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Driving Sideways

  CHAPTER ONEI am alone no longer.It’s strange how much you can change in just one year. Twelve months ago, I’d have laughed in your face if you told me I’d be packing for a road trip this morning. Not rudely, of course, but because traveling anywhere remote was a remote possibility for me at that point. I’d have sooner believed you if you’d said, “One year from now, you will become a Scientologist, learn the pan flute, and join a Bay City Rollers tribute band.”But I’ve had a change of heart. Well, kidney, really. I’m leaving for Los Angeles this morning, about to do some things long overdue. My Saturn is idling in the driveway, stuffed with suitcases I’ve never taken anywhere but to hospitals. I feel as if I’ve just discovered that the cure for cancer is dark chocolate followed by two orgasms. I think I’ve forgotten to pack my toothbrush, but I don’t care. I can buy one on the way. The thought thrills me.“So you’re really doing this,” my brother, James, says from behind me, sending me out of my skin.I jump, making a hair ballish–noise like aak, and spin around to face him. He crosses his arms and fixes me with his practiced stare: one part condescension, two parts disbelief. It’s the same look James gives the paperboy when the Fond du Lac Reporter misses the welcome mat on the front porch by an inch or more. I lean back into my car, pretending to check my cooler of snacks and bottled water while trying to regain my pretrip composure. As my surrogate parent for the last sixteen years, James has always been able to sneak up on me—catching me in an innocuous act like reading and still making me feel as if I’d been caught stealing from a quadriplegic. “Yes, I’m really going.”“Does Kate know?” he snipes.“She will,” I reply. I shut the cooler and turn to face James.“Leigh, why do you even care? She’s such an asshole. She’s a footnote.”“I just do, is all.” Kate is our mother, who developed the curious conviction when James and I were younger that she would one day become a great actress. The morning she left us for Hollywood, she crouched next to me and whispered absently, “Never settle. Take big risks.” Then she stepped into her Ford Pinto and lurched away from the curb, her silver bumper glinting in the sunlight, the scent of Charlie cologne mingling with exhaust in the air. I was five years old. I sat on the curb waiting for her until Sesame Street came on, after which I returned to the curb to wait for her return. Twenty-three years later, I’m still waiting.“You’ve got to be kidding.” James walks around my car and stands directly in front of me. He looks spooky without having had his first cup of coffee, a little like a B-list actor with an emerging heroin addiction. Not that James has ever done heroin. James actually times his alcoholic beverages—one per hour—to ensure he never “loses control.” Eighty percent of my friends have had a crush on him at one point or another. Even the guys. They all want to be him, until they spend more than an hour in his presence. “When’s the last time you even talked to her?” he continues.I ignore him and pr

Concurrency (the number of search results)

  2,800,000,000  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   319,000,000 
   
 1,840,000   
 Google   Yahoo   Bing 
Search engineConcurrencyDate
Google1,840,0002010-02-21
Yahoo2,800,000,0002010-02-21
Bing319,000,0002010-02-21

  Data used to build the chart and the dates when the information was collected.