on  my list actually has a story to go with it. About 4 1/2 years ago, Ria and I decide to take a day trip to Iowa City, which is about an hour from where I live. They have a mall that Ria has never been to, so we decided to go up, eat lunch, and shop around. At that time, I was driving a 2001 Ford Escort I had named Bernie. Bernie was a great car. He had a lot of miles on him, but he got me where I needed to go. That particular day, I noticed Bernie was a little louder than usual, but I didn’t think anything of it. Ria and I got to Iowa City, did our thing, and late in the afternoon, headed back home. We were about 10 miles out of IC when my car got incredibly loud. Before I knew what was happening, Bernie shot in to the passing lane and down into the ditch at 70 mph. I was certain we would end up on the other side of the highway and get hit head on, but I either swerved or threw my car into neutral (I don’t remember which) and my car stayed in the ditch and I coasted to a stop. After making sure Ria was ok, I got out of the car to see that the tread on one of my tires had been completely ripped off. Not only that, but it was April, and we were stuck in at least an inch of mud. I tried to drive my car out of the mud and back up to the road, but we were stuck. My dad ended up driving an hour and a half to rescue us, and I learned how to change a tire that day, but that’s not what this story is about. While we waited 90 minutes for my dad to arrive, with not a single person stopping to help us, Ria suggested we scream. I thought she was crazy. But she said it again. “Let’s just scream as loud as we can. Right now.” So, we did. Sitting in a ditch on I-80 with cars whizzing past us, we screamed at the top of our lungs. After we did, I felt much better, and screaming became one of our things.

I wasn’t surprised to see it on the list, but I’ll be honest, I completely forgot about it, until I was checking the list a few weeks ago and realized I needed to get it done ASAP. Now, my list-aversary is September 19, but I wasn’t in the middle of nowhere that day. I was on September 20. I was driving to my parents’ house that day. My plan had been to get to their house, walk to the end of their street, and scream into the cornfield. But that wasn’t what happened. I was spending my car ride thinking about the things that have been stressing me out, and in true Steph form, making them worse. I was about 25 minutes from my parents’ house when I realized enough was enough. I was done being stressed and worried over such trivial things and trivial people. I was going to put those stresses aside and scream it out. So, I turned on “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift (because really, what better song is there to scream to?) and rolled down my windows. I was at the top of a hill at this point, so I took a deep breath, opened my mouth, and screamed. It was like I was on a rollercoaster: the wind in my hair, my scream mixing with the sound of the wind, and T. Swift blaring in the background. Just like that, I felt the tension leave my body, and I felt at peace. Seriously. Just like that. Of course, that feeling was only temporary, but it was great, and it took me back to the ditch, screaming with one of my best friends. I’m really glad Ria put this on my list, and I’m really looking forward to my next scream.